Does your business spend thousands of hours per year on pointless, low-returning tasks? Are there certain processes that could be handled more efficiently by someone or something else? It may be time to think more strategically about how you’re growing your business. Here are several useful techniques:
1. Outsource Whenever Possible
It’s important that you understand the value of your time. This includes your personal time, as well as your employees’ time. This allows you to make smart decisions about when to outsource.
For example, let’s say you pay your IT staff $65 an hour, but you learn that you can outsource IT management to a partner company like Invision for an average of $50 an hour. Why wouldn’t you? Not only does this save you money, but it frees up time. You can either reallocate your time savings to other tasks or downsize your staff.
2. Automate Repetitive Tasks
If something can’t be outsourced, it’s possible that you can just automate it in-house. It seems like there’s an application for almost anything. The challenge isn’t whether you can automate something – it’s selecting the right tool for your tech stack. Common tasks that can be automated include:
- Social media posting
- Competitive research
- Website traffic and analytics
- Event registration
- Customer support
- Email responding
- Invoice reminders
- Receipts and expense tracking
- Paying bills
- Backing up files
- Scheduling appointments
- Recruiting employees
This is just a small sample size. The truth is that almost anything can be automated when you’re willing to invest the energy to find the appropriate solution.
3. Master the Art of Delegation
Can’t outsource or automate? Try delegating anything that someone else can do. (Hint: 99 percent of the tasks on your plate can be done by someone else.)
To make delegation easy, create standard operating procedures (SOPs) for every process you do. This is a written/recorded step-by-step outline that shows how the process is completed from start to finish.
4. Focus on the 80/20 Rule
If you believe in the 80/20 rule, you know that 80 percent of your results are generated from 20 percent of your efforts. Your goal, as a business owner, should be to focus on the 20 percent. Everything else can be systemized. Theoretically, adopting this approach will free up several hours per day. This time can either be reallocated to other tasks or turned into free time for better work-life balance.
5. Eliminate Distractions
Distractions are everywhere around us. The question is, do you know what your biggest distractions are? If you’ve never taken inventory of the distractions in your life, now is the time. Common ones include social media, email, smartphones, TV/Netflix, and YouTube. It doesn’t matter what they are – just be honest with yourself.
Once you’ve made a list of the distractions that zap your time and productivity, you need to block them out. While quitting bad habits cold turkey sounds great in theory, this may not be practical. Instead, we suggest limiting the amount of time you spend on them. For example, if email is a huge distraction, you might set aside two 30-minute windows in your daily schedule that are dedicated to checking email. Outside of these windows, you log out of email and turn off notifications.
6. Inject Purpose Into Every Day
There should never be a day when you walk into the office and think to yourself, “What should I do first?” Every single work day should be carefully scripted before you arrive. In fact, you might want to take a page out of the book of other successful entrepreneurs and map out your day the night before.
At the end of each evening, before you head to bed, pull out your notebook and write down the three biggest achievements from the day and the three most important tasks (MITs) for the following day. This gives you clarity from the moment you wake up (and prevents wasted time).
Enjoy the Best of Both Worlds
As a business owner, you’re constantly fighting between revenue and time. And if you’re like most of your peers, it feels like you have to choose one or the other. In other words, you have to (a) work insane hours to generate insane revenue or (b) sacrifice revenue in order to enjoy free time. But as this article shows, there are several practical things you can do to continue maximizing revenue while also preserving your free time. Now it’s time to go implement!