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When you’re running a small business, time is literally money. Without a salary or a clock to punch, the only time you’re making money is when you’re working. Unfortunately, this leads too many small business owners to work extra hours – and eventually burn out.
This infographic from Maven Link demonstrates the value of time for small business owners. A few highlights:
- 72 percent of small business owners work evenings and weekends.
- 53 percent say the hardest thing about their business is wearing multiple hats – and 46 percent fill 3 to 4 employee roles on a given day.
- 25 percent, or 1 in 4, say that one extra hour in a working day is worth more than $500 to them.
There’s no question that if you want your small business to succeed, you need to put in the work, but it doesn’t have to be 60 to 80 hours’ worth every week. Follow these tips to squeeze more hours out of your working days and get more done in less time.
6 Time Saving Tips to Shave Hours Off Your Week
Your smartphone can let you work on the go, anywhere you happen to be. There are plenty of timesaving apps for small business owners, and many will also help you automate tasks and keep things organized—saving more precious minutes.
Look for apps that cover tasks like bookkeeping, invoicing, appointment scheduling, document sharing and more. You’ll be surprised by how much time you save. A study by the Small Business and Entrepreneur Council, Saving Time and Money With Mobile Apps (PDF) finds that apps save small business owners an average of 5.6 hours a week.
Don’t Stay Attached to Your Phone
You’ve probably heard the popular time management advice to limit the number of times you check your email. But are you applying this advice to your phone?
Text messages can suck up just as much time as your email. How much time would you save if you didn’t pick up your phone every time it buzzes or chimes? If you have a hard time ignoring incoming texts or messages, try turning your phone off during business hours until you need it.
If your cell is your primary business line, limit interactions to calls only and designate a few times a day to go through texts.
Tackle Your To-Do List
To-do lists are a great way to keep you focused and on target. Schedule a short block at the end of the day to go through your list, check off what’s been done, and add tasks for the next day. But don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t finished everything. Simply move incomplete items to tomorrow.
You can save even more time with a to-do list app. Check out this top 10 list from PCWorld, most are free.
For a long time, multitasking was touted as a highly productive strategy for any busy professional. However, it’s been shown that most people can’t fully concentrate on more than one task at a time. In fact, the University of London’s Institute of Psychiatry found that when you’re drowning in texts, emails and phone calls, your IQ drops ten points.
By concentrating on just one task at a time, you’ll ensure that it’s finished correctly and save yourself the trouble and time of redoing it later.
Schedule Tough Stuff During Your High Energy Time
When are you at your best? Do you power through tasks in the morning and slow down after lunch, or does it take you a while to get up to full steam? Identify your most productive time of the day, and tackle your big, complicated items then.
Though it’s tempting to handle the fun, easy things when you’re feeling productive, try to resist. You’ll feel better and save tons of time when you get through the difficult tasks while you’re operating at full capacity.
Make Sure You Punch Out Every Day
It’s important that your business day has an actual end – the point where you disconnect completely by shutting off the computer, putting the mobile devices away and relaxing. While you may have times when quitting isn’t an option, you should strive to leave the office behind for the day as often as possible. Ask yourself whether what’s keeping you working is truly an emergency, or if it can be moved to the next day’s to-do list.
When you commit to developing time saving habits for your small business, you’ll end up happier, more relaxed and more productive than ever.
Time Photo via Shutterstock
It’s amazing that just 5 years ago 72% of small business owners reported working more hours. Is this because of the explosion of smart phones? Smart phones help, obviously, but they also have entrepreneurs working at all hours of the day, too, and at the dinner table, the bedroom, and in the car. So is that more or less?
Great point! Although smartphones are convenient, I would agree that they haven’t shortened the workday… only made it more mobile. Sure, we can work wherever we want, but it’s more difficult to stop. The work/life balance has become even more blurred.
Wonderful time saving tips. I find myself having to do so much throughout the day so any thing I can do to maximize my time and be more productive is helpful. thanks for sharing this tips with us.
Glad this helped you, Ti! 🙂
This post will be worth to invest some to go through and check all the tips, in order to save some time in the long run! 🙂
I am very interested in the time management topic and I am developing my personalized version of productivity system, with a personal kanban workflow as the base. You could read more about my struggle with “getting things done” on my workflow page. I will soon write a post on how I combine low and high tech tool by using pen, paper and new media applications.
I will show your post to a person who is working at the West Sweden Chamber of Commerce in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Thanks, Martin! Time management is definitely a big challenge, but so important. Best of luck to you.
Megan: Thanks! I look forward to your new posts! 🙂
An excellent article. I especially like the “don’t multitask” advice. In spite of being “business correct”, nobody can multitask well. Focus on your goals, then work in half hour segments of time.
Great point, Kip. There is a fine line between “multitasking” and being unfocused. At the end of the day, I’d much rather have six tasks accomplished than a dozen half-done.
Very important tips indeed. Actually, we know some of the tips, but …. we become slaves to gadgets and devices … we need to keep reminding ourselves that world still went round when these gadgets and devices did not exist. Thanks Megan
Very true, Shrirang – these aren’t revolutionary tips, but they’re all too easy to overlook in our tech-obsessed age. 😉
Such great advice!!! I was feeling guilty that I shut off texting… now I feel good about it! In my line of work I wouldn’t be able to breathe with all my clients texting me, too! Thanks for this great post!
Good for you, Loretta! We all need to do what works best for us in boosting our productivity (and preserving our sanity!) Good luck!
It is so hard to turn off! Multi-tasking is also one that I find myself doing and I agree that it is sometimes counter productive. Being a realtor I have to make sure to block in my family, holiday and me time. Paying for a part time assistant has helped.
Megan, Great Article!
Until put in writing I didnt realize that checking the phone/email zaps away so much production time.
I also agree that multitasking can be productive at times; however some task are single task items.
Yes, David — it’s eye-opening when you take the time to monitor your daily tasks. It seems so simple to just sit down and “answer a few emails,” but those unplanned (and often mindless) sessions can easily derail my productivity. Multitasking is definitely a double-edged sword! 🙂