Top Time-Saving Tips for Small Business Owners & Creative Entrepreneurs
Being a small business owner or creative entrepreneur means there is always something to do. It is easy to feel like there is never enough time to get everything done.
Good time management is essential to the smooth running of your business. Your time is a precious commodity, so learning how to use it strategically and effectively will save you so much time in your busy biz days.
Here are my top time-saving tips and time-management techniques to show you how to work smarter, save time, and use your time more efficiently.
Audit Your Time
Before you can start effectively managing your time, you need to know what you're actually spending time doing. So, write out a list of your day-to-day tasks, work out how long something takes you to do and identify the patterns. You could try using a time tracking tool (such as Toggl) to help you see where you spend most of your time.
You might find that you're spending hours on social media or a long time responding to emails. Once you've worked out what is eating up the most of your time, you can aim to reduce the time you spend on unnecessary things and streamline the required tasks a bit more efficiently.
Create A Strategic To-Do List
Write out a detailed to-do list of everything that needs to be accomplished and create a plan based on priorities. Decide what are the most important tasks on the list, and prioritize these first. These might be tasks that have a deadline or are more important.
If your list includes some overwhelming jobs, break them down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Also, be realistic with yourself and the time you set for yourself to accomplish your to-do list. You know your limitations and abilities, so work realistically to these expectations.
Put Yourself Into “Do Not Disturb” Mode
It is so easy to be distracted and lose your focus on your work. Studies show that it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after an interruption! So, schedule specific "do not disturb" time throughout your day when you are fully focused on the task at hand. Turn your phone off, remove any distractions and set yourself a time limit for the focused work session.
The brain is only able to maintain true focus for around 45 minutes before it begins to lose steam. So, it's a good idea to set yourself a "do not disturb" focus session for up to an hour, and then take a break.
This is actually the most important part of managing your time. You need to have time away from your work during the day to let the brain recharge. Add lunch and coffee breaks to your calendar,
Working every second of every day is exhausting and you’ll head for burnout very quickly. Leave gaps in between meetings or tasks to allow yourself some time to think, relax, have a drink, and take a step back from what you're doing.
Batch Your Tasks
The best way to save time is to find ways to be more productive. Putting processes in place where you can get more done in a smaller amount of time. Batch completing your tasks is a super effective strategy for time management.
These tasks can include things like responding to emails, scheduling your social media, returning phone calls, creating content or research projects. They are all tasks that can be done ahead of time and easily completed in a batch method.
Stick to completing one task at a time, otherwise, you will find yourself multi-tasking through all your to-do list without actually getting anything done. Multi-tasking can sound like a time saver, but it isn’t. Focus on one task, complete it and then move on.
Using your time for focused work, block out an hour for emails, then half an hour to reply to messages, and then another hour for social media. Whatever your list consists of, do it in stages and do not try to do it all at once!
Automate Your Workflow
Everyday business requirements can often consume more of your resources’ time than you realize. Automation is the action of creating automated processes to transform your business into a more productive, efficient, and therefore profitable enterprise. It eliminates the need for you to manually carry out the task, providing you with the time you need to focus on other aspects of your business. By automating certain tasks and applications, you can easily save yourself valuable time
Some aspects of your business you can automate are:
Implement a CRM to Track Leads and Manage Customer Relationships
Use Online Scheduling Software (with a platform such as Calendly)
Automate Your Email Marketing
Utilize Form Automation
Use a Social Media Scheduling Tool
Immediately Respond to Customer Service Enquiries
Use Trigger/Action Workflows
Streamline Your Working Processes
A new Asana survey shows that of 10,000 workers surveyed, respondents spend 58% of their days doing busy work – what they called “work about work.” Take a good look at how your working processes are working out for you and where there could be room for improvement. Workflows help ensure that we get essential processes right every time. By streamlining these workflows, you are able to remove unnecessary steps and speed up the overall process.
This could be looking at the way you organize your files, how you liaise with your customers, how you manage your workload, what platforms you use for productivity, how you're responding to emails and enquiries, and how you achieve tasks. There are so many time-saving and organizational apps and services available that can help you streamline your working processes. Find the ones that work for you.
Delegate & Outsource
You don't need to do everything! It is so easy to find yourself spending hours creating invoices, managing your social media accounts, or updating your website. But if these tasks are consuming your time, or you find yourself struggling to complete them productively, you need to outsource them.
Learn to let go, especially when it comes to small tasks! By delegating and outsourcing the non-essential tasks of your day, your time will be instantly freed up to focus on the more important aspects of your business that will benefit from your time so much more.
f you are finding it hard to keep on top of your time management, you should consider working with a virtual assistant to manage your workload more efficiently. I'd love to connect with you and talk through this more, so feel free to drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org
Creative Virtual Assistant at Kelp Collective