Nearly every business owner will agree that time is money, but managing your time effectively is easier said than done. Trying to work more quickly, limit the number of breaks you take, or cut corners will only lead to burnout, which more than 63% of business owners have dealt with. This is why all entrepreneurs must approach time management with a strategic mindset.
To truly increase your productivity without sacrificing the quality of your work, you will need to develop new ways of thinking about the problem at hand and then consistently apply tried-and-tested solutions to your day-to-day duties. Discover some of the best ways to regain control over your time and boost your productivity below.
Track Your Time
Effective time management for businesses begins with understanding how you’re currently using the time you have available. Not understanding where you’re wasting time will make optimizing your working processes much more difficult, so consider spending a week or two diligently tracking every minute of your day. To do this, you may want to invest in time tracking software , such as Clockify, Harvest, Toggl Track, or HubStaff , however, a calendar app and a timer may also suffice. Once you have your data, you can begin identifying the tasks that take up the most time as well as pinpointing any moments during the day when you’re wasting time or procrastinating.
Automate Manual Processes
When analyzing your time tracking data, you may notice that some essential processes require significant blocks of time to complete. The best way to optimize manual or administrative tasks is by relying on automation software , allowing you to focus on growing your business rather than repetitive data entry.
In today’s digital age, there are hundreds of software solutions developed with business owners in mind. Some of the processes they can boost the efficiency of include:
Calculating taxes, preparing balance sheets , and claiming expenses can amount to a huge amount of paperwork each week. It’s for this reason that HMRC has made accounting software compulsory for all VAT-registered businesses, as they recognize the ways that digital tools can streamline the whole process, resulting in fewer errors and missed deadlines. However, accountancy revolves around more than just tax – it can also be used to measure business efficiency and ROI. An ROI calculator can minimize the time you spend making calculations and eliminates guesswork when it comes to understanding how efficient your business currently is.
Maintaining your inventory can be challenging, especially if products are selling quickly. It is often difficult for business owners to order raw materials or supplies at the right moment unless they are constantly checking stock levels. Inventory management software can automate the ordering of new products and materials while sending stock-level alerts.
Regardless of whether you market your business using social media, SEO, blogs, email campaigns, or all of the above, marketing automation software can help you to create, schedule, and analyze your marketing materials in one place. Not only will you be able to plan ahead, but you will be able to gain deeper insights into how well various blogs or social statuses are performing thanks to in-built metrics and digital reports.
Over time, outsourcing becomes a necessity for many businesses, but it can be a daunting prospect for start-ups. Spending your limited budget on paying a freelancer or agency to carry out work you can do yourself may seem illogical, but the time you gain could be priceless.
The best way to manage outsourcing on a limited budget is to think about the tasks in which you lack expertise. There are hundreds of professionals who specialise in all areas of running a business and can deliver better results in less time. For example, hiring a marketing professional to manage your struggling social media accounts may pay for itself several times over. You will hopefully see an increase in leads and revenue, allowing you to reinvest even more money into your venture.
Alternatively, if you need more time to make sales calls and find clients yourself, a virtual assistant may be able to lessen your administrative burden. Virtual assistants can fill in any gaps left by automation software by completing tasks such as returning calls, resolving customer service inquiries, and even writing content.
Streamline Your Workflow
If you currently base your day’s work on a to-do list that spans the entire month, it’s likely that you’re wasting a considerable amount of time deciding which tasks should be completed in which order. Two strategies that can help you work through your tasks more efficiently are batching and prioritization.
To effectively prioritize your list of tasks, use a ranking system to determine how essential each item on your to-do list is. Try to assign these priorities as soon as you create a new task rather than reorganizing your list retrospectively. You may even decide to assign a time limit to lower priority tasks to ensure you’re not giving them more attention than they deserve, leaving you with more energy to focus on what’s more important.
After prioritizing your list, begin grouping similar tasks into batches. For example, you could set aside your whole morning to write blog posts or assign 45 minutes to respond to emails. Working through the same kind of tasks in one sitting has been proven to improve productivity. This is because mentally switching between different kinds of tasks can reduce your efficiency by 20-40% .
Manage Your Time More Efficiently Today
Time management for businesses doesn’t look the same across the board. Instead, every business owner must find a unique strategy that works for their needs. This might mean blocking out distractions, trying a new routine, or relying more on other people. Because effective time management requires patience.
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