When it comes to running your own business, you need to work smarter, not harder. For many entrepreneurs, the rigorous demands of running a business bleed into every part of their lives. A study by OnDeck found that only 57 percent of small business owners plan a vacation every year and that only 15 percent disconnect from work entirely during that vacation.
Finding ways to free up time and reduce wasted effort are of value to any small business owner. Here’s a look at how you can get back some of your life and improve your efficiency.
Establish a Structured Schedule
Running around and putting out fires is sometimes necessary, but smart entrepreneurs know a schedule helps build a routine that can prevent many problems from getting out of control in the first place. Building a routine helps you address every aspect of your business every day and stops you from wasting your time. The importance of scheduling extends to all aspects of your operation as well, from scheduling employees intelligently to planning for incoming and out going shipments. Don’t run your business from moment to moment. Creating structure helps you find free time once again.
While it might seem like you can create free time by working on multiple tasks at once, the truth is that multitasking costs you time. The Department of Psychology Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carnegie Mellon University found that the brain activity associated with driving a car decreased by 37 percent when the driver was doing something as simple as listening to someone else talk. Fight the urge to try and run your entire operation all at once, and instead spend your time wisely by focusing on one task at a time.
Use Apps and Software
Stop wasting your time doing tasks by hand that can be handled by apps and software. For example, if you are still doing your own accounting, use online accounting software such as Sage One. This tool can simplify your accounting and invoicing with pre-built templates to help you get the job done. By simplifying the most complicated of your paperwork, you can spend more time on your actual job.
Disconnect From Notifications
While it might seem counterintuitive, unplugging yourself from smartphone and email notifications, text messages and other distractions keeps you on task and productive. When you devote uninterrupted time to tasks, you perform better and save time. Set a certain time when employees, clients and other people can contact you and stick to it.
The best way to improve your productivity and buy yourself some free time is to take a look at what you are doing and dissect it for wasted time. Business metrics, like those assembled by Grow, give you the insight you need to see where your efforts are producing the best results and where you need to correct problems. By analyzing your metrics provided by tools like Quickbooks and Google AdWords, you can learn from your mistakes and take back that wasted time.