It’s a pain point felt by many small business owners. With an ever-growing to do list, how can you get everything done without staying logged on until gone midnight? It can sometimes feel like the days are flying by with little time to get everything done. One research study found that small business owners in the UK work an average of 2,366 hours per year compared to 1,950 for an average UK employee1.
While you can’t make the days any longer, there are ways that you could make your workday more efficient.
A study in 2018 revealed that the average SME employee attends 207 meetings per year of which 139 (67%) are a waste of time by not achieving the goal set2. The sudden rise in virtual meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic may have added to this. According to one survey, 96.3% of UK workers were having up to four virtual meetings a day, with each of these lasting around an hour3. This could be proving costly to your business due to time wasted which could otherwise have been spent on more productive tasks.
While a certain number of meetings or calls may be necessary within your business, it could be possible to cut down the number of meetings, particularly if they’re not proving to be useful or productive. One way that this can be achieved is to review the meetings that you’re currently having. Are there any that could be made more efficient by being made shorter? Or perhaps cut out altogether?
Another method that can help make meetings more efficient is to circulate an agenda at least 24 hours in advance which includes any required reading that might come in useful during the meeting. That way, the team will have plenty of time to prepare for the meeting and can think about the points that they’d like to make. This could also help people to identify whether they need to attend the meeting or not, as they’d be able to see from the agenda whether they would find it useful or have something to contribute.
You could also assign somebody to the role of timekeeper within each meeting to ensure that the agenda points and timings are adhered to, and that the meeting finishes on time.
According to one study, business leaders spend 6.8 hours per week on low value business activities.4 While it can be difficult to let go of some aspects of the business if you’re used to managing everything yourself, it can be hugely beneficial to delegate low value business activities and admin where possible. This can help to make your workday more efficient by freeing up your time to concentrate on the more high value business activities.
Start by reviewing your to do list and highlighting the tasks that you definitely need to have involvement in/manage yourself. Then highlight the tasks where you’d like to have involvement but perhaps don’t need to manage yourself. Then look at the tasks that you don’t need to have involvement or input in. You could start by delegating these tasks to someone else in your team, moving onto the tasks that you’d like to have input in but don’t need to manage yourself when you feel more comfortable with delegation.