You need to get it done, asap. Here are some tricks and tools for getting the most out of your workday.
Your mother used to say it to you, and it’s still true: use your time well. Each morning, make a to-do list and aim to hit the toughest tasks first. You will feel relief at having got them out of the way and this early success is also a great motivator.
Employ the 80/20 principle, based on the idea that 20 percent of your effort produces 80 percent of your results. Make sure you are concentrating on the right tasks and account for your time. If you have five clients and one is absorbing 50 percent of your time, then you need to figure out a way to rebalance your days.
Make sure that your team holds themselves accountable for how they spend their time, too.
Your business is your baby, and you are the only person who cares this much about its success. It is also true that you can’t do everything, and trying to do so will create bottlenecks.
Delegate tasks that can be done by other members of your team and use the time you just freed up to focus on tasks that can’t be done by anyone other than you - like planning your next steps.
In a similar vein, make judicious use of outsourcing. Outsource time-consuming jobs that are better done by experts, such as designing and building your website, content creation, marketing, SEO, and invoicing. A modest spend here will pay dividends later.
Bear this in mind as your company grows, too. You may not need to hire new staff to fulfill functions such as accounting and shipping; instead you might continue to outsource, saving on wages and overhead costs.
Reduce your dependence on emails and the time you spend in meetings. Reading and replying to emails can suck up nearly a third of your working day, according to management consultants McKinsey and Company. Keep your messages brief and to-the-point and encourage your team to do the same. Consider picking up the phone or walking to a co-worker’s desk for a quick conversation.
If you need to share information pertaining to a particular task, try using a team communication tool such as Slack, which helps users organise projects. That way, you won’t lose important information in threads of emails spanning months.
If a scheduled meeting is a short catch-up, make it a standing meeting. If it is to be a more intensive meeting, keep the guest list as small as practicable. The more people who attend a meeting, the more people will need time to speak, and the longer it will take to make decisions and come to a conclusion.
Where possible, use technology to hold socially distanced meetings to save time that would otherwise be spent driving and parking. Zoom has gained prominence recently, but Google Teams is another great option.
Time wasters like Twitter and Facebook should be avoided during the work day - unless they are essential to what you do. It’s far too easy to start scrolling and lose half an hour. That’s money wasted. Save social media browsing for your breaks, which you should be taking every 90 minutes to keep your mind alert. When you take a break, make sure you get some fresh air and move your body.
If you can’t be trusted to shut down the smartphone and get to work, try one of the many apps (such as Offtime, Freedom and AppBlock) that will block social media, games and texts for a set period of time, leaving you free to concentrate on work. These include Offtime