We are all aware of how this past year has changed our lives. Our personal challenges created by the pandemic have shaped the way we live day to day. I recently shared some COVID-19 lessons that will make you a better person now and moving forward.
But what about your professional life? Now that you’ve focused on being your best self, how does that translate to your career? And more specifically, what insights can you take away if you’re an entrepreneur?
Aside from the personal toll this past year has brought, it’s also changed the way you operate your business. Luckily, there are a lot of steps you can take right now that will help relieve some of the stress.
Detailed below are 6 time-saving tips to help any entrepreneur.
1. Manage Your Time
Naturally, if you want to be time-saving, you need to manage your time. But managing isn’t so simple when there are many considerations. When you’ve given a big project how much time is too much? How about smaller ones? What should you be prioritizing as well?
One good time-saving structure that can help is to do tasks based on the time needed to complete the task. Knowing how long something will take will take time, but it’s not difficult. Especially if you’re like me and doing the same repetitive task.
By prioritizing all of your duties based on the time needed to complete each one, you’ll garner a better understanding of where to begin and end each work day. If some of these assignments are too much for just you, bring in some members of your cohort. Delegation is a powerful skill that can grant you a competitive advantage and help you become a better leader for your team.
But don’t forget to have time for yourself.
While managing time is the ultimate time-saving method, you can get lost in your work and neglect other parts of your life.
Learn to foster a healthy work-life balance. Establish a daily routine for working days and days off, even as you’re working remotely. Getting up at the same time every day, eating meals at the same time, and blocking out time for your personal life at similar times can help you stay focused and healthy.
Remind yourself to take breaks to avoid stiff muscles, migraines from blue light, and general aches and pains. Be sure to take good care of yourself by keeping your medicine cabinet stocked with the essentials. An over-the-counter medicine delivery service can provide you with the necessary resources to combat these ailments. Additionally, you can use apps like these to support the health of the whole team. For instance, if a team member is swamped with work, feeling under the weather, or out sick, sending them a health-focused care package can help.
Prioritizing your personal wellness and the wellness of your team is an essential piece of the work-life balance puzzle. Share some of your routine best practices with your teammates for the benefit of the entire operation.
2. Use Time-Saving To Plan Ahead
Imagine for a moment that you are going about your daily workflow when suddenly you get a call from your associate saying you are late for an important meeting with a prospective client. You quickly finish what you were doing and hop on the call. The client is asking questions that you are not prepared to answer, causing you to scramble behind the scenes to gather the materials you need to provide more information.
This could have been avoided by taking time before your work week began. Set aside a little time, maybe at the end of your previous week or on your weekend, to develop a plan for your upcoming work week.
Helpful tools, like these detailed scheduling apps, provide you with an instant guide to everything from client meetings to deliverable deadlines. Having your schedule mobile, and accessible from any of your devices, will keep your tasks top of mind. Solid schedules are not the only tools you can use to create your plan though.
Consider creating a detailed set of goals for the quarter, month, or week, whatever best fits your business plan. Keeping a running checklist of the steps you need to take to reach your goals will help you get there, and rewarding yourself and your team once you reach key benchmarks only will only increase your momentum.
Additionally, using templates is not just for email. If you know your schedule or benchmarks will be relatively the same for an extended period of time, creating templates for your deliverables could save you some headaches down the line.
3. Anticipate Your Needs
While you’re creating a healthy work-life balance for yourself and for your team, you’ll find that your needs will go beyond your personal wellness. Anticipating workplace necessities should be a top priority, especially in this remote environment. Examine your checklists and schedules closely and use your best judgment to determine what supplies or tools you may need down the road to best complete your goals.
Maybe your children have used up all your legal pads for their own remote learning notes, or your computer is starting to phase itself out. Don’t wait until it is too late. Acting with immediacy can mean the difference between securing your needs in a timely manner versus not securing them at all. With mail deliveries continuing to be delayed and no end in sight, planning ahead and making level-headed decisions is just as important in your remote office as it was on-site.
Make confident decisions regarding what you need in the immediate future versus down the road by prioritizing what your business needs. The best place to start when making these decisions is with your team.
4. Prioritize Efficient Communication
Clear, effective, and efficient communication of your needs will help your team know what is expected of them. In turn, providing a platform for your colleagues to share their needs with you allows you to keep the needs of your people top of mind.
At this point, there are hundreds of communication platforms that can do anything, and many of us have accounts with more than we can keep track of. It can be overwhelming and time-consuming if your team and clients don’t have direction about where to communicate. Choosing the best tools for small companies and providing your team with access can help streamline things. It can also help to maintain that coveted work-life balance by ensuring that your work communication is not coming into the same inbox or platform as your personal communication.
This also goes beyond communication tools to file-sharing platforms, a form of proactive communication. Ensure that your team has access to important files with procedures, templates, and whatever else they need at all times. Taking time in advance to understand tasks and provide clear direction now will give your team the resources they need to do things independently and reduce time back and forth with questions.
When you are communicating with team members or clients, give them your full attention. This is both a sign of respect and will help you adequately address and respond with full confidence that you didn’t miss anything. If you find your mind wandering, take notes. This will help keep you focused and give you something to look back at if you forget later.
5. Prepare for the Future
As an entrepreneur, change is your native language. The business landscape is always shifting and you’ve had to adapt to stay afloat. Capitalize on this skill and be proactive about the future. Take time now to evaluate your planned trajectory with your business plan and compare it to where your industry is headed. You can stay laser-focused on trends, competitors, and your industry by starting your day with a morning briefing. To leverage time-saving, find and subscribe to a newsletter for entrepreneurs that caters to your industry and read it daily.
However, don’t abandon practical advice from people around you. Surround yourself and your team with business professionals in your industry. Look for both a mentor and peers. Collaboration and community are crucial for success since different people provide valuable insights, diverse perspectives, and a wider network. The same goes for your team. While you don’t have to take every piece of advice, listen intently and try to apply some of what you hear. This will make your team feel heard and encourage them to communicate with you more. Knowing what is happening in the trenches from your team and the larger community keeps you better informed, preparing you for what’s to come and saving you time when it hits.
6. Use Time-Saving to Recount the Day
While we think of time-saving as doing something active, there are some mental aspects worth looking at. Namely the idea of reflecting or recounting the day. At the end of each day, reflect on your successes and struggles. Set aside your pride and take an honest look at your day.
Is there something you can do differently next time?
Take note of what comes up and make a plan of action based on what you find. As an entrepreneur, you know how important it is to be flexible and adjust as things change, so be willing to see where you struggled and give yourself space to improve.
You can also do this with your team on a weekly or monthly basis. This will help get everyone on the same page and encourage you to manage and grow from the negative things. Whatever you and your team notice and plan to change something, be confident in your decision and stick by it. Addressing things as they come up daily, weekly, or monthly is a proactive way to manage concerns too. Avoiding them can cripple your business as you could fail to capitalize on opportunities.
Every Entrepreneur Can Use Time-Saving Techniques
While implementing some of these strategies may be time-consuming upfront, having them in place will save you time in the long run. This will allow you to be prepared before challenges appear, rather than reactive when they do. Stay proactive by surrounding yourself with the best strategies, resources, and people who inspire you to do better every day.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon