Time is Money: Here’s How to Find More
April 12th 2022
Many entrepreneurs often waste time. Of course, it’s not intentional, but they spend time they shouldn’t on tasks that don’t require their direct involvement. Reducing that wasted time is the key to getting more done in less time.
By focusing on maximizing productivity, by managing your time better, your business has the potential to become more profitable. Here are some tips and tools that you can use in your daily work to optimize the use of your time.
Plan your day
Making a daily and/or weekly calendar to plan out what you need to get done on a daily basis is the most important step in managing your time. Either at the start of your day, or the evening before, spend a few minutes writing down the top three tasks you absolutely must complete that day. Those essential tasks should then guide how you schedule the rest of your day.
However, you should also build in breaks and rewards. Try to create a day where you can both be productive and feel good about what you’ve accomplished. For example, if you have a big project to complete by the end of the day, don’t just put that one item on your calendar for the whole time. That can either seem overwhelming or too easy, and if that’s the case, it’s very likely you’ll add in other smaller tasks due to overconfidence about your availability.
Figure out what your three must-do’s are and slot them into your day first, to ensure the most important tasks get done. Then, when you do, reward yourself with a walk outside, a fresh cup of coffee, or a social media break.
Rely on technology
Typically, many of the tasks that you complete in a day are handled manually. That is, without the use of technology. However, there is an opportunity to use technology tools that will get those tasks done faster, and maybe even better.
A great example of this is recording and then transcribing your interviews. If you are currently manually transcribing your interviews—stop! That is not a task you should be completing. Transcribing is a time and energy-exhausting task that can make it harder for you to get other tasks done. Not to mention, there are online services that will do it for you.
Otter, Rev, and Speechpad are all good options for having transcripts done, though some are more expensive than others.
Also, using Google Workspace or other browser-based platforms make working on collaborative documents a breeze. Google Docs is a great example of this. Instead of uploading every little change you make to a document, share the document with team members and work on it together.
Focus on high-value tasks
Since we know (thanks to Pareto) that 20 percent of your work will yield 80 percent of your results, make sure you take the time to identify which of your tasks are going to generate the most value for your business. Frequently, we use smaller tasks as excuses to procrastinate and avoid the larger to-do’s we actually don’t want to do.
While this strategy is helpful in avoiding your work, it doesn’t do your business any good. Let the smaller things wait and focus on what really matters. For example, a high value task for a copywriter might be drafting an article, for a product distributor it might be negotiating a contract, and for a caterer, it might be helping clients choose a menu for their big event.
What is considered a high value task will be different for everyone, but being clear about which yours are can help you focus your time and energy on the activities that have the biggest payoff for your company.
Delegate or outsource business activities that don’t require your expertise
Similar to focusing on high value tasks, don’t waste your time on a task that someone else could just as easily handle. You’re adding no value in that case and preventing yourself from addressing some other, more important, task.
For example, if your area of expertise is business management, don’t spend your time crunching numbers or designing websites. Similarly, if you’re not a graphic designer, don’t waste your time trying to replicate what a skilled graphic designer could create for you. Your brochure, logo, or flyer will be much more professional and done in less time than if you tried to cobble something together.
Instead, do what you excel at and hand off the other work to people who excel in those other categories.
Don’t drive, get it delivered
Entrepreneurs and business owners who started small are used to doing it all themselves, from landing the business to doing the work to billing, and everything in between. Sometimes, that work includes administrative tasks like ordering coffee, dropping off packages at the post office, or running out to buy a toner cartridge because the printer ran out of ink.
However, thanks to Covid, we now know that it’s possible to get almost anything delivered to your door. Why get in your car and drive, or take the subway, to run time-consuming errands when all you need to do is head online to make arrangements for what you need?
Have packages to go out to clients? Schedule a pick-up at your business. Need office supplies? Place an online order at Staples or Amazon and have it delivered. Ordering sandwiches for a working lunch? Use Grubhub or DoorDash and have it made-to-order and brought to you, rather than spending your valuable time leaving your office to pick things up. Convert that time to productive work time.
Running a business is hard, but by making better use of your resources and your time, you can increase your odds of massive success. The more you make use of available people, technology, and resources in running your business, the more time you will save and the more money you will make.