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7 ways to work smarter and not harder

Have you got a to-do list that just seems to grow and grow?

Do you find yourself wishing there were 36 hours in every day?

Well don't worry – you're not alone. It's a typical problem for growing businesses and one that at first sight seems incredibly difficult to overcome.

But help is at hand and the good news is that it doesn't cost a lot of money to implement but will make and save you money almost straight away.

We've put together 7 quick tips for working smarter and not harder to help you take back control of your day.

  1. Give yourself time - The first thing to do is to allow some time to manage the business. Take a bird's eye view of what you are doing and make the changes that will pay dividends later. It may be difficult to take a couple of hours out of the business but you have to be disciplined. If you are always being interrupted then go and sit in your local coffee shop and plan the changes that will transform your day. Once you've done this then make it a regular date so that you can keep up the momentum.
  2. Be ruthless – Take a look at all of the things you do and ask yourself the fundamental question "Why do we do that"? If the answer is because you've always done it that way or even worse you can't think why you do it then cut it out. There's no benefit to doing work for the sake of it.
  3. Plan your work then work your plan – too often we turn up to work and get pushed from pillar to post and at the end of the day feel that nothing has been achieved. Studies show that executives with a day plan get more tasks completed and do so quicker than those who have failed to organise their day.
  4. Prioritise your plan – Make sure that you are doing important jobs rather than just the one you like. Give each of your tasks a score out of ten based on how critical and urgent it is. Do the tasks with the highest scores first and not the ones you enjoy doing.
  5. Stop reinventing the wheel – There are hundreds, if not thousands, of apps and software programs that will help you with your day. From things as simple as free expenses managers that will take a photo of a receipt and then automatically produce a report to full blown accounting software. Have a look around at what's available and consider investing a small amount to take away admin drudgery and give you back some of your valuable time.
  6. Delegate – when you've built up your business it can be really difficult to let go, but if you never train and trust people then your business won't be able to grow any more than the amount of time you personally have available. If you don't have anyone working for you then ask family or friends for occasional help. You may be surprised to find that people enjoy helping out.
  7. Outsource – If you can get someone else to do a task that frees you up to concentrate on your core business then it's worth doing. A good example of this is bookkeeping and accountancy where a professional will be quicker and more accurate and whilst they are poring over your books you can be out earning money!
The best tip we can give is to remember that you are a business manager rather than just someone who works in a business. Applying these tips will give you more capacity to actually run your business rather than have it run you!