10 time management tips to improve your business – could accountancy software be part of your solution to being time poor?

10 time management tips to improve your business – could accountancy software be part of your solution to being time poor?

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It’s always a juggle with time, isn’t it; there never seems to be enough of it!  I’m a firm believer in having lists and prioritising tasks but sometimes other jobs need to be done first and then the plans go out of the window!

Time management becomes a constant battle as you try to juggle work and your home life, especially if you work from home. Of course, even more so now as so many of us are doing just that!  The competing priorities of work life and family life are constantly vying for your attention and the thought of being able to better plan and manage your day seems like a dream.

There is another way! With some simple changes to your day, you can make time management a vital part of your life… and you will soon benefit from the changes.

In my book ‘Your Business Your Numbers’ I mention a survey I sent out to clients:

Every respondent … stated that time management was one of their biggest weaknesses and also named it as one of the main factors holding them back. Maybe it’s one of yours too?

It’s something I hear regularly in my business mentoring sessions, so it is highly likely that you would like to improve your time management.

Follow these 10 tips and you will soon be finding extra hours in your week.

Why is time management so important?

We have all heard about time management and you have probably know that it is good for efficiency, but why is it so important for a good work life balance?

Time management:

  • Makes you more effective
  • Lowers your stress
  • Helps you to focus

 

I am sure that each of these benefits would have a big impact in your life!

Time Management

How do you spend your time?

The first step in improving your time management is to assess how you spend your time from day to day.

Think about how you spend your time both at work and outside it.  When you start being honest with yourself and jot down everything that takes up part of your working day, the results can be surprising. For me, I can easily waste time by looking at emails too regularly. One of the best things I did for my efficiency and my sanity was to turn off my email notifications!

Some clients have admitted to constantly being distracted by the lure of social media. Let’s face it, the popularity of social media platforms has grown because they use tricks to keep us hooked. That ping of a new notification gives us a rush of dopamine, a feel-good chemical, which can get us addicted to our phones. So, it will be no surprise to you when I tell you that turning off notifications on your phone is a big step towards taking some of your time back.

Another way you can be wasting those precious hours is by doing something else – anything else – to avoid doing what you should be doing. In an office, this could be chatting to colleagues or making yet another cup of coffee. Working from home, the distractions can be greater as you are surrounded by those household tasks or your to-do list, making it more difficult to ignore. (However, there are definite time benefits to working from home as you can use your commuting time more effectively by getting on with things!)

Does any of this seem familiar?

Whether or not you waste a lot of time in your day (you may be pretty good at ignoring your phone when working!), it’s essential to get a system in place to manage your time more effectively both at home and at work.  After all, who wouldn’t want a bit more time in their day?

The first step to understanding how you spend your time is to keep a time log so you know exactly where you’re wasting those precious minutes and hours. This may seem a bit over the top but unless you record everything you won’t see where your time is being lost.     

It’s also beneficial to break these hours down into:

  • Working
  • Travelling to work
  • Administration
  • Housework
  • Family duties
  • Shopping
  • Social media
  • Watching TV
  • Caring for someone

 

Review your time log at the end of the week. Where have you been spending too much time? When have you been your most efficient? This will give you more focus and clarity on how to achieve success.  You will notice where you are wasting time and the first step to addressing it is to notice it.

Have a distraction radar – Where is your time being wasted and can you do anything about it?

Start taking time management seriously. Prepare your plan by prioritising your ‘to-do’ tasks and decide the best time of day for you to work on them.  You might be someone who prefers to start work early or you may prefer to work later in the day.  Personally, if I can crack on first thing in the morning, that works best for me.

There may be certain tasks which you get through quickly when you are fresh in the morning but take you twice as long if you try to complete them in the afternoon. Or you may be more alert by the afternoon. Get to know and understand the way you work.

By planning ahead, you use your available hours in a more efficient way as you will be working at your optimum time.

Once you start, make sure you stick to your time management plan – it’s easy to lose control and focus if you are responding to emails and phone calls instead of working to your plan.

How to better manage your time

Now you know where you spend your time and have a plan of priorities, start thinking about how you can better manage your time.

Here are 10 ways in which you can better manage your time:

  1. plan ahead more, which will save you time in the long run
  2. get to know and understand when in the day you are best at certain tasks
  3. avoid procrastination and distrubance by ensuring a tidy workspace where you can remove yourself from distractions at home or work – this may involve letting colleagues, family or friends know when you shouldn’t be distracted
  4. get the whole family or colleagues involved rather than trying to do everything yourself
  5. afford to pay someone to help you
  6. only go on social media at certain times of the day
  7. have a weekly plan for meals so you only need to go shopping once a week
  8. use apps to help you with budgeting. There are plenty of them out there! Maybe use Xero or Quickbooks.
  9. Use a diary management system such as Calendly
  10. Look at your emails less frequently and prioritise their importance.

 

These are just 10 ideas to start you off. You may already be doing some of them. There are so many other ways you can find more time in your working day – how amazing would that be?

Get creative in your thinking and you will soon find you have so much more time to do the things you love to do.

I love this Dr Seuss quote!

How did it get so late so soon?”

It frequently feels like this, doesn’t it? Trying to balance work and home life.  By identifying areas that are eating up your time unnecessarily, you will soon find more hours in the day to concentrate on what is important.

Time Management

How using accountancy software can save you time

One way in which you can save time in your business is by using accountancy software. There are many reasons why.

  1. Rather than manually entering information you can email or upload pictures of documents.
  2. Accounting software has built in compliance measures so you’ll know everything is up to date and compliant, you won’t need to spend time checking.
  3. Bank feeds can be used so you don’t need to wait for the bank statements to arrive and rules can be set up so the items are easy to match.
  4. Reconciliation of bank transactions is quicker and there is less human error. I remember when I was first working at Feltons in Birmingham and we had to manually tick up and reconcile the bank. Easy to make errors and spend time looking for differences!
  5. The information on the accounting system is easier to keep up to date and because of this you’re more likely to enter and check items at least weekly.
  6. The information can be used to produce a draft profit and loss and balance sheet so you always have an idea of how your business is doing.
  7. It’s easier to chase customers and send statements and therefore you not only save time but also improve your cashflow.
  8. Budgeting is facilitated as you can see more easily your expected income and expenditure.
  9. You can give access to your team, enabling them to go in and find the information they need rather than asking you. This will mean you spend less time passing the information on.
Accounting Software

Change your mindset

I was speaking to someone recently about the Surviving Bereavement group I’ve set up. When I was wondering how I could give time to something that is close to my heart as well as run my own business, I said I would need to plan ahead so that I can fit it in. My friend reassured me by saying, ‘Don’t worry; they’ll always be enough time.’

I think with time, in the same way as money, it’s important not to go down the scarcity mindset. If you want to fit something in, then you will and you won’t worry about it! However, you can always make it easier by following these tips!

Take a deep breath and think about how you can manage your time better.  You will soon see the benefits.

Anna Goodwin @2024 All Rights Reserved.

www.annagoodwinaccountancy.co.uk