Flying solo: 5 top time management tips for sole traders

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One-person businesses know better than anyone the critical nature of making every minute count. Because let’s face it – every facet of running the business falls squarely on your shoulders, and no one else’s writes Invoice2Go founder, Chris Strode.

While moving faster to get it all done may seem like the answer, it rarely is. It’s natural to want to move as quickly as possible, but the reality is, if you don’t have a way to manage your time around priorities, you’ll never stop feeling behind and stressed. By managing your time right, you can stress less, and get more done. Here are some simple ways to take more control over your time:

Practice relentless prioritization

Start each day by assessing your priorities, and picking out the top three activities that will drive the best outcomes for your business. Maybe it’s finding new customers, updating your portfolio. Put those tasks at the top of your list, and dedicate your most productive hours to them. Be relentless about it, because everything else can wait. That way, when your day is done, you know you made progress in the areas that matter most.

Block out windows of time

Now that you’ve prioritised your to-dos, actually block time on your calendar to get them done. The goal here isn’t to make you feel locked into a rigid schedule, but instead to maximise the efficiency of your workday. Map out specific windows of time to focus on your top 3 tasks for the day, and be strict about sticking to them. Use smaller blocks of time to address the rest of your day’s activities. Don’t forget to schedule downtime for yourself too. It may sound silly to schedule time for exercise or meditation, but avoiding burnout is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your business.

Accept that multitasking is a myth

Being the ultimate multi-tasker may seem like the highest productivity goal, but the truth is that attempting to do more than one task at a time is oversold. What really happens is that no task gets your full focus, and you lose time each time you make a shift. Not only can taking on too much at once be detrimental to your workflow, but it can also cause you to miss important details. Instead, master the ability to give a job your undivided attention. Handling each task with your full focus will ensure that you do a thorough job of it. Your productivity will increase.

Delegate Tasks That You Don’t Personally Have to Do

What can you offload? Think about which business activities you can afford to outsource. With so many online platforms like Upwork and AirTasker, you might be surprised how easy it is to find help. Jobs like blog writing, social media updates, and bookkeeping can often be successfully offloaded to a freelancer or virtual assistant. If you don’t personally have to do a specific task, clear out some time in your schedule by delegating those out. This will free up some space to take on the really important things, like finding new customers and getting the actual job done.

Technology is a Big Time-Saver

There’s a host of powerful tech tools available to small business owners that are designed to save you time. You can find inexpensive apps for your smartphone that do everything from tracking your time, to scanning and saving important documents. Invoicing apps can take care of your billing, expenses, and payment collection to save you the time usually spent on admin. It pays to get a little savvy with handy apps and helpful programs.

One-man-band businesses can certainly feel like a 24-hour gig at times, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With just a few time-management steps, you can make sure that you’re running your small business instead of feeling like your business is running you.

 

 

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Chris Strode
Chris Strode is the founder of Invoice2go, the mobile platform that enables small businesses to easily manage their invoicing, expenses and operations. As a small business owner, Chris founded Invoice2go in 2002 out of frustration with the lack of simple invoicing options available.

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