How to declutter your business and save time

- May 3, 2024 2 MIN READ


There’s nothing more frustrating than spending too much time scouring your emails for a document or file. In fact, many small business owners tell us that they feel overwhelmed by the volume of communication they receive every day – from emails, chats, and social media to calls and texts. So what can you do about it? asks Elise Balsillie, Head of Thryv Australia.

Sound familiar? It could be time to take steps to declutter your business.

We know that getting back time to help you focus on growing your business is one of the keys to success. Over one third of Australian business owners say they want to spend more time doing what they’re passionate about within their business, rather than sifting through administrative tasks – which begs the question – how can you save time?

In short: by looking at solutions that help make running your small business simpler, from better inbox management to paperless solutions and automation tools.

Here are my top four time-saving tips

Clean up and declutter your inbox

Right off the bat, it’s essential to reorganise and declutter your inbox. You need to ensure that you don’t lose important customer emails amid a sea of spam and promotional messages.

To regain control of your inbox, start unsubscribing from newsletters and mailing lists that are piling up.

To make this task more manageable and less overwhelming, consider breaking it down into a daily or weekly goal and tackling a handful of senders at a time.

Committing to unsubscribing from just one or even a couple of lists each day will quickly make a significant difference.

Go paperless

If you’re relying on paper to store client records, file bills and print important documents, going digital will mean you have less paper to store, which saves you space and time in trying to find things on your desk.

A quick way to cut down on paper, is to sign up for paperless billing and email notifications from credit cards, banks and utility companies. A CRM can also better take care of your client records, and electronic payment processing systems can avoid lost paper estimates, invoices and receipts.

Implement the 2-minute rule

Another good practice I stand by, is implementing the 2-minute rule. If you can quickly write an email or answer a customer’s question in under two minutes, do it immediately.

You want to avoid postponing easy requests. They can quickly turn into a time-consuming inbox overload. By handling short tasks immediately, you ensure that your inbox remains clutter-free and focused on essential messages. This makes it easier to prioritise and tackle more complex tasks when needed.

If a 2-minute response isn’t sufficient, rather than allowing the requests to remain in your inbox, you can mark emails as important or pin them to revisit when you have more time and can focus.

Consolidate your inboxes with digital communication tools

A wide array of digital workplace tools can enhance communication, collaboration, and productivity for businesses, with the choice of tools often depending on the specific needs of the business.

It’s essential to have an efficient system for keeping track of all these inboxes. Digital tools can help with:

  • Email: Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo, iCloud and IMAP
  • Social Media: Facebook Messenger and Instagram Messenger
  • Calls and SMS: Calls, text and video chats
  • Website:  Webchats

So, if you’re looking for ways to boost productivity and efficiency in your business, decluttering is a great place to start.

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