This is a guest post by Timo Kiander from TimoKiander.com. Timo is a productivity guru and here he shares 7 Time Saving Tips For Entrepreneurs.
As an entrepreneur, your life is pretty hectic at times. Emails are coming in, people are trying to reach you and you have multiple projects going on.
You seem to focus so much on the busy work but what about your business development, when are you going to focus on that?
You may feel that you don’t have any extra time to do that, but think again! With these tips, you can improve your working habits and find more time for your business development efforts.
1. Focus on the hardest tasks first in the morning
One of the biggest reasons for procrastination is avoiding tasks you don’t want to confront. You may feel that the task is difficult to do, you have a challenging decision to make or you have to go outside your comfort zone too much.
Guess what? As long as you avoid facing the annoying task, the longer it is going to remind of itself. And since this is the case, why would you want to extend the annoyance any longer?
Try to tackle these tasks as soon as possible – preferably as a first thing in the morning. If it is a phone call to a client, try to make it as soon as you can. If it is taking care of a matter related to bookkeeping, handle it right away.
If you decide to do it in the afternoon, the bigger chances there are that you are procrastinating on the task. You start making excuses why you should postpone the task. However, when the task is out of your way, this doesn’t occur.
Just get it done in the morning and you don’t have to think about it anymore. Besides, it makes you feel so much better when you get the task off your work list.
2. Turn the e-mail client on later
A small change in your working habits can make a huge difference in your productivity. This small change is when you check your e-mail.
Instead of starting your day by checking e-mail, try to do some tasks you have to do first and then check your e-mail.
There is nothing new in this tip, but sometimes some reminder is in place. It is very easy to get sucked into the e-mail when you start your day. All of a sudden you realize that couple of hours has already passed and you haven’t got anything productive done.
Also, try to figure out the optimum times for managing your e-mail and then handle all your mail at once.
3. Disconnect while you work on your tasks
It is natural that there are distractions when you work. However, you can minimize and schedule the distraction by doing a little planning.
If you work a lot on your computer, then it is essential to turn off any e-mail notifications, close any instant messaging clients and even mute your mobile phone.
If you fail to do this, you may face a situation, that you get bombarded with requests all the time, which you feel obligated to respond – immediately.
Rarely this is the case and you can return the phone calls later, listen to voicemail messages or reply to e-mail messages at once.
If you work at home, it is important to communicate with your family about your working times too. This makes it easier for your family members to understand, that you don’t want to be interrupted (for example you have an online meeting going on or you have a call with a client).
4. Block and plan your time for the important tasks
Another way to get work done is to plan its execution beforehand. If you know that there is something important coming, (for example you are about to have a presentation of your services to a new prospective client), you want to dedicate a time block for preparing for that activity.
Decide the time and date when you want to have this session, mark it in your calendar and when the day and time comes, get to work. When you plan your tasks like this, you can be mentally prepared for them.
Powernaps are short naps – 20 minutes maximum – when you briefly go to sleep, but you wake up refreshed.
If you are tired and try to get some work done, many times the quality of the work may not be the best. You may even have to return to your task and fix parts of it because you weren’t able to concentrate enough. Also, since you are losing your focus, you are spending too much time on simple matters.
However, when you take a powernap, you basically “reset yourself”. Even if you just take a quick nap, you feel like a new person when you wake up.
I have been using this technique for years now and I have seen some unbelievable productivity enhancements after waking up.
Powernaps is a simple, yet an effective way of boosting your productivity and increasing your energy levels.
6. Don’t store everything in your head
One effective way to save time (even if it initially it requires some effort) is to use checklists.
If you are doing something on a recurring basis and you have to make sure that the task gets done the same way every time, checklists come in handy.
Whether it is packing for your next business trip, giving a powerful presentation to your client or creating an online sales letter for your next product, checklists are very powerful for making sure everything essential is included.
Checklists require some initial effort to be created. Sometimes you may find it tedious to write down each and every step that you are doing.
However, once you create one, you are happy that you did. You are not just relying on your memory to make sure that everything is done the right way – you have your checklist as your backup.
Checklists have another benefit: Once you create one, it forms basic steps for someone else to do that in the future (your assistant, virtual or non-virtual).
7. Regulate your training
Education plays a big part in any entrepreneur world. You have to sharpen your saw (improve your skills) all the time and one way to do it is to study and implement new topics and theories.
Although Internet has brought advantages for entrepreneurs, it can also cause overwhelm. Especially when the education part is concerned, there is an infinite amount of supply available.
It is very easy to get hooked to different training products at the same time, which promise huge opportunities and loads of financial success if you participate to it. You may be tempted to join them all.
If this is the situation, then stop for a minute and ask yourself: “Is this education necessary for my business success?” If you feel that you will be learning a new, valuable skill, then go for it. However, if you are not sure or can’t justify your purchase, then it is time to skip the training.
However, if you decide to buy that training, make sure to get the 100% out of it. Study it, test it and take action. That is the only way to master the skill.
Just make sure that you are going through one training at a time. Otherwise you are wasting your money, time and energy by trying to master too many things at once.
Timo Kiander is an online business productivity and time management enthusiast who blogs at http://www.timokiander.com. Visit his blog and grab the free e-book: “101 Tips For Becoming a Productivity Superstar”.