Do you feel like you’re nowhere near as productive as you could be? Is your typical day cluttered up with small, irritating and tedious tasks that take way longer than you thought they would? It can be incredibly frustrating to see your day wasting away like that, so perhaps it’s time to look for ways to streamline your tasks and your work day a little bit.
Especially if you’re an entrepreneur, your time is extremely valuable – after all, time is money. That’s why it’s worth looking at some ways to streamline your work day.
The very first thing an entrepreneur needs to learn (and they will learn, but the hard way), is that they can’t do everything. What that means is that you need to start delegating. Sure, not important stuff, but when it comes to small tasks that are not that essential, in the grand scheme of things, don’t insist on doing it all yourself. That’s a one-way street to burning out.
So, let’s see what you can maybe delegate: emails, customer enquiries, general admin and HR work, and very basic tasks that don’t require a lot of skill or preparation. You’ve got employees for a reason; let them help you, so that your valuable time can be maximized and spent in the best way possible.
Use admin software
Of all the tedious tasks that take too much time, admin takes the cake, so the best course of action is to either have someone else do this, or even better – get some tools or software that can take care of these things for you.
Whether you’re in marketing, construction, or carpet cleaning, finding the right software can help you out with routine tasks that are essential, but that take time away from more important things. Scheduling, invoicing, booking, and emailing can all be done online, thus saving you time and money and making the process more efficient for both you and the clients.
Put all your info up online
You will find that a lot of your time ends up wasted with queries from the public, all regarding your business – what you do, what your services are like, what your working hours are, how much you charge, etc. While customer emails and phone calls are important to answer, you can’t let them take up your whole day. That’s why you need to put up all your info online.
Setting up an FAQ page should be your first step, because it cuts down on a lot of the common queries about your business. In addition to that, you can still include an email address or phone number on the website, or you can create a contact form for anyone who has a non-urgent question. That way, customer queries are streamlined and you can get back to them in your own time.
Use productivity & scheduling tools
Especially when you work for yourself, a lot of your time is taken up by the sheer inability to organize your day and your tasks. Setting up a business can be a chaotic process, particularly when you don’t have any help and have a tendency to procrastinate.
That’s where a scheduling or productivity tool can actually help you tremendously. Sometimes, it helps to have an external motivator or external pressure to complete tasks. Even writing things down in your calendar can institute some sort of structure and give you soft deadlines. Visualizing your tasks and their scheduling can also help keep you on track.
Otherwise, it’s a good idea to try out some tried-and-true productivity methods, like Personal Kanban, or Pomodoro. It’s all about figuring out what works for you and what motivates you and then applying that to the way you work, for the most efficient work day and the best results.
Use task management platforms/tools
Some of the tools that help you the most with efficiency are task management tools and platforms. Especially if you’re in charge of multiple employees or several moving parts within the same bigger project, you will need a clear, easy way to keep track of what everyone is doing.
Task management platforms, used in conjunction with collaboration platforms, can really cut down on the amount of time wasted making sure everyone is on the same page. There is no need for multiple meetings every day or dozens of phone calls, emails, and memos – all the information everyone needs is readily available.
Trello, Pipefy or Asana are just a few of the most popular task management platforms that allow you to assign tasks, create deadlines, and move tasks around, depending on where they are in the process: to be done, doing, completed, etc. They’re also big life-savers if everyone is working remotely.
Be picky about hiring
If you’re serious about building your business and being able to streamline and delegate, then you need to first invest some time and effort into your hiring process. It all starts with capable employees, that will be able to do the job responsibly and without needing to be micromanaged.
So, when you’re hiring, you need to pay attention to a few key qualities that you’ll want to see in your employees: are they professional? Are they skilled? Are they self-starters? Are they problem-solvers? Are they eager and able to learn? As long as your people are quality workers, you’ll be able to train them to take over all kinds of tasks, of lesser or greater importance.
Going even further, if you need expertise in a certain field that you do not have, or they are tasks that take a lot of time and effort for you, then the easiest and most cost-effective thing to do is hire an expert. For example, it’s much more efficient to hire a social media expert than to spend time doing it yourself. That way, you ensure you’re getting a quality service that won’t cost you more to fix in the long-run.
A typical work day can get pretty busy, and before you know it, you’ve lost most of your productive hours doing bits that don’t really amount to anything. It’s time to streamline your work day, in order to maximize your working hours and make that time count for what you really want to do. It all comes down to a little organization, learning to delegate, and using the right tools and software that can help you automate and speed up everyday processes as much as possible.