On Sunday, March 10, at 2 am, daylight saving time begins. We all “lose” an hour in the day when we switch our clocks ahead and many will feel the effects as their sleep is temporarily disrupted. That got me thinking about other time stealers and is it possible to add time back to one’s day or at least make it feel that way?
I work on a daily basis with small business owners, most of whom do not have excess time in their days. Often, they play multiple roles for their business. They are salesmen, marketers, financiers, and customer service representatives all rolled into one. There are only 24 hours in a day and small business owners need to maximize every one of those hours by finding efficiencies wherever they can.
Here are three tips I’ve learned on how they have successfully “created time.”
Create a To-Do list
Make a list of all the things you want to get done and then prioritize accordingly. That way, if you get pulled in another direction for a bit, you can easily get back on track and ensure your top priority items get done and don’t fall off the radar.
Automate whenever possible
Billing, reporting, marketing, online ordering, inventory, etc. Depending on the nature of your business automating any one of these operations can add precious time back into your day. Start by taking a look at what processes consume the largest amount of your time. Is there is a way to automate part or all of the process? There are both free and fee-based tools that can help you in numerous areas.
Leverage your peers and community
Make sure you network with other business owners, locally and online… you can get new ideas, learn what works and what doesn’t work for them, and most importantly, maybe they can save you time from going down a path they already went down and help you avoid pitfalls.
While it’s not possible to add more hours in the day, you can maximize your time by using it wisely.
The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.
– Stephen R. Covey