As a busy entrepreneur, you know how important it is to make the most efficient use of the 24 hours in each day. If you own a small business or start-up you are more than likely wearing several different hats and juggling many roles, all of which require lots of precious time out of your day. And truth is, you probably don’t have many hours to spare.
We want to help you create a little more room in your busy schedule, to make your days go a little more smoothly. That’s why today, we are going over a few of our favorite time-saving hacks for busy entrepreneurs, like you!
Schedule Social Media Posts
Creating and maintaining a social media presence for your brand is an absolute must in nearly any industry! You should be posting at least once a day on your social media platforms. If you are too busy to do this yourself then a great option is to schedule your posts using platform approved tools. (*Tools that have been approved by platforms like Instagram, Facebook etc).
Log out & Disable notifications
The back and forth between social media, emails, and work can cut back on productivity. If you are busy with deadlines or important tasks you need to stay on task and cut out unnecessary distractions. Consider turning off notifications (on your computer and phone) and closing out tabs on your computer that you aren’t currently using. Stay focused and get things done quicker by removing the unnecessary distractions things like text alerts, emails or social media notifications. You can come back to those items when you are done with the rest!
Add a link to FAQ’s
Have you noticed that some customer inquiries are similar and that you are sending the same response often? Create an FAQ (frequently asked questions) page that makes it easy for customers to find answers to common questions. Place the link in a prominent place on your website and consider adding a link in your email signature as well (or in automated emails, you may use). Encourage inquirers to take a look at the FAQs before sending an email. Making the answer to customers questions easily available will cut back on emails and save you tons of valuable time!
Utilize canned responses
Another way to cut back on time spent writing a new message each time someone inquires about something (i.e: your services, updates on shipping & tracking, product ingredients etc), consider utilizing canned responses.
Canned responses (easily found in Gmail) will allow you to save email templates and add them directly into an email with the click of a mouse. Check out this link to find out how you can enable canned responses. If you are not using Gmail and the option is not available for you via your current email program, then you can save the information on a document on your desktop. Canned responses can save you a lot of time tackling your inbox!
Make emails short and concise
Long emails take up lots of precious time to read and respond to. Make it a goal to write short, concise emails in order to save time on your end and respect the time of the person on the receiving end. Focus on direct outcomes and be clear about the next steps that need to be taken, what you need from the other person, questions you have, etc. Don’t beat around the bush; get to the point.
Set up quick meetings/phone calls
If you find that you are in an email chain that is going back and forth without any resolution you should just give the person a quick call or schedule a meeting. Talking often takes much less time than typing and it cuts back on time spent waiting for responses and/or resolutions to the matter.
Set time limits on meetings
We have all had meetings that end up running way longer than we anticipated! When you do not clarify (to staff, customers etc) the start and end time of a meeting you may be setting yourself up for disaster. When setting up meetings, be clear! Don’t just say the meeting is at 4:00 pm, make sure you clearly schedule it for 4:00 to 4:30 pm (if it is a 30-minute meeting, for example). Set expectations for the person on the other end in order to be cautious of your time and respect their schedule, too.
Set Meeting points of discussion
Be clear about what needs to be tackled in any meeting you set in order to stay focused and keep the meeting within the time limit you set. Outline the purpose of the meeting and stay on subject. Consider sending meeting talking points via email beforehand, this way both you and the other person will stay on topic and make the most out of the time you have scheduled together.
Schedule calls during travel times
Use the time in your commute to and from the office or meetings to make necessary phone calls (that don’t require things like going over documents etc). Making use of your drive time to take care of business will free up your schedule and make travel time pass by more quickly.
Create a content calendar
Set aside time each week or month to come up with a list of things like blog topics and social media posts and schedule them into a content calendar. Knowing what to expect prevents scrambling around last-minute. A little bit of scheduling can go a long way and cut back on wasted time.
Utilize time blocking
It’s hard to get tasks done if you don’t plan time in your schedule to tackle them, so create time limits for your to-do’s by time blocking. If you need to tackle an out of control inbox, make sure to set aside an hour (or whatever time you feel you may need) and make a goal to get your “new messages” in your inbox to 0 by the time the hour’s up. If you’re working on a project for a client, set aside the necessary time (i.e: 2 hours) during your workday to crank it out.
Use time blocking to schedule blocks of time to conquer important tasks instead of procrastinating. Not only does this help you stay on track, but it also puts some good pressure on you to beat the clock and get things done.
Conquer your least favorite task first
The more we procrastinate to put off the less-appealing to-do’s, the harder they are to check off the list. It ends up wasting time in the long run and delaying the inevitable. Tackle your least favorite tasks first. You’ll end up having a less burdensome workday as a result.
Keep a to-do list
By keeping a list of every task that needs to get done, you prevent important details from slipping through the tracks. Seeing everything at a glance also helps you set priorities and plan for to-do’s within your schedule. Crossing off tasks as you complete them will also help you feel accomplished and motivated at the end of the day.
Remember, you only have 24 hours in a day to get things done (and you need to sleep, too!) Free up time in your schedule by delegating tasks and outsource a few things to other people. If you do not have employees you can delegate these tasks to, consider using agencies like Fancy Hands or UpWork to find virtual assistants on an as-needed basis. Consider delegating the tasks that take the most time and could be completed by anyone. Focus your time and energy on the things that bring in an income and grow your business.
Do you have a favorite time-saving hack that we have not mentioned? Let us know in the comments below.