As a business owner, time is your No. 1 most valuable resource. Unfortunately, not everyone values time like you do. Whether it’s a relative who can’t seem to understand why you’re so busy, to a customer who can’t appreciate the concept of limits, people will take as much time as you’re willing to give them, and then some more. It's up to you to defend your time and save your business.
How can you control and protect this valuable and non-renewable resource? It’s always possible to make more money, but time is finite. Here are some tips for holding onto the time you have.
Time awareness/time budgeting
Take a stopwatch and set it for a minute. Now sit perfectly still and observe. A minute has real weight. The more you can become aware of time, the better you will be able to manage it.
Time your routine activities around the office to get an idea of how long tasks actually take. Then when you have a few minutes downtime, you’ll know what activities you can fit in. The more you time and structure your tasks, the more productive you’ll become. Just as with money, we often don’t appreciate how small chunks add up until we start keeping track of them.
Schedule your time with people
It can seem awkward, but scheduling time with people can help you stay on track and not overspend time you don’t have. The other caveat is to truly be present. Whether it’s an outing with family, a meeting with employees, or a conversation with a customer, people will be satisfied with shorter chunks of time if you give them what is even a much rarer resource: attention.
Beware of email
Many people check their email many times a day. It’s tempting, especially when you’re expecting some news, but when you spend your time checking email, you let other people dictate your agenda. It’s really another huge time drain and productivity killer without any meaningful ROI.
Check your email no more than a few times per day. Direct people to call or text you with more urgent matters. If you need to be super responsive via email to a partner or clients, set up a separate email account and use that.
Pick up the phone
Make a resolution to pick up the phone and have brief conversations more often. This is a great way to save a lot of time, especially when there is any uncertainty. Miscommunication across asynchronous communication platforms like email or even text can set off a chain of events, leading to poor decisions, extra costs and endless backtracking.
When there is any doubt, jump on a call and you’ll save yourself time and aggravation.
Schedule quiet time
Everyone needs quiet space to work, focus and plan. Set aside time each day to work uninterrupted. Whether you are working from home, a coworking space or a traditional office, you have to make space for yourself and enforce it. People will absent-mindedly continue old behaviors of interruption until you make the boundary absolutely clear.
Delegate/automate low value work
It’s easy to let time slip away, or to spend it doing things that don’t have a lot of value. There are many tasks that can be automated or outsourced to marketplaces. As a business owner, it’s natural to want to do things yourself, but if you want to grow, you’ll have to learn to delegate.
Implement the right technology
Sometimes, people are reluctant to implement solutions that save time, especially if they involve technology. Many businesses are still scheduling using manual methods, or using legacy programs to budget and track expenses. Finding the right tools can save you time, money and allow you to refocus your resources on planning for the future.
Just as you expect your money to deliver a return, analyze how you are spending your time, and whether it is paying you back. Cut out activities that don’t deliver any meaningful return
Digital transformation is changing everything, and SMB’s that want to grow in the difficult days will have to master time to keep ahead. At Spoke, we’ve created an application that can turn your smartphone into a small business phone system for just a few bucks a month. It can save you both time and money.
Spoke was designed for small businesses. It’s easy to install and easy to use. In just three minutes you can turn your mobile phone into a business line with all the functionality of an enterprise-class phone system.
Our smart directory keeps track of all your business calls and supports your company with features like an AI receptionist, easy call transfer, and group calling. You can add as many or as few phones as you need. Check out our no risk free trial to see how Spoke can help your small business grow.