01 August 2013

10 ways to stop wasting time

When you’re running your own business, it is common to feel like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

By using your time more efficiently, you will find you become more productive, which in turn will boost your company’s profits. While many people running start-ups and small businesses find themselves working all hours of the day and night, it is often possible to get more done in less time.

Here are our top 10 time management tips

  1. Don’t try to multi-taskIf you try and do too many things at once, you will end up making time-consuming mistakes. Concentrate on one task at a time and do it well, before moving onto the next thing on your task list.
  2. Don’t make meetings too comfortable. Try and keep meetings short and to-the-point, as they can be big time-wasters. Some managers even resort to removing chairs from meeting rooms so decisions are made quickly and efficiently, although this may be a little drastic for many businesses!
  3. Keep a to-do list. Write a to-do list and cross off each job as you do it to keep organised. Make sure you put it somewhere you can see it. Writing a list on a whiteboard on the wall of your office is more effective than typing one in a document on your computer, which can be easily ignored.
  4. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Find out what time of the day you feel most energetic and productive and arrange your work around that to take advantage of when you will be most efficient.
  5. Force yourself to tackle the tricky tasks. If there is a time-consuming job you are dreading and keep putting off, commit yourself to spending an hour working on it. Promise yourself you will be able to stop at the end of the hour, so long as you spend the whole 60 minutes on the task. You will probably find you manage to achieve quite a lot and that it wasn’t as bad as you feared. You may even find you want to go on and complete the job once your hour is over.
  6. Set deadlines. Even if a job doesn’t have an official deadline, make your own and stick to it. If you lack in self-motivation, arrange a meeting or phone call with your client or colleague so you have to get the work done in time.
  7. Don’t watch your email.It is easy to waste large amounts of time constantly monitoring your emails instead of getting things done. Set aside two periods of time – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – which you will devote to checking and responding to emails. That way, you can give them your full attention, and you won’t keep breaking off from other tasks to look at your inbox.
  8. Set yourself daily goals. Each day set yourself a series of goals you want to achieve. Break down large goals into small, achievable steps and give yourself a timescale to achieve them in.
  9. Organise your office space. If your workspace is untidy and disorganised, you will find it harder to focus on the job in hand. Making sure your office is tidy, with all your information organised in a logical way will save you more time than you took clearing up the mess in the first place.
  10. Work while you travel. Make sure you have your laptop and smartphone with you so you can get work done while you are on the move. This is particularly useful if you are travelling by train, but there may also be moments when you could get things done in your car while you are away from the office.