By Jeff Ryan, MD for AWCape, a Platinum Sage business partner for HR, payroll and financial solutions
Have you said this phrase: “I wish I had more hours in the day” today?
Let’s face it: the world of work is fast and it doesn’t stop. And finding extra hours in the day can feel like an impossible task.
However, by implementing strategic approaches and making smart choices, you can reclaim precious time and increase productivity.
Here’s five effective strategies to put more hours back into your day, allowing you to focus on what truly matters.
1..Automate, Automate, Automate
Automation is the key to efficiency and time-saving. Embrace technological solutions, especially cloud-based HR, payroll, and finance software. These tools streamline administrative tasks, reducing manual effort and eliminating human error. By automating routine processes, you free up valuable time for more important activities, such as strategic decision-making and professional growth.
Interestingly, each year, searching for paper documents results in the loss of 16 working days, and employees waste over 21 days per year performing repetitive or menial activities at the workplace.
Automation does not necessarily mean chatting with data scientists and process specialists; it can be as easy as using an app like Calendly to allow others to see open slots in your diary and schedule time with you. This automates your calendar management – and for those working with people in other organisations (like consultants), this can create massive time savings.
2.Embrace the Power of Collaboration
Recognise that you can’t do it all. Identify tasks that can be delegated and consider outsourcing them. Whether it’s hiring freelancers, virtual assistants, or specialised service providers, outsourcing allows you to focus on core responsibilities while entrusting non-essential tasks to competent professionals. Outsourcing not only saves time but also brings expertise and fresh perspectives to your business.
The question for outsourcing should always be: “Is this a core function that differentiates my business?” If not, outsourcing or delegation may be a good option allowing you to focus on your core functions.
According to Deloitte’s survey, 65% of companies and businesses said that outsourcing services enable them to focus on their core functions, while 63% reduced their expenses.
3.Break Free from Analysis Paralysis
Not every decision requires excessive analysis and deliberation. By adopting a more pragmatic approach, you can reduce decision-making time significantly. Differentiate between critical decisions that impact your business’s long-term success and routine choices that can be made swiftly. Agile organisations fail fast and have immediate feedback cycles to adjust.
Practice effective decision-making by gathering essential information, setting clear objectives, and trusting your instincts. Overthinking can consume valuable hours that could be better utilised elsewhere.
4.Create a Company Culture that Inspires
A motivated and engaged team is crucial for a productive work environment. However, fostering employee engagement doesn’t have to be a time-consuming endeavour. Start by building a positive company culture that values open communication, recognition, and work-life balance.
Encourage team members to take ownership of their work and empower them to make decisions independently. By nurturing a supportive and inclusive environment, you create a self-sustaining system where employees are motivated, engaged, and require less micromanagement.
Most importantly, leaders must live the values. Actions speak much louder than words – as provided in the welcome pack.
5.Find Hidden Gems in Your To-Do List
We all have tasks we dread, but combining them with enjoyable activities can make them more bearable. Create a to-do list that incorporates both essential but unpleasant tasks and also activities you genuinely enjoy.
For example, if you dislike responding to emails, pair it with listening to your favourite podcast or taking a short walk. By bundling these tasks, you not only complete them efficiently but also find small moments of pleasure in the process.
Also, look for quick wins. Success and completion of tasks generate endorphins and energy. This is a great way to make a daunting list more bearable and achieved quicker.
Reclaiming your time and putting more hours back into your day is possible. Small changes can have a significant impact. Prioritise what truly matters, and you’ll discover the hidden hours that can be used to achieve your goals and lead a more fulfilling life.
Remember doing nothing new (1365 = 1) BUT changing 1% a day (1.01)365 = 38 i.e. 38 times better.