As the saying goes—time is money, and that goes double for small business owners. Your entire business depends on you, and most of the time, you don’t have a lot of help with the day-to-day things that take up a lot of your time. Always try to work smarter, not harder, because, your time is valuable as a small business owner. Here are a few life hacks we’ve put together for you as a small business owner that will help you keep the ball rolling from the time you get to work until the time you leave:
1. Handle your mail/email only once
Nowadays with smartphones, we have immediate access to our emails, and many of us, stop what we’re doing immediately once we’ve got a new one in our inbox. We look at it, and if it requires a response, we mentally note that we will get back to it later, only to come back at the end of a long day when we’re tired and have about 50 emails we’ve got to respond to. So how can we fix that? Easy—if you read an email (or a piece of snail mail) respond to it immediately, so you don’t have it clogging up your inbox. The best way to handle this is only to look at your email when you have time to respond to it. It could be once every hour, but you may be able to get away with once every two or three hours.
2. Make appointments…with yourself
Schedule time in your day to do the important things you need to do without any distractions. Block that time off in your calendar, and make sure you keep that commitment. Treat yourself (and your time) like your most valuable customer—this means no distractions during your scheduled time. Stick to the task at hand.
3. Turn your phone off…every once in awhile
You could do this maybe during those scheduled appointments you make with yourself. Turning off your phone for awhile will keep your mind focused on the task at hand so you can get it done in perfect timing. We all love a good distraction, sometimes you just need it, but at the end of the day, the five minutes you steal here and there to fiddle on your phone, text, or look something up adds up. If it isn’t important at the moment, set it aside for later and keep your priority list on track.
4. Create templates
Do you find yourself responding to the same request or sending the same email over and over? Save time for yourself by creating a template for your most commonly sent communications, so you’re not reinventing the wheel each time you need to send it.
5. Automate your books
If you’re doing your books/schedule/administrative duties by hand…stop it! We are in the 21st century; chances are if you’re doing something by hand, some innovator has already figured out how to automate the process. Yes, it’s hard to let go of the old ways, but what’s more important: tradition, or spending the time you save by automating, with your family or your favorite hobby?
There you have it, five ways to work smarter, not harder as a small business owner.