We all know that phrase, “Time is money.” As a business owner, I have come to understand that concept very clearly and good time management is crucial to my business and personal success.
The following are a few things that I have learned over the years, which have been reinforced in me this year as I grow my client’s business, as well as mine to success every day.
Let’s break down our tips into six main areas, which are;
- Goal Setting
- Good (no excellent) Organisation
- Having a schedule
- Daily Planning
- Keeping a clean desk
First in my list of time saving tips is write down your goals. Did you know that your dreams are more likely to come into existence if you write them down? Did you know that only 3% of adult Americans have specific, written goals? There is power in writing down those things that you desire to come into your life.
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” — Henry Ford
Good (no excellent) Organisation
Get yourself organised. Add getting your office and desk organised for 2009 to your list of goals. Schedule a day on your calendar with the only purpose to clean up and organise your office and desk. I have excellent systems in place to carry out my day with minimal stress.
First of all, I have operated for years with a system called my “Command Centre”. My centre is a rolling file storage unit. You can use a file drawer, if you like. In this command centre are hanging file folders labeled, January through December and 1 through 31 for each day of the month.
Each day when you process the paper that is in today’s folder, you move that folder to the back of next month. Behind that grouping I have ACTION FOLDERS for topics that I deal with every day, such as Calls, Notes, Accounts Payable, Minutes, Data Entry, Master Tasks List, etc. As paper flows into my office each day, I immediately file that information in the correct follow up folder.
This way the paper is off my desk and placed in a folder with the appropriate so that I can follow up on that task in an efficient manner. There are no piles and I don’t deal with the paper again until it’s time.
Another organisation tip is that I have file folders for all reference information alphabetised in my filing cabinet. These are reference files that I don’t visit every day, however I need to keep. These include: Banking, Insurance, Instruction Manuals, etc.
Another one of my time saving tips is to deal with mail as soon as it comes in. Only keep what is necessary; throw away or shred the rest.
Email management. No doubt, all of us have felt that “snowed under” feeling that comes when our email is getting out of control. Most things seem important that they should not be deleted, however we don’t have the time to deal with it right now. The result is email piling up.
A trick that I use so that I am not overwhelmed every minute of the day is that I create folders in email and set up automatic rules so that when an email comes into my email box, the mail is routed automatically to the appropriate folders.
An example would be monthly newsletters that I have requested. The information is accessible when I need it, however I don’t have to stare at it all day. Another thing is to set up automatic spam rules for those emails that always slip through our radar.
Having a schedule
Implement a schedule for your workday is a great one of my time saving tips. When I first started my home-based business, I completely enjoyed the fact I could work all day in my pyjamas, if I so desired. Before this time, I had worked a typical career path, with nearly 30 years in the traditional office space, which of course was structured. Every day included dress-up and traffic jams.
Oh, how free I felt to sleep in a little later! My commute to my home office was only 2 minutes, and I did not have to spend time dressing up for the day. “I could show up to work when I wanted,” I thought. Well, that did not last long. After my indulgences had been satisfied, I quickly came to the realisation that serious business is built around treating my business seriously.
Now my home-based business operates just like the big boys. I operate my business with standard business hours. I get up every morning and dress for the day, eat my breakfast, and then go to the office.
Keep a Clean Desk
A favourite of my time saving tips is clear your desk at the end of each workday. For me, and many others I know, to go into my office each morning and start work with a fresh, clean space is so empowering. It can be a creative and energy drain to start out your day already feeling that you are already behind.
If you spend just 5 minutes at the end of each work day, putting files away (into their appropriate folders and spaces) and cleaning off your desk, it can add so much to the next day’s productivity.
Take time to plan out your day/week/month/year. I purposely schedule 1 hour on my calendar every morning before business hours begin to set up my day for success. I process my command centre tasks (daily tickler file system), check my calendar for the week, and then go to the daily view and stay focused on the day at hand.
Then I clean up my email, consult my Master Things to Do List, and build my Things to Do Today list for the day. For me, I use Outlook. There is nothing more thrilling than hearing that click noise as I mark off yet another task completed.
Reach out to get the help you need to succeed. I know this time saving tips is a hard one to accept, because most of us have a tendency to think that we are the only ones that can do a job right. In some cases that may be true, however just because you can do a better job than someone else doesn’t make it a good use of your time.
The rewards of delegating outweigh the risks, by giving you more time to focus on your business and balancing your personal life. In 2020, take a risk and clear some items off your plate. Sit down today and make a list of what is important to you and decide where you could free up time in your work and personal life by delegating certain tasks over to someone else.
It may be as simple as hiring a housekeeper for a few hours every two weeks to take away the burden of staying on top of housekeeping or hiring a virtual assistant to take care of administrative tasks that are draining your energy. Doing this will give you valuable time to be more focused on your business and may be spend a little more time with family and friends.