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Time Saving Tips for the Self Employed

After newly creating the AB Publish website, this is something that has been uppermost in my mind of late. I must confess that I am a quite impatient person and what this tends to mean is that I often go for a seemingly quick solution but also means that I waste time in the long term.

Often in business there are many routine, boring and fiddly jobs and if you are not careful, these can take up all your time meaning there is no time left to develop, improve and expand your business.

This is something on which I have carried out a lot of research and I would like to share with you my findings today.

The secret to dealing with the repetitive time-consuming tasks is to implement processes and systems (including but not necessarily, technological solutions). The realisation of the importance of processes and systems came as a personal disappointment to begin with. I spent years working for large corporations and in the end I seemed to spend more time filling in spreadsheets recording what I was doing and how I was doing it than I did actually doing the job. So when I started my own business, I loved the freedom to do what I wanted, when I wanted and was not restricted in any way by rules and regulations.

This was fine at first but as the business grew, it became clear that this could not continue. I have to develop a strategy that would allow me to work efficiently and therefore take off the odd hour or two from work!

Create processes and document them

For every repetitive job that you do, there is an optimum way of achieving that task. If you approach these small jobs by doing them whenever you remember to do them it makes you hopelessly inefficient. If you have left it too long then it may mean concentrating on a boring task for a long period of time. No matter how self-disciplined you are, you are bound to get distracted and slow down. Planning your processes at the optimum interval and for optimum times of the day (times when you are least likely to be interrupted for example) will break up the tasks into smaller manageable chunks meaning you will always be executing them at maximum speed.

There is another benefit to this kind of planning, it allows you to clear your mind as you no longer worry about the undetermined mountain of work that you have to do. You can relax because you have all your processes in place and that they are fully documented making sure you never miss anything. So it even helps efficiency at other times.

Create systems and document them

This idea complements the idea of following processes. For each planned process, it helps to have a documented system in place to achieve it in the minimum time possible. Take out some time and think about each step of the task. Is there an optimum order in which to carry out the steps? Is there any software or apparatus which would help you automate the task? Would the time and money invested in the system save you much time in the future?

This is really difficult to do at first. Let us say you have a task which normally takes 20 minutes, it might seem inefficient to spend several hours saving time on that task. However, if it is a task that you carry out every day, you would save 36 hours per year if you cut down the time taken to 10 minutes.

Often, the benefits can be much greater than this. So it usually is very worthwhile in investing this time to improve and/or automate your regular tasks.

Documenting the process helps you in the early stages by reminding you of all the correct steps but it could also prove useful as your business expands and you want an employee or partner to take over that task. You have automatically cut down the training time to a fraction of what it could have been.

Fri 29 April 2011 16:24:30

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