5 easy ways to create more time for yourself in your business
“Time is money” is a famous quote, often attributed to US statesman Benjamin Franklin.
No doubt Franklin used this philosophy to the maximum in his lifetime. His impressive CV could have him described as a politician, inventor, scientist, writer, publisher, and even philosopher.
As a business owner, you know that time is undoubtedly money.
Time is your most valuable resource. If you’re using it effectively, your time is your ticket to creating and growing a successful business that ultimately generates wealth.
However, while it’s incredibly valuable, it’s also finite. Demands on your time come from everywhere across the business, and it can be easy to waste it when there’s so much to do.
That’s why it’s key to find ways to cut away the unnecessary activities from your day-to-day, allowing you to focus your time on growing the business and making it work for you.
Here are five simple but effective ways to create time for yourself in your business.
1. Tackle dreaded tasks first
You undoubtedly know that feeling of dread when you have a task that you simply don’t want to complete because it’s going to be arduous, time-consuming, and probably boring.
It’s a common reaction throughout the business world to put tasks like these off for as long as possible. Instead, you’ll end up procrastinating or scrolling through your inbox, carrying out activities that don’t really add value to the business.
In reality, the best way to approach these tasks is to take them on first. Getting these tasks out of the way means you can better focus your time on the things that matter.
Clearing these tasks early also prevents them from hanging around until they become problematic. You may suddenly find yourself scrabbling around, needing to complete a difficult job with self-inflicted time constraints.
Avoid this situation by getting it done and moving on to the areas where your time is most valuable.
2. Block your time for certain tasks
A great way to save time is to block out specific windows in your diary to complete certain tasks.
C. Northcote Parkinson famously noted in a 1955 essay in the Economist that work often expands to fill the time we leave for it.
So, by creating blocks in your diary in which you have to complete work, you’ll refine your focus and force yourself to be efficient and productive.
Blocking out time also forces you to prioritise tasks that need completing. This can help to build a schedule that means the most important work gets done first.
3. Learn to delegate
Arguably the hardest thing to do as a business owner is to hand control over to your members of staff. But, learning to delegate can pay dividends, freeing up your time to do the things that actually create value for you.
It’s no doubt tricky to relinquish control, especially as you likely built your business from the ground up. This can make it feel necessary to be hands-on with everything that happens within the company.
If this is the case for you, start by delegating smaller tasks and then work your way up.
For example, you could ask someone to monitor your email inbox for you, asking them to only notify you of the emails that are urgent or require your attention specifically.
Or you could take the time to teach a member of staff how to complete one of your regular tasks. At first, you could oversee this to make sure they’re getting it right, and then ultimately leave them to it, safe in the knowledge that they can do it to your standards.
Once you’ve learned to delegate a couple of tasks like this, you can slowly build up to handing over bigger and more important parts of your routine, too.
4. Miss meetings you don’t need to be in
Meetings can be a huge drain on your time, and some of them simply won’t be relevant to you at all.
It’s true that you need to be informed about what’s going on in your business on a day-to-day basis.
But sometimes, these meetings will be on topics that don’t matter to you. Even if you were to attend, it may not actually be useful in informing the tasks that you need to carry out as a director.
When you receive a meeting invitation, ask yourself: do you need to know the information discussed in this meeting? Be brutal with your answer to this question each time and you could save yourself hours.
If you truly couldn’t live without knowing what happens in every meeting, ask a member of staff to take minutes and then briefly read these afterwards. While this will still take time, it will likely be quicker than having to attend an entire meeting.
5. Consider using technology
Advancements in technology for businesses mean many processes that once were laborious and time-consuming can now be automated.
So, look at any areas where you could use technology to save time across the business.
This might be using an automated phone system to field customer calls to the right place, or it could be an entire software suite that tracks customer orders without you having to input them manually.
It may require you to do a few hours of research and pay to implement new technology that could help you cut corners. But this short period could save you time – and money – later down the line.