So much to do, so little time. “I have a meeting, but I need more time to get my work done. And what about planning for the future? There’s never much time for that.” For some small-business owners, feeling overwhelmed is the norm. That can make it difficult to grow your business, but don’t get caught up. There’s a better way. Here are five easy timesavers for business owners looking to achieve major growth in 2017.
1. Take Notes
You know, like you did in school. Make a daily priority list for yourself. Tackle the most time-sensitive items first, and then check things off as you go. Give some added weight to important things that aren’t time-sensitive, but that improve your business for the long haul. Most importantly, finish one thing at a time. This allows you to focus on the task at hand without being distracted all day long.
2. Resist Email Distractions
Choose certain times during the day to check your email and then make sure to respond right away. Often, business owners answer the same types of questions repeatedly, so consider making a template for your standard responses. This can save you time by just filling in the blank. And now that you’ve scheduled times for emails, they won’t be able to steal your attention perpetually, freeing you up to think about the most important things for your business each day.
3. Structure Meetings
Meetings are a great way to collaborate and keep business running smoothly, but if they are not structured well, they can also burn up a lot of time. The best time to plan a meeting is when you decide to set one. Define the purpose of the meeting, outline a brief agenda and establish a start and stop time. All this information can be shared with the people you invite. That will help set expectations and participants will come more prepared for the agenda. In the meeting, hold to the agenda and the time, and try to curb excess chatter. If more discussion topics arise, you can suggest another future meeting.
4. De-Clutter your Mind and Workspace
If you carry a million thoughts around in your mind you’ll drive yourself crazy and you’ll probably lose sleep. Unload your important thoughts and to-dos in a planner or notes page both personally and professionally. Keeping your desk and office neat also helps ease your mind. Clutter is not good for productivity.
5. Clear Your Plate — Delegate!
Hire people you trust, then let them be. Avoid the temptation to micromanage and do everything yourself. Scan your priority list to see if it makes sense to delegate anything. And consider outsourcing work that can be done by outside specialists. They probably have skills, processes and even technology that can save you time and money in the long run.
At the end of the day, your best use of time is to focus on your customer and the future of your business. After all, no one benefits when the company isn’t running smoothly — and the buck stops with you. Let a PEO help. A professional employer organization (PEO) can take care of your HR back-office for things like payroll, taxes and wage garnishments, unemployment, workers’ comp and employee benefits. They can also guide you through employee relations matters to help you avoid the risk of non-compliance with employment laws. They can even help you establish a solid safety program, and assist with HR policies and procedures. Using one often costs you less than doing things yourself, and you have experts doing the work for you.