How to Work Smarter, Not Harder
TIME IS MONEY:
HOW TO WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER
Article by Cinthia Singleton
Photo Credit: Sajas Minrah
Magazine: Issue #34
Work smarter not harder. All business mavens are taught this. As single proprietors… sigh… the pressure’s always on to put pedal to the metal and PERFORM. It’s impossible to do everything and yet they think they must, from parking valet to Communications Director to CEO.
Their business is theirs and theirs only.
Only they can possibly care that much about it, its success.
So much is at stake if it does not flourish or, hopefully not, fails.
The single proprietor is juggling so much, they often can’t see this “smarter” if it were to come up and bite them. Sound like you? Relax and slow down that clown car! There is only one of you and only so many hours in the day. Plan for it. Seek methods to attain the best possible work flow. Do the best you can. Learn from what does and doesn’t work. Make choices about how you spend your time. Delegate tasks when you can. Plan for that too. And don’t forget… time IS money and and it’s finite too. This is what needs to “work smarter” actually, acceptance of this as credo.
Start by keeping closer track of your time.
Tax preparation for example… It’s something you can do, don’t really like to but you feel, as many, that if one can, they should. It’s like tax preparation machismo (lol). Are all the receipts and invoices in one place and properly filed? Got all data, the correct forms? Procrastinate for days on end? Of course! Sit down and procrastinate some more 'til… it’s… finally… done. Proper supporting documents and forms attached? Is it signed? You do this quarterly, annually… it’s a rabbit hole of anxiety for many. The IRS says the average small business taxpayer spends approximately 24 hours on tax preparation. You? Isn’t your time worth implementing a few things to shave off some time from a task you don’t really enjoy?
1| Use a credit card for only business expenses.
2| Get a business software that pulls all your info into one place throughout the year so reports can be pulled easily. Income. Expenses. Quarterly taxes paid. Link it and that business expense credit card.
3| Consider getting a qualified tax preparer so all you do is hand off to them the information from #2 and look over the final return before signing off.
These steps could save you several hours.
Streamline. Organize. Break projects down into the sum of the parts. Delegate. Same goes for designing the webpage, editing an article, painting your office… Delegating tasks - large and small, portions of them or as a whole - buys time that can be thrown into new, ‘growth’ projects that earn.
A Time-is-Money Mindfulness Exercise to perform.
1| Give yourself a hypothetical hourly wage as if you were just another employee at You Yourself and You LLC. For discussion purposes here, let’s say it’s $10/hr.
2| Begin tracking your tasks. How much time is spent on each? Track them in 15 minute blocks.
3| At the end of the day or week, add up the similar tasks and calculate your “wage” for each of them. 2 hours a week for, say, invoicing at $10/hr is $20/week, and over a year about $1000.
So maybe during crunch time part-time help can be part of Team You Yourself and You; it frees you up to work on a presentation, for example. Where is your time most valuable? At the $10/hr invoicing assignment or pitching a new client?
In time, this ‘bought time’ can be used to help you re-boot your creative mind, provide it a clean canvas. Time - such a commodity and yet it’s not traded on the NASDAQ. Lunch out of the office. A design class. Maybe an hour consult with an expert in your field. Put it on the calendar so it becomes an event. Events aren’t found on the treadmill of work, Work, WORK. Numbers there in black and white, see how a “time penny” saved could truly add up to money earned?
So much smarter; work THAT.