As busy business owners, we can always use more tips to save time at work and grow the business faster. Let’s face it — many days, it can feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day to finish tasks. This leaves many of us with the added dilemma of not having enough quality time to spend with family. But work should not be so overwhelming that breaks are not possible.
Reclaim your precious time by working smarter, not longer, with these 9 helpful tips to save time at work. They will help you be more productive and give you the opportunity to focus on what’s really important.
Tip #1: Plan Your Day the Night Before
Set aside time for planning at the end of each workday. Make a list of everything you need to get done the following day. Set priority levels for what must get done, other important things, and additional tasks. Doing this will give you a much clearer picture of the workload you’re facing and help you get a better perspective on your workload.
Plan it all out on your calendar. Don’t just write it down on a Post-it or type it on your computer. This is one of the more important tips to save time at work that you want to make a daily habit. Take the time to schedule tasks, even if it’s just a simple tool like Trello or Google Calendar. Blocking out time for it will help you get focused, tell you how much time you need for each task, and generally help you gear up for the day ahead.
Tip #2: Block Off Time for Growth
Not everything can be about crossing tasks off your list if you really want to see business growth and taste freedom. This means that you need to block off specific times of each day that are slated for specific growth projects. This will give you time every day to focus on tasks that are meant to push you and the business forward.
Tip #3: Give Undivided Attention
We can’t give enough attention to multiple tasks at the same time. It’s just not humanly possible. When we try to widen the scope of our attention to be able to focus on many tasks, we actually become less focused. We can’t capture the details of all the little things we try to pay attention to.
When you talk to someone, work on a task, attend a meeting, think about a project, or get on a phone call, try to give that task your undivided attention. Encourage the same within your organization, too, so that everyone does their best to limit distractions. This is one of the tips to save time at work that takes practice to achieve.
Things that we usually try to multitask on like email, social media, and internet research, can reduce efficiency and also end up being done poorly themselves. By focusing on the task at hand, you can complete them faster and more efficiently. In addition, when you and everyone else is better able to contribute to a particular focus, there’s less error and going back and forth to clarify things. Learning to focus on one thing at a time can really enhance your overall productivity over time.
Tip #4: Block Off One Day without Meetings
Set aside one whole day every week where you will have zero meetings scheduled. This is your special day to get some distance from the inner workings of operations. This is a chance for you to take a break and at the same time focus on big projects that demand your full presence.
On this day, you may want to still be available for urgent questions, but make sure that everybody knows that it’s your “away day.” This will create that much-needed space for you to reserve your full capacity for a bigger or more difficult undertaking. Meetings and discussions can be huge distractions because they bring a lot of small, moving parts into your field of vision. By setting aside this one day per week, you can avoid that kind of clutter and give yourself a rest while still being more productive in another area.
Tip #5: Hire Help for Repetitive Tasks
This is one of the most valuable tips to save time at work when you really want to get more done. When you hire help for repetitive tasks, you free yourself from activities that are important but don’t move the needle forward in your business. This gives you more time to focus on the things that are going to bring in more business and encourage growth.
Start, for example, by hiring a virtual assistant to manage your emails and scheduling. Just having someone sort your emails before you open your inbox every day can save you tons of time already. Just think — no more going through to delete spam and forward queries to the appropriate people. In time, that person can even learn how to respond to some of the more common messages you get so that you only have a few emails to take care of yourself.
The same goes for scheduling. All you need to do is set up a Calendly account that reflects your open slots for customer calls, additional company meetings, and wherever else you might get called into. Even better, tell the virtual assistant how long and for what these slots can be scheduled and have them set it up for you. Then they can simply send people that link as the need arises and you’ll see everything on your calendar. All you need to do then is click on the event and follow the link to the scheduled meeting at your preferred virtual location.
Tip #6: Get Up Earlier
Simply waking up one hour earlier than you usually do gives you several extra hours a week. You can use this time to better prepare yourself for the day so you’re more productive. You can also use the time to dive into tasks earlier so you get more done by quitting time. Whatever you use it for, just make sure that it’s well thought out. This is not an hour for you to bum around without any plan, because that would not be part of any sensible list of tips to save time at work!
