If time was a saleable commodity, small business owners would be among the first in the queue. With long to-do lists and even longer lists of goals, Australia’s small business operators are desperately time-poor.
Finding extra time in each day isn’t as difficult as it may seem – just take it from big business operators. Using these valuable time-saving tricks, staff at major brands enjoy more productivity and less stress.
Account for time
Understanding where your time is going is the first step in conquering time-wasting activities, says Dirk Van Lammeren, small business general manager at Australia Post.
“Keep track of the things you are spending time on and be honest with yourself about where you can improve this to be more efficient”, he says.
“Consider using an online time management tool to get a really accurate snapshot.”
Find your most productive time
Whether it’s first thing in the morning or last thing at night, identify your most productive time of the day and exploit it. Chairman and founder of Anytime Fitness Justin McDonell recommends an early start.
“Set your alarm and wake up early”, he says.
“I always workout before I start the day or check emails. Getting your workout done early clears your mind for the day.”
Make and manage lists
To-do lists should be used by anyone ploughing through a multitude of tasks. The secret to using them successfully lies in the way these tasks are updated, prioritised and time allocated.
“Capture any actions as they arise and jot them down on sticky notes as you go, send yourself an email or maintain a running list on your device”, Van Lammeren says.
“Review this list at the end of each day to make sure you’ve finished the important stuff.”
Turn off your new email notification alerts. They are disruptive and interrupt your focus.
Rule your email
Email can be one of the worst time thieves, but only if you allow it to get out of control. Ensure you rule your email and don’t let it rule you, says McDonell.
“Turn off your new email notification alerts. They are disruptive and interrupt your focus”, he says.
Build a team you trust
The benefits of a smart, reliable team are countless. One of them is the ability to share the load.
Make a huge effort to hire and retain staff you know you can count on, Van Lammeren says.
“As you grow, surround yourself with people you can trust and delegate when you can”, he says.
Kate Jones writes for the business and money sections of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. She also writes for The New Daily, TAC, RMIT and is a news writing tutor at Monash University.