7 Business Time-Saving Tips

by Cathy Miller on March 12, 2012

in Business Communication

 

 

Do you feel like daylight saving time might save daylight, but doesn’t do much for your sleep?

  • At least this time of the year
  • The only thing you want to fall back on is your bed

For those of us who lost that hour of sleep, here are some ideas for saving time in your business activities.

Time-Saving Business Tips

Tip #1 – Organize your space

The time spent organizing has a high return.

  • You’re not distracted by clutter
  • You don’t waste time looking for documents
  • You get rid of outdated material

Tip #2 – Turn off your smartphone

This is a tough one for some people. They ‘d rather cut off an arm.

Turn off your smartphone when you need to concentrate.

  • While working on a deadline
  • During peak working hours (or at least part of the time)

Tip #3 – Create outlines

Want to make quick work of your business communication?  Create an outline.

  • An outline brings focus
  • It gives direction
  • An outline speeds up writing

Tip #4 – Create templates

Do you perform the same task over and over?

Stop reinventing the wheel and create a template.

  • Responses to Frequently Asked Questions
  • Marketing proposals
  • Contracts and invoices

Tip #5 – Have an open calendar while working

How many times do you check your calendar?

  • You check the time for an appointment
  • You create timelines in proposals
  • You are planning your week

It doesn’t matter if you love paper or electronic calendars.

Leave it open on your desk or desktop for quick reference. And since you organized in #1, it’s easy to find.

Tip #6 – Backup your files

If you have ever had the misfortune of a computer crash or lost an important document, you understand pain.

Think about the time spent recovering your files.

  • Backup files regularly and often
  • Use hardware and software tools

Tip #7 – Perfection is boring

I remember being at the office at 10:00 at night with a supervisor who could not release a report. She agonized over every word and punctuation mark.

  • Do not strangle the life out of your editing (and coworkers)
  • It’s okay to let it go

What time-saving tips do you have for your business?

What’s worked best for you?

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

John Soares March 12, 2012 at 9:19 am

Really good advice Cathy. I also strive focus on one thing for a set period of time, usually 30-60 minutes, without letting myself be distracted by anything else. If I didn’t do this, I’d have a very difficult time getting my writing projects done.
John Soares recently posted..Freelance Writer’s Guide to Library ResearchMy Profile

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Cathy March 12, 2012 at 9:24 am

Great tip, John. I do the same thing. I find when you “chunk” it down, you’re more likely to stay focused. At least it works for me.

Thanks fo sharing that, John.

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Big Dan March 12, 2012 at 11:00 am

Cathy – great post. I’ve used each of these techniques in some form or another in the past and can attest to their validity. The best part is that you could write and entire article on each bullet point there! Great stuff.

I’ve also found that, along with #2, disconnecting from the internet can help. I have “Squirrel-syndrome” and tend to go after the new shiny thing. Disconnecting from the world when I need to do something always helps me out.
Big Dan recently posted..Swearing In Front Of My KidsMy Profile

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Ann March 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Cathy, my life isn’t so easy to organize. As I work on one thing, I see that I can use the URL (for example) in other places and to save time, I go add it wherever and then go back to where I started. It’s confusing, but I think I save time. I have ADHD and I use it to do multiple things at once. I do not, however have any music, television or other noise when I work. Thanks for the suggestions. I will think about them.

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Cathy March 12, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Dan-like that disconnecting from the Internet. I live in an area that has spotty internet connections at time so sometimes I’m forced to try your tip whether I like it or not. :-)

Thanks for sharing your tip and taking the time to stop by.

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Cathy March 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Hi Ann-maybe just picking one and seeing how that works out. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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Jacqueline Gates March 12, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I love when a really great post is enhanced by helpful comments.

Cathy, I can also attest to the effectiveness of most of these and I’m with John and Dan as far as disconnecting from the internet to focus on one thing at a time.

As a chronic multi-tasker (what woman isn’t?), I’ve found this to be difficult to master but so worthwhile.

I use a kitchen timer to keep me on track. Either it’s a chunk of time I’ve allocated for the task, or it’s to remind me to stop and rest or drink water.

Either way, it’s a vital tool to my productivity.

Bliss-ings,
the goddess known as Jacqui

Oh and I can’t stress enough how important it is to BACKUP your files! After a particularly distressing incident last year, I’ve become manic about it lol
Jacqueline Gates recently posted..What Would You Like To Stop Doing?My Profile

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Cathy March 12, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Hi Jacqueline: Glad to have you join us and thank you for the kind words. I agree, my readers always offer great ideas!

The timer is a good suggestion. I used to use my smartphone for reminders, but since #2 says turn it off I needed another alternative. :-)

Thanks again for stopping by and sharing another great tip, Jacqueline.

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Roy A Ackerman, PhD, EA March 12, 2012 at 4:11 pm

I find the best way to deal with this foolishness is to adjust my waking hours. Who cares if I get to work at 10 or 9-. And work until 6 or 7?
Roy A Ackerman, PhD, EA recently posted..Organ DonorMy Profile

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Cathy March 12, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Hi Roy: That’s what gets me. I have been setting my own hours for a long time, yet I still wake up earlier – even with the loss of an hour.

I think my brain just won’t shut up when it knows something outside the norm is happening…sigh…

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Anne Wayman March 13, 2012 at 9:01 am

I use http://e.ggtimer.com/ to time stuff… free, easy. I also bookend – call someone to tell them I’m going to spend x minutes on whatever and call them back when it’s done or it’s obvious I won’t do it.
Anne Wayman recently posted..Perfection? ForgetaboutitMy Profile

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Cathy March 13, 2012 at 9:08 am

Both excellent tips, Anne. I am so easily distracted that I need to force-feed focus at times. :-)

Thanks for sharing what works for you, Anne.

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Gustavo| Frugal Science March 13, 2012 at 11:43 am

Great, great pieces of advice! You don’t have to buy a book in time management. I really believe you can save as much as 50% of your time and energy If you apply them all. I have used point 1, 2, and 3 since my school days. I am actually implementing 4, 5 and six. And, yes! Perfection IS boring (this goes along very good with my last post).
Gustavo| Frugal Science recently posted..How to let go the illusion of perfectionMy Profile

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Cathy March 13, 2012 at 11:51 am

Perfect timing, Gustavo. :-) Thank you for the kind words and I am glad to see they are working for you. You sound more disciplined than I am.

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Sharon Hurley Hall March 16, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Oh, I agree with Gustavo – who needs a book on time management? Great tips, Cathy. I really should implement that open calendar one, because I check mine a LOT! :)
Sharon Hurley Hall recently posted..Putting You in the Picture About My Blogging SkillsMy Profile

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Cathy March 16, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Hi Sharon-Thanks for the nice compliment. I check my calendar a LOT, too. :-)

I consider it a treat buying a new one each year. I still like the sit on your desk version and I prefer the week-at-a-glance. I wasn’t kidding about the organizing your space-there have been times when I’ve buried it. That’s a sure sign I need to organize. :-)

Thanks for stopping by, Sharon.

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Cindy March 26, 2012 at 3:53 am

Really good point about perfection – the best i would say. Being perfect held me back for a long time, and i actually was doing many mistakes and not learning. When i started to do things – even poorly i actually started to learn and eventually get better.

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Cathy March 26, 2012 at 7:24 am

Thanks, Cindy, for weighing in. I think a lot of us get hung up on perfection. When we can let that go, it is really freeing.

Thanks for stopping by.

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