Ask yourself what you could use an extra hour a day for that would help you get more done every day. If you need to get some exercise in to keep you mentally and physically fit to face each day, then you have it. Maybe you need to spend more time at your computer cracking away at systems and processes documents. It could be an hour to prepare a healthier breakfast and have a good goals conversation with your family or business partner so you’re set up for success. Whatever it is, make sure it counts.
Tip #7: Build Systems and Processes and Trust Them
One of the most ignored tips to save time at work is to get your systems and processes set up. No one — not you as the business owner or anyone that works in your company — can get more done when every shift comes with a struggle to figure out how to proceed.
You don’t want anyone to be wasting time worrying about how to handle changes when they inevitably come. Change is part of any growing business, and it can come even when you’re not planning on making any improvements. Set up your systems and processes as soon as possible so that anyone who steps in to take over a task has these documents handy.
Make sure that your systems and processes are repeatable and that they work so that you can trust them. There’s no sense creating them if you can’t hand them over to someone knowing that everything will get done properly.
Always start with a template that you can build on. There’s no reason to start from scratch (and end up scratching your head for an hour trying to conceptualize the document) when you have lots of ready-made samples to get you started. Just pick the category that you need and choose the template that makes the most sense. Once you have the first document done, you can use that to inform the next ones that you will create for other areas of your business down to specific procedures on project documents, project plans, project management tools, reports, and more.
Tip #8: Know Where Your Time Goes
Make it a point to track yourself through your average week — or longer if you need to — to figure out in concrete terms how you are currently spending your time. Most people don’t have a good idea of how much time they are actually spending on different tasks. This makes it very difficult to spot time drains, and when you can’t see them you obviously can’t fix them.
This is another of our tips to save time at work that takes a bit of time to accomplish, but it’s worth it. The goal here is to optimize your personal time management so that you can use your time efficiently. Then you will know better what tasks are not worth your time as a business owner and what tasks you really need to be focusing more on.
Once you have that diligent log of all your time spent on tasks, you will see more clearly how much you are actually accomplishing in a day, and why. You will see what is taking your precious time away from the tasks that will give you the greatest returns. Then you can start eliminating unproductive activities and scheduling in the needle movers.
As a bonus, you’ll also get a sense of what time of day you are most productive, and if you do the exercise over several weeks, what times during the month as well. This will be a huge help to you when scheduling out time to work on different projects. For example, knowing when you are the most creative will show you when to schedule creative projects so that you will be super efficient and productive on them. The same goes for focus, reflection, and other moods that most people cycle through.
Tip #9: Schedule Everything
Even if you’re not sure how long a task is going to take you, do not give yourself an open-ended timeframe to accomplish it. Having a set start and finish time will challenge you to get it done and help you avoid procrastinating on it. Of course, you should also apply some grace in the situation in case you grossly underestimated the task and you need more time. Unless you tend to get overly anxious about beating the clock, this amount of pressure will make the task more fun. When the buzzer sounds, look at what you’ve accomplished and be amazed at how much you got done.
The same goes for daily work time and project deadlines. You should always have set start and stop times for everything that you do. Tasks that are left open-ended encourage us to slack off. When we know that we have to get up from our desks at a certain time, or switch to a different task, or start on a new project, we know that we have to be more productive to get everything done on time.
Use these 9 tips to save time at work not just to help you get more done, but to get it done to the best of your ability within the least time possible. Together, they will help you to hone your workdays to a fine point so that you can enjoy greater business success and enjoy the freedom to live the life that you want at the same time.
Would you like to know how to be certain who your next hire should be? Or maybe you are having a hard time deciding what parts of your business can be outsourced with virtual assistants, right now. We can help you answer these questions, and help you to discover what new systems you should add to scale your business faster. Set up a free hiring consultation with us at Outsource School today – simply book here!