For most entrepreneurs, success is defined by how fast your business grows. But one of the biggest challenges is finding time to get everything done. Business owners often wear several hats, rolling up their sleeves to do whatever needs to be done, whether it be managing employees or selling the product or service. Time is the most valuable resource we have — and there doesn’t seem to be enough of it.
To help break that cycle, here are some time-saving tips from successful entrepreneurs who have achieved their success by using time wisely. These tips are simple and fairly easy to implement — after all, it shouldn’t cost a bunch of extra time to save yourself some time.
Get back to basics
Technology has become indispensable, offering time-saving applications for our computers and phones. However, not everything can be done successfully via to-do list apps and time management software. Sure, they are convenient and can be fun to use — but how many times have you accidentally placed an important task in a wrong category or set a reminder for an incorrect date? There are scenarios in which traditional methods are still far better and reliable than modern applications.
If you want to save time, all you need is a pen and paper. If you have a handful of items that must be accomplished, writing them down on a piece of paper every day and crossing each item upon completion can help ensure you get through the list, making time to work on the next priorities. Try making your list the night before to plan your day ahead more effectively.
When you make your list:.
- Always write the date
- List all tasks for that day and be realistic and don’t overload yourself.
- Include scheduled meeting times in a specific place.
- Track your time by jotting down accomplished tasks every hour.
- Make a quick summary at the end to recap your day.
- Complete each task — one at a time — according to priority.
- Reward yourself by crossing off every completed task.
Use an app for that
We just said that modern apps can sometimes create confusion. But when it comes to job automation, there’s no better tool than a computerized program specifically made to help you be more productive.
Among a growing list of versatile apps, IFTTT – or “if this, then that” – is a time-tested app that has become a favorite for many entrepreneurs. Borrowing from a principle of computer programming called a conditional statement, IFTTT is a free service that allows you to create simple automated processes to handle various situations. Check out these time-saving tips using IFTTT recipe combinations.
Choose a specific channel to trigger an action to another channel:
- Activate the first channel, then select a corresponding action for the other channel.
- Create your own recipes to start the automation process.
Examples of IFTTT recipe combinations to ensure efficient use of time:
- Add a calendar event via voicemail.
- Automatically send email attachments to cloud services.
- Send to-do list on email then trigger an alarm or reminder.
- Track your time automatically by using your phone’s location.
- Auto-share specific social media posts without opening your account.
- Create meeting notes and share them automatically with your group.
Give yourself a break
How many times have you spent the entire day working while it feels like everyone else is constantly on a coffee break? For most business owners, being busy is synonymous with working hard. But this isn’t always the case, and, because believe it or not, taking breaks can help you be even more productive.
One of the best time-saving tips used by successful entrepreneurs is the Pomodoro Technique. Here is how it works:
- Choose a task that you’d like to get done. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a big project or a simple job errand.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes and make a promise to yourself not to become distracted during that time period.
- Work on the task and try to focus on that one task until the timer rings. If for any reason you need to do something in between, write it down on a piece of paper.
- When the timer rings, take a short break. With every four completed Pomodoro tasks, take longer breaks as a form of reward.
Give that work to someone else
Small business owners are often faced with challenges that require them to be versatile. Accountant, marketing director, operations manager, cashier, and even shop cleaner – entrepreneurs are more than willing to take on these tasks for their business. However, you’re just one person and taking on all responsibilities isn’t the most productive use of your time.
Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks. Often, someone else can get it done faster — and maybe even better than you — so learn how to delegate tasks is an important time-saving tip to bear in mind.
- If you’re not proficient at the task, give it to someone else who can do it more efficiently.
- Consider outsourcing work. By hiring a service provider or a freelancer, you can focus on the tasks that make the most use of your talents as an entrepreneur.
- Weigh the pros and cons of outsourcing. Hiring someone else costs money. Compare the benefits you will gain by hiring some own versus the time you will have to spend on the task — and perhaps learning how to do it. In the end, an experienced freelancer is often a less expensive choice. Afterall, time is money too.
Keep your desk organized
Another easy time-saving tip is to keep your desk or workplace organized. It seems obvious, but, many entrepreneurs forget the importance of keeping a desk clean. An organized work area is a more productive work area.
A messy workplace with piles of papers and miscellaneous clutter lying around will inhibit your ability to work freely and creatively. Looking for something you can’t find? Spent 10 minutes searching for that stapler? Organize papers or items as they come in and create a system to prevent clutter from piling up.
- Designate a physical folder for all your paperwork. Establish a place for incoming documents and another one for outgoing papers.
- Remove unnecessary clutter from your desk. Unless an item serves a real purpose on your job, put it away. Unneeded items only overcrowd your workstation.
- Spending a few minutes each day is far more efficient than spending three hours cleaning a desk that hasn’t been organized in a month.
- When in doubt, simply throw it away. Don’t hoard things you “might use someday.” File or discard unnecessary items and completed documents.