Time is a precious commodity; we all wish it would slow down or hurry up and we wish we had more of it. You may be surprised to know that nothing drastic has to change in your life to give you more time in your day. Just 5 simple tips will have an untold influence on how much time you get back in your day.
Following these 5 simple tips in my business saved me on average 4 hours per week AND I'm working less and being more productive because of these tips.
1. Embrace Technology
There have been some mind boggling advances in technology, even in the last year. In my business, I do a lot of file sharing and collaboration with clients. At first, collaboration between my clients and I was done via email - back and forwards we would go, and it started to get confusing and time consuming. So, I embraced 2 technologies in this case: Asana and Google Docs. At commencement of a project/ task, I open Asana, create a new project, give my client access and set up step by step the tasks to be done, assign as necessary and add deadlines. Questions and comments are also made through Asana. Then comes Google Docs. I give my client access, and they can pop in whenever they like and see how things are going. Before embracing these technologies, I wasted on average 2.5 hours week collating and sending progress reports and answering queries. Now, that time is next to nil. Yep! I save on average 2.5 hours a week, just by embracing 2 technologies!
2. Automate Processes
This one is somewhat tied to the first tip, but we can take it a little further, and even make it more basic. For example, I tend to get the same questions asked over and over "What are your services?", "How much do you charge?", "What's your availability?" I took some time to collate these Frequently Asked Questions, and put the answers on my website, and I direct them to my website. For my availability, I signed up to a free Online Booking System, so I send the link to my calendar for people to see my availability for themselves. These are BASIC automation processes, but they have saved me untold amounts of time. Imagine how much time you can save if you automate your largest, most time consuming process.
3. Schedule your time
This one is important, as it not only saves you time, but keeps you productive, not just busy, because Busyness is the enemy of Productivity. Create themes for each day. For me, Mondays are Dreaming Days - I think about where my business is going, then document what I need to do to get there. Wednesday is Blogging Day and so on. Flitting between tasks not only wastes time, but it creates a false feeling of productivity.
Busyness is the Enemy of Productivity - Tweet that!
4. Stop the distractions
The most common distractions are email and social media notifications. Lifehacker reports that after a distraction, no matter how small, it takes on average 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back on task. If you receive 10 notifications in a day, how much time are you losing in Productivity? Inbox Pause is an amazing tool to manage email. Gmail users, can download it, here. It works by pausing emails from entering your Inbox; when you are ready, un-pause and TADA! They transfer to your inbox. You can even set it so the new emails enter your inbox on a schedule rather than one overwhelming wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am moment. So, stop the common distractions and enjoy more productivity time.
5. Optimise Meetings
People view meetings differently. Some view them as the best way to be productive, and others sit there for the hour wondering why they are there. If you've been invited to a meeting, ask for an Agenda. If you are hosting a meeting, see if you can squeeze it into 30 minutes - you'll be surprised that most times you can. 3 x 1 hour meetings a week optimised into 3 x 30 minute meetings? Time Saving of 1.5hours.