Being a business owner is great when you get to set your own schedule, but not when it’s taking all of your time. Here’s some tips on how you can lighten the load if you feel you’re stuck working 24/7. The main factor to consider is how much of your time is spent productively, and how much is spent in front of a screen.
First, from a hardware and software perspective, how much time is spent actually doing work, vs waiting in front of a screen? Consider that your time might be worth more than the cost it’ll take to upgrade your setup – if you’re spending too much time waiting for things to load. How often do you use the Alt-Tab function on your computer? If you have to compare between two open windows often, consider that most people report 30-40% gains in productivity with an extra monitor. Or, if your screen is wide enough, try placing both open windows side by side.
Aside from that, it might be useful also to not do things twice – for example, if you can type fast, you wouldn’t need to take down notes as paper first, then retype them in soft copy. Here’s how to type without looking at the keyboard: the F and J keys are usually raised, put your left and right index finger on them, and the rest of your fingers should follow naturally. That will speed up your typing considerably. Alternatively, perhaps you should use a tool like Otter.ai to dictate out things into text.
In the long run, if your work seems to involve a lot of data entry, perhaps you should consider hiring a virtual assistant to assist with tasks or have a full time employee in your office to take it over – as a business owner, your time is precious, and you should consider how much your time is worth – especially if you can calculate your cost per hour (how much you can make for your business doing other things). You shouldn’t be spending too much time on data entry, when say, you could make 10X more for the company doing sales calls / business development.
Avoid back and forth on setting meeting times by using a tool like Calendly, where you can list out available meeting spots. You can also cut down on time spent in meetings (whether Zoom or in real life), through requesting information clearly. Always ask yourself – can this meeting be an e-mail instead? In some cases it can’t, but it can still be streamlined through an e-mail. Example: if you’re hiring, request that candidates prepare a video CV so that you can get a good idea of their communication skills to shortlist them.
And, if you’re waking up too early, and spending too long working and feeling exhausted, consider which time zone are most of your clients in? Would it make sense to keep waking up early if you’re staying up late to serve clients on US time? You might be more productive when your clients are awake too.
Consider also switching to more productive or easier to use versions of your apps (for example, MYOB for accounting is a lot harder to use, than say, Xero or Quickbooks). And for project management, Notion.so is one of the best tools out there that allows for lots of rich content displayed in the app itself (less attachments needed). If you’re wondering how your current software stacks up, sites like AlternativeTo.net will also help you find the software you need, and you can compare it by putting in the name of your current software and it will suggest alternatives.
Consider also spending less time on unproductive apps – Screen Time on iPhone will also help you see which apps you spend most of your time on, and if you spend more time on Facebook than Whatsapp, (and you don’t work in social media for instance), that could be a sign that you’re slacking off on the job, browsing social media instead of replying to clients.
Lastly, from a managerial perspective – are you learning to delegate enough? Training your team to grow vs doing it yourself is something you should seriously consider, as you’re already the boss, and if you don’t train those under you, how is the company to grow? Consider internal discussions with employees, team mates and your partners, and see which tasks they are keen to pick up on from you. You will begin to identify which tasks you can delegate well, and this will lighten your load considerably.