6 Time Saving Tips to Shave Hours off Your Week
When you’re running a small business, literally time is money. Without a salary or a clock to punch, the only time you’re making money is when you’re actually working. Unfortunately, this results in too many small business owners to work extra hours and eventually burn out .
There’s no question that if you want your small business to succeed, one needs to put in the work, but it doesn’t have to be 70 to 80 hours’ worth every week. Follow these tips to squeeze more hours out of your working days and get more efficient in less time.
Your smartphone can let you work on the go, even if you are travelling . There are plenty of timesaving apps for small business owners, and many will also help you automate tasks and keep things organized—saving some time.
Look for apps that cover tasks like bookkeeping, invoicing, appointment scheduling, document sharing much more and you will be surprised by how much time you save.
Don’t Stay Attached to Your Phone
You’ve probably heard the popular time management advice to limit the number of times you check your email in a day.
Your Mobile is your primary business line, limit interactions to calls only and designate a few times a day to go through texts.
Tackle Your To-Do List
To-do lists are a great way to keep you focused and on target. Schedule a short block at the end of the day to go through your list, check off what’s been done, and add remaining tasks for the next day. Do not beat yourself up if you haven’t finished everything. Just move incomplete items to next day.
For the longest time, multitasking was touted as a highly productive strategy for any busy professional. However, studies suggest that most people can’t fully concentrate on more than one task at a time. In fact, the University of London’s Institute of Psychiatry found that when one is drowning in texts, emails and phone calls, their IQ drops ten points.
By concentrating on just one task at a time, you’ll ensure that it’s finished correctly and in time.
Schedule Tough Stuff during Your High Energy Time
Identify your most productive time of the day, and tackle your big, complicated items at that time.
Although it’s tempting to handle the fun, easy things when you’re feeling productive, try to resist. You’ll feel way better and save lot of time when you get through the difficult tasks while you’re operating at full capacity.
Sure You Punch Out Every Day
It’s important that your business day has an actual end – the point where you disconnect completely by shutting off the computer, putting the mobile devices away and just relaxing. While you may have times when quitting isn’t an option, you should attempt to leave the office behind for the day as often as possible. You need to work only if it’s truly an emergency, or move it to the next day’s to-do list.
3 ways to save 10 hours of work per week
Each strategy when applied can easily save you three-plus hours every week as a freelancer:
1. Turn one-time clients into retainers or repeat work.
A great way for how to be more productive with your time is by turning one-time client projects into longer-term retainers or repeat clients.
Keeping your clients for long term will reduce the time you spend marketing your services… plus, the more you work with the same clients, the more efficient you’ll be at their projects because you’ll have such an intimate understanding of their brand and their expectation.
2. Streamline your communication methods.
If you currently have in-person meetings with clients on a weekly basis, try changing it to phone meetings or video conferencing thus reducing your commute time?
Prepare in advance and get clarity on your agreement with a client and you will save lot of time into back-and-forth communicating with each other.
3. Set expectations upfront.
When are you available to respond to client queries? What is your policy for rush jobs, and how short of notice are you willing to make last minute changes to a project? What communication methods should (and shouldn’t) a client use to reach you?
Planning in advance and being clear with your clients about these types of issues can mitigate problems down the line, and, once again, save you—and your clients—from wasting hours.
By doing this, you’ll set boundaries and establish a healthy relationship with your client. And the more you do that, the keener they will be to hire you for retainer projects and/or repeat work.
The Myth of the 8 Hour Workday
The most productive countries in the world do not work 8-9 hours per day. The fact is that most productive countries have the shortest workdays.
People in countries like Luxembourg are working approximately 30 hours per week (approximately 6 hours per day, 5 days per week) and making more money on average than people working longer workweeks and duration. If you’re like most people, you would probably want to make a great income, doing work you love, that also provides lots of flexibility in your schedule.
• Your First Three Hours Will Make or Break You
According to psychologist Ron Friedman, the first three hours of your day are the most precious for maximized productivity.
“Typically, we have a window of about three hours where we’re really, really focused. We’re able to have some strong contributions in terms of planning, in terms of thinking, in terms of speaking well,” Friedman told Harvard Business Review.
This makes sense on several levels. Let’s start with sleep. Research confirms the brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex, is most active and readily creative immediately following a good sleep. Your subconscious mind has been loosely mind-wandering while sleeping, making contextual and temporal connections. So, immediately following a good sleep, your mind is most readily active to do thoughtful work. Your brain is most attuned first thing in the morning, and so are the energy levels. Therefore, the best time to do your best work is during the first three hours of your day.
• Protect Your Mornings
Always, protect your mornings!
I’m blown away by how many people schedule things like meetings first thing in the morning. It’s worse for peak performance and creativity. Schedule all of your meetings for the afternoon, post lunch. Don’t check your social media or email until till at least 3 hours of deep work. Your morning time should be used for output, not input.
If you don’t protect your mornings, tons of things will take up your time. Others will only respect you as much as you respect yourself. Protecting your mornings means you are plainly unreachable during certain hours. Only in case of serious emergency you should be summoned from your focus-cave.
• Mind-Body Connection
What you do outside work is just as significant for your work-productivity as what you do while you’re actually working.
If you want to operate at your highest level, ones need to take a holistic approach to life. You are a system. When you change a part of your system, you simultaneously change the whole. Improve one area of your life; all other areas improve in a righteous cycle. This is the butterfly effect in action and the basis of the book, The Power of Habit, which shows that by integrating one “keystone habit,” like exercise or reading, that the positivity of that one habits ripples into all other areas of your life, eventually transforming your life.
Rather than managing their time, one should really be focused on managing their energy. Your work schedule should be programmed around when you work best, not around social norms and expectations.
• Don’t Forget to Psychologically Detach and Play
Research in several fields has found that recovery from work is a necessity for staying energetic, engaged, and healthy when facing job stress.
“Recovery” is the process of reducing or eliminating physical and psychological strain/stress caused by work.
Proper detachment/recovery from work is essential for physical and psychological health, in addition to engaged and more productive work. Yet, few people do it. Most people are always “available” to respond to email and work. Research has found that people who are psychologically detached from work experience:
• Less work-related fatigue and procrastination
• Far greater engagement at work, which is defined as vigor, dedication, and absorption (i.e., “flow”)
• Greater work-life balance, which directly relates to quality of life
• Greater marital satisfaction
• Greater mental health
When you’re at work, be fully engaged. When it’s time to call it a day, completely detach yourself from work and become absorbed in the other aspects of your life.
If you don’t really detach, you’ll never fully be present or engaged at work or at home. You’ll be under constant pressure, even if minimally. Your sleep will suffer. Your relationships will be suffered. You will not live a happy life.