TIME – the one thing no-one ever seems to have enough of! From running out of, to didn’t have enough, to wasting; time is a precious commodity that controls our lives! In a modern-day world with millions of time-saving applications, gadgets, and ideas we seem to have less time than ever to do and enjoy the things we love!
The key to better managing your time is efficiency. Taking control and getting ahead is ideally where we want to be, but this is always easier said than done.
In this article, I will show you some areas you can create efficiencies that will help you claw back some of that precious time!
Efficiency is the Key to a Stress-Free Business
Who doesn’t love automation? Shopping carts and membership sites automate your sales and content delivery. Email autoresponders automate relationship building. And calendar apps automate your schedule, putting an end to the frustrating back and forth of setting appointments.
Not only does automation save you time, but it helps ensure quality and consistency as well. Just imagine how confusing it would be to your customers if you didn’t have a shopping cart, but instead sent them an invoice for every purchase, and each invoice was a different cost. Or what if your 16-week group coaching course sometimes arrived by email, and sometimes in your Facebook group, and sometimes not at all?
Now these might seem like silly, over-the-top examples, but this is why automation tools exist; to keep everything running smoothly and as expected.
Can you automate everything? No. But you can implement this same level of efficiency and consistency by creating systems and workflows.
What would happen if your project manager or executive VA were no longer able to work? Could you easily (and quickly) train someone else to take over? For too many small business owners, the answer to that question is a definitive NO.
When all the instructions for completing a task reside only in one person’s head, you’ve set yourself up for catastrophe. Sure, in the event that someone becomes ill or wins the lottery, you would probably recover, but how long would that take?
Rather than risk struggling with logins and procedures, make it a point to document every task in your business, from how you manage your email to how a new product is launched. That way, if your best VA decides to elope with her Prince Charming, another team member can step in and cover for her.
Seek Out More Efficient Systems
Just because grandma always kneaded her bread by hand doesn’t mean that’s still the best way to do things today. Now that new stand mixer takes all the work out of bread making, while still keeping the flavor in.
Where can you make your business more efficient, while still keeping the personality and brand your clients love and trust?
- A hosted help desk solution with “canned responses” to the most common questions. Click a button and answer in seconds instead of typing out a 3-paragraph response.
- Document templates ensure everything is formatted in a way that matches your brand, and will save you hours on every worksheet, resource guide, and even sales pages and blog posts.
- Duplicate your repeatable projects inside your project management system, change the dates and key details, and instead of spending 30 minutes assigning tasks to your team, you’ll spend 30 seconds.
It might also be time to upgrade your tools if what you’re using is no longer as efficient as it could be. For example, if your autoresponder can’t move customers from one email funnel to another based on their behaviour, you’re missing out on sales. Consider upgrading to Get Response, Keap/Infusionsoft or even Hubspot to make your sales process more automated.
Take a look at your business and the tasks you and your team perform every day. Where can you be more efficient? What tools would help you maximize your time? Making changes in these areas will add hours to your day. It will also greatly reduce your overwhelm and stress levels.
Managing your time is the best way to become efficient, but it’s not the easiest skill to master. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you manage this piece.
Do’s & Don’ts
- Do plan your task list – failing to plan is planning to fail!
- Do write down everything that is a task; many people only list work oriented items on their to do list. You will get more done and see a much clearer picture if you list personal and business tasks
- Do ask for help or delegate; once you can clearly see all your tasks in one place you can clearly see what others can help with!
- Don’t procrastinate ; easier said than done but if you are thinking about something at least add it to your to do list, that way you it won’t get forgotten the biggest problem of procrastination!
- Don’t get overwhelmed; your list will seem very big when you first start planning. It doesn’t mean you have to get it all done in a day!
- Don’t give up; most people fail at new regimes because they simply give up because something appears to be a lot of work. It will be to start with but it will get easier!
It makes so much more sense to work smarter and decrease the hard work! Remember it’s not about getting more done, it’s about having less to do! These tips can help you work smart.
- Keep a clean workspace
- Complete tasks in batches
- Eat healthy foods and snacks
- Cultivate deep work
- Break tasks into smaller pieces
- Find repeatable shortcuts
- Don’t multitask
- Establish deadlines
- Keep a distraction list
As a business owner it’s imperative that you maximize your time and become a ninja at being efficient because you are pulled in so many different directions. Implementing just one or two of the strategies above can make an enormous difference to your day to day. As with anything though the key is constancy! Here’s a free checklist from us to help you start; Contact us or let us know in the comments if it is working for you!
Disclosure: This blog contains affiliate links. We only partner with websites and platforms that we use on a daily basis and provide real value to our business and team. Diligent Assistant does not make money from platforms we have not rigorously tested.