As a small business owner, you are an extremely busy person. Having to juggle day-to-day operations, big picture plans, and administrative duties (all with very little help) leaves you with almost no downtime. For someone with such great demands on their time, saving even a few minutes a day can be extremely beneficial. But it’s not always easy to find ways to save time when there’s so much to do, and especially when you feel so much pressure to do everything yourself.
As a small business owner, you are an extremely busy person. Having to juggle day-to-day operations, big picture plans, and administrative duties (all with very little help) leaves you with almost no downtime. For someone with such great demands on their time, saving even a few minutes a day can be extremely beneficial. But it’s not always easy to find ways to save time when there’s so much to do, and especially when you feel so much pressure to do everything yourself. For business owners who have too much on their plate, here are five practices to help you save time today and every day:
Small business owners are constantly being bombarded with small tasks that need their attention. Some tasks are trivial, while others are vital to the success of the business and require immediate attention. These are unavoidable, but for every unexpected task that distracts you, you’re losing time that could be dedicated to the more consistent responsibilities you hold. Though completing things as they come might feel like a productive use of time, switching between tasks like this forces your mind away from the task at hand, leading to lost time, lower quality work, and in many cases, tasks going uncompleted.The solution? Create a structure and routine for your day. A routine will allow you to get into a rhythm with your daily tasks and free up more time for the more timely and dynamic tasks that come your way. Rather than losing time by completing things right away, make your routine a priority. Then, once you’ve completed it, move on to the tasks that are calling for attention.
There’s another simple way to save yourself time: just say no. When someone presents you with a trivial to-do, small business owners should know when and how to say no to. You might be the business owner, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do everything yourself, nor do you have to do everything that is asked of you. Your business won’t suffer if you say no to a time-consuming task that will bring little benefit. Saying no, or, if possible, delegating these tasks to someone else will give you more time to accomplish tasks that will help grow the company.That being said, it is important to understand the difference between a task to say no to and a task that actually needs to be done. When presented with a new task, take a step back, think critically, and decide whether or not completing the task will have an effect on your business. In fact, there is a good rule of thumb for deciding how to tackle any task that is presented to you, which will be covered in the next section.
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The Eisenhower Box[/caption]The Eisenhower Box is something you should be implementing in your daily work life. This simple tool is remarkably effective in making you more productive, thus helping you save your valuable time. Whenever you are presented with a new task, think through this evaluation to decide the best way to allocate your efforts.The simple rule is this: Find what matters now and do it, find what matters later and schedule when to do it, find what doesn’t matter now and delegate it, and find what doesn’t matter ever and delete it. Make sure that you evaluate these in the context of your business’ success, not your own personal preferences. You may have a personal opinion about whether or not a task is us urgent or important, but it is necessary to take a step back and make a decision based on the needs of the whole business.
Business owners don’t just want to save time in the office, though. Personal time is important for people who give so much to their work. If you want to save time outside of work, it’s imperative that you draw a distinct line between work time and home time. Many entrepreneurs worry that if they’re not plugged into their business 24/7, they’ll miss something. In reality, that rarely happens (if ever). And if you do miss something while at home, most of the time it’s not something so urgent that it can’t be taken care of the next day.This is good advice for maintaining a positive work-life balance, but it is also effective in saving you time at work. You might think that always working will enable you to accomplish more, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Being plugged in all the time takes away the sense of urgency to get things done during the work day -- why work to complete a task now when you can just as easily complete it when you get home? But, if you know you’re unplugging at 5 PM, you’ll be much more focused on the work you’re doing and get it done before the end of the day.
Another tactic that many business owners use to save time is multitasking. In theory, doing two things at once sounds productive, but it’s actually the opposite. Think of multi-tasking like juggling. It’s hard to make mistakes when you’re holding just one ball. But, even if you’re pretty good at juggling, the likelihood of dropping a ball increases with each ball you add. The same goes for multi-tasking at work. With each additional thing you add, you increase not only the likelihood that you’ll complete the task poorly, but also the amount of time it takes to complete each task. The solution is simple: Just do one thing at a time. You’ll save time and produce higher quality work.When you’re running a small business, each day is more hectic than the last. You might wear many hats and be required to complete a variety of tasks in all aspects of your business. Because of the multitude of jobs to complete on a daily basis, it is important to find ways to be more productive and save time. These five steps can you help you to save time today and make you more productive in the future.
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