As a business owner you wear several hats, and to be effective, you need to be time-savvy and task efficient. Here are a few time-saving techniques successful business owners use:
Harness your natural rhythms.
Do you notice that you have more energy in the mornings, or that you’re most creative late at night? Whenever possible, take advantage of these natural energy cycles. For instance, if you’re more energetic in the morning, schedule key tasks such as client meetings, brainstorming sessions or long-range planning then.
Choose One Scheduling System and Stick With It.
Having your task list and appointments written down in multiple places creates confusion. Instead, choose one electronic calendar you can access anywhere, such as iCal, Outlook or Google Calendar, and put all your commitments there.
Make Appointments With Yourself.
Too often important tasks, like strategic planning, get pushed aside by more urgent tasks, like dealing with a customer crisis.
- Schedule time into your calendar to work on long-term issues in your business and treat this time as you would an appointment with your biggest customer.
- Be sure to block out time for exercise and adequate rest.
- Schedule 15-minute cushions between appointments to buffer your productivity by accounting for unforeseen interruptions.
Get a Grip on Email.
Strategic scheduling also applies to email:
- Try checking your email just three times a day—in the morning, before lunch and in the late afternoon.
- Train your team to eliminate unnecessary emails and avoid “reply all.”
- Schedule time to close your door and turn off sound alerts on your computer so you don’t get distracted every time a new email arrives.
Pare Down and Delegate.
Limit holding meetings to only when necessary. Start on time and keep them as brief as possible. (Holding meetings standing up can encourage brevity.)
Review the number of organizations you participate in weekly and monthly and keep only those that you actively engage in.
Identify which tasks only you can perform, then train your employees to take over the rest. You may have to invest a little time upfront for training, but once delegated you will save you time in the long run.