As a business leader, your time is a valuable but often scarce resource. Running a business is a challenge, and time is money. And while you can’t buy more time, you can make the most of the time you have.
Read on to learn some essential hacks that will help free you up for more important business leadership tasks.
Plan your day and eat your frog
When you get to work, it’s tempting to dive right in. But such an approach often means important tasks get left by the wayside in favor of other less important but easier tasks.
Plan your day before you start working. Use the aforementioned to-do list and allocate an hour or so to each task as required.
Be strict with yourself and stick to your allotted time slots. This stops you from dithering on a task and ensures you focus on the job at hand. Use a time management technique like Pomodoro to help you stay centered.
You’ve probably heard of the phrase “eat your frog first”. This is the idea that by doing the most important but unpleasant task first, you are free to focus on other less important but more engaging activities. Plan your day and eat your frog first, and the rest of your day will go by much smoother.
Lean on tools and tech to streamline processes
There is a myriad of daily tasks that businesses need to process. HR, finance, logistics, and so on are all necessary tasks that require time to complete. But many of these business daily tasks can be automated or streamlined with tech.
Take your human resources, for example. HR is an essential but demanding task for small and growing businesses, but one that can benefit from tech applications too.
CakeHR, for instance, is an affordable and intuitive human resources tool that provides a centralized database for employee information, document management, annual leave self-service, timesheets, and more. No expertise is required, so it’s perfect for bootstrapping entrepreneurs.
Your payroll can benefit from streamlining with technology too. Paying your employees each month and ensuring they are taxed appropriately is a necessary but time-consuming task, especially if you’re a time-strapped entrepreneur with a growing team. By using free online payroll software such as Wave to manage your accounts, you can coordinate your monthly staff payments in a single place and at the touch of a button.
The benefit of these tools and tech is that they are cloud-based. This means you don’t have to worry about hardware issues and that your employees can access them from wherever they are — perfect for remote workers.
Plus, many tools offer scalable pricing plans that grow with your business, so you’ll rarely have to scramble around to find a new solution as your enterprise expands.
Prioritize wisely and delegate where possible
As a business leader, your to-do list is as long as your arm. Consequently, when it comes to prioritization, choosing what tasks are most pressing can be a challenge. But prioritization is a necessity, especially if you’re time-poor.
Effective prioritization requires a ruthless attitude. Only complete those tasks that will directly and immediately impact your business. If another stakeholder can wait an extra few days but is getting persistent, be firm and tell them they will have to wait.
It’s also worth embracing delegation. You have a strong team beneath you who are more than able to carry out the tasks you need to be completed.
Of course, this requires an immense amount of trust on your part. If you’ve built your business from the ground up, handing over the reins to someone else can be a daunting prospect.
But if you employed them, then they clearly have the requisite skills and experience to complete your task to your satisfaction. Trust your team and give them the opportunity to help the business by playing to their strengths.
Make the most of your calendar
Every effective business leader has a calendar to plan and organize their time. As well as helping you stay on top of your day, it also shows your staff and clients when you’re contactable.
Keep an online centralized calendar and sync it across your devices. Google Calendar is a popular and easy-to-use solution, but find whatever works for you.
Create reminders and appointments for every meeting or task you have to do — this ensures people don’t contact you when they can see you’re in the middle of something.
In the same vein, give your employees and clients the option to set a meeting with you without contacting you. Self-service appointment scheduling tools like Calendly let people book a slot with you without you needing to organize your calendar yourself.
Give yourself some offline time
We live in an always-on world. With our smartphones offering 24/7 internet access, we live at the beck and call of our notifications. Whenever our phone pings, we automatically reach for it, regardless of what we’re doing at the time.
This means we’re often glued to our email inboxes while we should be focusing on other, more pressing tasks. As a result, we leave work unfinished or completed to a poor standard.
Turn off your push notifications. Instead of checking your inbox every time an email comes in, allocate a specific amount of time per day for checking your messages. As well as letting you focus on other tasks throughout the day, you can also give emails your full attention when they arrive.
Let your employees and clients know when you’re available online — an automatic out-of-office email is good for this. Ensure that if someone urgently needs you, they only contact you with urgent issues outside of this time.
In the world of business, time is money. It’s as valuable an asset as your staff and finances, so it’s important to treat it as such. Plan your day carefully, be ruthless with your prioritization, and learn the power of delegation. And of course, don’t forget to always eat your frogs.