7 Ways Business Owners Can Save 40-Plus Hours Every Month
There are only so many hours in the day. Here's how to get some of them back.
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Entrepreneurs wear many hats and are constantly pulled in different directions -- often simultaneously. From leading your team and managing the budget, to coming up with creative ideas, there's a lot on your plate. And getting it all done requires more than just a strategic balancing act.
Related: The Surprisingly Simple Productivity Time Saver
Time is money, after all, when you're running a business, and you can't afford to waste it. In his book First Things First, Stephen Covey, (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People), wrote, "The key is in not spending time, but in investing it."
According to GetVoip, one in five people waste a third of their workday. If you're one of them, that's a lot of time that could be spent running your business. To be successful and ensure your business runs smoothly, you need to be as productive as possible.
But, if you're like most business owners, you're probably spending more time than you need to on some things and not enough on others. To help you get your priorities in order, here is a list of the seven things you need to stop doing to get back the time you need in your day.
1. Stop saying yes to everything.
According to successful investor Warren Buffet, "The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say "no' to almost everything." When running a business or leading a team, you'll find it easy to take on more than you can handle. But it's important to recognize when you're in over your head and call for reinforcements.
Related: 6 Essential Time Savers for Overworked Young Entrepreneurs
Instead of saying "yes" to doing something, delegate tasks to your team members or an assistant to free up your schedule. Letting other people tackle these tasks will allow you to focus on bigger issues.
2. Stop multitasking.
According to Wrike, experts estimate that only 2 percent of the population is actually proficient at multitasking, so chances are, you're not one of them. Multitasking can make you feel that you're getting a lot done, but it actually has the opposite effect.
Entrepreneur Jim Rohn famously said, "Don't mistake movement for achievement. It's easy to get faked out by being busy. The question is: Busy doing what?"
Switching between tasks can cost as much as 40 percent of your time, according to Wrike. Instead, focus on doing one task at a time and shut out all distractions while you do it.
3. Stop sitting in endless meetings.
When you're a business leader, your schedule is typically full of meetings. But, with so much time dedicated to meetings, are you actually getting anything done? On average, employees spend 31 hours a month in meetings, and 40 percent feel overwhelmed by that number, according to Atlassian.
Consider limiting the time you spend in meetings each week. Set up meetings for projects that need face-to-face discussion, but for all others, stick to email.
4. Stop fueling your social media addiction.
Hubspot reports that one-third of the world's population now uses social media regularly, so it's no wonder that it's found its way into the workplace. But social media can be a black hole of distraction.
Employees spend up to two hours per day recovering from distractions like social media, according to Atlassian. During work hours, avoid getting distracted: Turn off all notifications or put your phone away completely.
If you need to use social media for work, consider automating your posts, with programs like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.
5. Stop paying bills with checks.
Writing out check after check can be exhausting. And when you have bills to pay, there are a lot that need to be written. Instead of manually paying your bills with checks, consider setting up auto-payments. Your bills will be automatically paid on time every month, and you won't have to do a thing.
6. Stop sending pricing quotes as Google Docs.
Price quotes often involve collaborations among legal, leadership, marketing and sales. With so many hands in the pot, it's easy for things to get messy. If you're getting hung up on edits and approvals, it may be time to streamline your process.
Consider investing in quote software, such as PandaDoc. With this kind of system, you'll be able to create, edit and send quotes seamlessly and all within one system. No need for clunky PDF files or Google Docs.
Related: 4 TED Talks to Help You Save Time and Get More Done at Work
7. Stop manually tracking hours and expenses.
Are you still doing your payroll, timekeeping, accounting and other processes by hand? It's time to move into the future. Invest in an online payroll service such as Wagepoint or Gusto to create reports or make payments with just the click of a button. Plus, cloud-based software will ensure that all information is saved in one place and easily accessible.
What are some ways you've been able to save time and be more productive in the office? Share your best strategies in the comments below: