Time is money, so they say. This is especially true for the self-employed and freelancers. But you can save time and money by outsourcing, using trackers and tools, and having dedicated email hours during the day.
Here are some tips to help.
These time-savings tips should apply to any worker. But, these should be especially valuable for small business owners, freelancers and the self-employed.
On average, we spend nearly one-third of our working lives dealing with our inbox. Email can really eat up your time.
So don’t keep yours open all day and don’t send any more email than you need to. And please don’t hit Reply All unless it’s totally necessary – sending email just creates even more.
If you’re struggling to organise yourself, use apps. Google Calendar can help get your life in order. If your files aren’t easily accessible when you’re out of the office, try Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. Trello and Evernote can also keep you organised.
If you drive regularly for business, MileIQ will automatically log your business mileage.
Email marketing can save you a lot of time when it comes to prospecting and landing clients. You can build an email list quickly with a low-cost option such as MailChimp. You can keep your marketing list organised and also integrate with forms processors and customer-relationship management software (CRM).
Research tells us that using more than one monitor can increase your productivity by almost half. Connect up your laptop or tablet to a second monitor and away you go. Remember though, having more space also means more room for distractions.
Log on to Facebook or Twitter and suddenly half the day has gone. What starts out as an attempt to update your business accounts can quickly lead to rabbit holes. Who doesn’t like seeing how your old flatmate wound up on the Geordie Shore?
Use a free app such as Hootsuite to pre-schedule posts on your social media channels. Tools like this can also alert you to important messages from customers or potential customers.
What’s on your to-do list for this week? What can you put off until next week? Don’t make it up as you go along. Nobody ever got anywhere without measurable goals. You’ll be less panicked and less likely to hop from task to task.
You should also stick to the 2-Minute Rule. If a task will take less than two minutes, do it right away. This is a good way to prune your to-do list and to reduce your procrastination.
When you’re self-employed, it’s so tempting to do everything yourself. That’s especially true when the task is an expensive one. But your time is valuable. If you’re not doing something that creates revenue, you’re effectively losing money.
Imagine you tried to save money by learning a new skill that took two days. How much money could you have generated in those two days while you paid someone to do it in a few hours?
Of course, if that new skill can help you down the road, it could make sense to learn it. You have to determine where the right balance is.
Meetings are occasionally important but, more often than not, they’re not absolutely necessary. Sitting in a meeting isn’t driving any revenue unless you’re being paid for your time. Is it really necessary to be there in person? Why sit in a jam on the M25 car park when you could be talking over Skype?
Sometimes you need to establish a relationship with a promising new client. That’s when you should bite the bullet and get together for tea and biscuits.
When you’re self-employed, you’ll look at a lot of documents. You won’t have a hope of reading them all. So learn to scan. Pick out relevant keywords to decide if a document is worth delving into more deeply.
In summary, try to resist operating in panic mode. Plan, use apps, take regular breaks and really value your time. With all that extra time you save, you may even want to call your mum once in a while.