As you’ve certainly heard before, the smartest business owners work on their businesses rather than in them. Unfortunately, most of us have that flipped. We spend the vast majority of our time and resources carrying out the hundreds of little tasks that keep our businesses afloat, when we should really be operating at a strategic and visionary level.
Let this be the year that you finally heed the advice of great entrepreneurs and spend less time working in your business. And that means figuring out how you can save time, improve efficiency, and reallocate your energy to more important things.
How to be Smarter With Your Time
Spending less time working in your business requires a strategic approach. And while you might actually see a brief increase in the amount of time you spend working, your commitment to implementing the following tips will ultimately yield benefits.
1. Block Your Schedule
Instead of dividing your schedule into small 30-60-minute slivers, consider blocking your schedule off into massive chunks.
For example, schedule six hours worth of meetings on Monday morning, then use the entire afternoon to answer emails. Then on Tuesday, you might take an entire day to develop marketing content, followed by a five-hour block on Wednesday where you train your staff.
Time blocking prevents you from having to switch gears as often, which saves energy and makes you more efficient. Give it a try! (Some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs have been doing it for years.)
2. Delegate and Empower
When most entrepreneurs first start a business, they begin by doing everything on their own. From the small details to the big picture strategy, everything falls underneath the founder’s umbrella of responsibility. But as a company grows, it becomes impractical to continue doing everything. Save time by delegating tasks that don’t constitute your best and highest use of time.
Is it difficult to give up control? Yes. But it’s necessary in order to free you up to focus on the tasks that you’re skilled at and/or passionate about.
“Sure, I could spend time cleaning toilets to save money because I know how to do that. But is that the best use of my time? Of course not; I’d rather pay someone to do that so I can focus on activities that generate more fruits of my labor,” serial entrepreneur Joe Johnson writes. “In the same way, for every minute I am dealing with a day-to-day operations issue, it’s a minute that I’m not dealing with getting the business ready for the next level.”
Delegate tasks that don’t require your input and empower people to own them. While there will certainly be times when it backfires, a long-term investment in delegation will make your business much more scalable in the future.
3. Streamline Administrative Tasks
Sales, customer service, product innovation…these are all tasks that you should never feel bad about handling. But there’s no reason to waste your time with administrative tasks – particularly the repetitive ones.
Focus on ways to streamline administrative tasks and you’ll save hundreds of hours per year. Automating payroll services is a great example. With payroll software, you can take a step back and stop wasting time with tax filings, W-2 and 1099 filings, direct deposits, wage garnishments, withholdings, etc. Instead, you can spend that time nurturing and training your staff to perform at their best.
4. Reduce Meeting Frequency
Inc.com suggests that 99 percent of all meetings are a complete waste of money, time, and energy. And who could disagree?
Want to save time – both for yourself and your staff? Eliminate pointless meetings and make the rest more efficient. In fact, we recommend trying the 50/50 challenge, where you eliminate 50 percent of all weekly meetings and then cut the remaining meetings in half. Thus if your company normally has 30 hour-long meetings per week, the goal is to cut that back to 15 half-hour meetings.
Make More Time for the Things You Love
When you spend less time working in your business, you create more space in your schedule to tackle the things that you truly care about. Whether that’s working on your business, spending time with your family, pursuing a hobby, or launching a new venture or side hustle, you finally get the freedom to live and work on your terms. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want when we start a business?