How to make your workday more efficient

29 April 2019

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 in the office until gone midnight? It can sometimes feel like the days are flying by with little time to get everything done. A recent 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.

Prioritise meetings

One study 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. 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 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.

Delegation

According to one study, business leaders spend 6.8 hours per week on low value business activities3. 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.

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Time management

It may sound like an obvious point, but effective time management can be one of the best ways to make your workday more efficient. Everybody has their own time management strategy for managing their day in the best way, so it’s important to find out what works best for you. Whether that’s writing out a to-do list each morning, or blocking out time slots in your schedule in order to work on specific tasks. 

There are a number of apps and websites available that can help with organisation, productivity and time management including Asana and Trello. If you’re used to more traditional methods of time management, it may be beneficial to trial a few different apps to see if there’s one that works particularly well for you.

Another time management tip is to make a note of the amount of time that you spend on each task throughout the day. This could help you identify which activities are taking up a lot of your time and whether there are any tasks that could be delegated in order to free up more of your time to concentrate on the higher priority work.

Give yourself a break

When you’re busy at work, it can be tempting to work non-stop to try and get as much done as possible. However, it’s important to take regular breaks throughout the day to give yourself a chance to refresh and refocus. Lunch breaks can be a great time to get out of the office for a rest from the stresses of work. However, a recent survey by AXA PPP healthcare found that 40% of small business owners work through their lunch, with 17% saying that they rarely step away from their work for small breaks4.

If you’re able to, try to get some fresh air outside during your lunch break. This can help you to feel more energised and productive when you return to the office.

How we can help

When you own a small business, time and resource can be limited. If you or a member of your team has to take time off work due to ill health, it can have a big impact on your business. Our small business health insurance aims to get you and your team back to work quickly through prompt access to diagnosis and treatment. You can be seen quickly at a time and place that suits you, meaning you don’t have to worry about being placed on a waiting list in order to receive treatment.

Find out more about our small business healthcare cover, including what we do and don’t cover or get a quote today.

Sources and references

1Business Matters Magazine, 2019

2Small Business, 2018

3Inc.com, 2018

4Online survey of 500 UK business owners undertaken for AXA PPP healthcare by OnePoll (2018).

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