You started a small business for a variety of reasons: you wanted to be your own boss, you get to finally do what you are interested in or excel at, you can work from anywhere, and so on. What you probably didn’t do it for was to work more hours, but the reality is running your own business in an efficient and smooth manner is a full time job any way you spin it.But there are ways around maxing yourself out. UK expert, author, and business consultant Robert Craven says one of the main reasons people work more hours when running their own business is simply due to inefficiency.
Whether unintentionally or not, many of us don’t work as efficiently as possible some or even most of the time. Some owners mistakenly believe that working long hours is the key to success, when they should be working smarter not longer.
So what are the ways to work smarter and not longer?
- Focus on your business needs. Don’t get bogged down with menial tasks or clerical work. Avoid social media that relates your business unless it is on company time. You’d be surprised how much of your time is absorbed through a few minutes here and there.
- Remain in control. Don’t let other tasks or issues get in the way of doing your job. Do not procrastinate, and never be afraid to delegate jobs to outside resources. Trying to do much at once (and micromanaging) can lead to inefficiency.
- Stop wasting time. Start keeping yourself on a schedule, maintain a time journal for a week and document your work activity. Visualizing where you are losing and gaining time will help you to work faster. Structure your work day like any employee and leave it at that. If you have to, create a to-do list and stick to it (just don’t make it an impossible list, keep it succinct and concise).
- Create more sustainable habits. Working smarter means that you keep to what you intended and politely decline non-work related affairs. Check your email on a schedule, maintain office hours for meetings with other employees, avoid unnecessary meetings and exchanges that zap your time.
- And finally, as efficiency and time management expert Cory Cook advises, “If better time management enables you to get just 10 per cent more work done each day, that can make a big difference to your business – and perhaps mean you don’t need to work so many hours too.”
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