I see many clients on a daily basis who are amazing at what they do but they’re busier than they need to be because they haven’t got their basic admin tools in place. Imagine how much additional income you could have by simply saving 1 hour per day on your admin?
I’m sharing these 3 quick tips because I know that if you put them in place, and use them, you’ll save not only an hour per day but a hell of a lot of frustration.
#1. Get your digital filing structured.
It still surprises me but I cannot tell you how many business owners think that having random files on their desktop, saved to their local computer drive or saved in randomly named folder is ok. Do you stuff all of your paper files, bills etc into a drawer and forget about them? If you do – you may want to stop reading now
I know you probably think its ok as you know where your random files are – its your own special way of filing but honestly, every time you go looking for a document you’re wasting a couple of minutes. It all adds up.
Get your online files structured in a logical way and it will not only save you time now but when it comes to recruiting a staff member or some offshore help it will become invaluable.
As a start – heres an example structure:
Within these folder place sub folders that make sense to your business – as an example – here’s my marketing sub folders:
However you decide to structure your folder do so in a logical way that makes sense to your business and name them clearly.
Lastly – use these folders. However tempting it may be to quickly save a document to your desktop – don’t. You’re only wasting your own time.
#2 Minimise your email in box.
Argh – this is a major cause of frustration. Most business owners have over 1,000 emails in their in box. I know, crazy. I’ve even met someone with over 10,000!
Business owners justify it by saying they use they search function to find what they want, or they they need to keep it for future reference. Yes. I understand, however every time you open your email you’re scanning through those messages and wasting a few minutes each time. When you search for an email it takes between 10 – 30 seconds to find. Doing that just a few times a day and you’ll lose at least an hour over the week. That’s an extra hour of income.
I’m not suggesting that everyone gets their in box to zero however using the tips below will drastically minimise your time wasted.
Tip 1: Action, file, delete.
When you read an email, don’t scan through and think – I’ll do that later, you’ll just be repeating what you’ve already done. Either:
- Action – Action it immediately (especially if it takes less than 2 minutes) or, if the task requires more time than you’ve currently got, place it in an ‘Action’ folder in your in box to review and action later.
- File – If the email is required for reference, save it somewhere logical. Save to your client folder, receipts folder etc. Save it somewhere other than your in box!
- Delete: If you don’t need it. Delete. I know this will be a little uncomfortable for some but treat it as junk mail. I guessing you don’t have a drawer full of real estate brochures or discounted pizza coupons somewhere – do you?
Tip 2: Get a junk email address
I never and I mean never sign up for anything with my business email address. If I did I would get 50 promotional emails every day and I simply don’t have the time or the will to scan through and delete them. If I’m signing up to something I’m interested in and want to read I use a separate Gmail address. Then, when I’m on the couch I’ll review at my leisure but it doesn’t distract me from my working day. I also have another email address which I use for ‘junk’. It may be a trial subscription for a new app or something I want to read as a one off. Using this address means I can still get access but don’t have to review any of the marketing messages. Confession: this ‘junk’ email has over 1,000 in the inbox however, I don’t need to access it so it doesn’t worry me. What it does tell me though is just how many marketing messages I’m avoiding!
#3 Develop Templates.
You’ve probably got some basic templates in place, a word file with your business header perhaps a client enquiry form, but what about everything else?
- Business overview email for initial enquiries?
- Confirmation of appointment email?
- Great to meet you email?
- Referral and testimonial request?
- Social media calendar template?
- Pre-client delivery checklist template?
- Client reporting template?
I could go on. The point is written communications with your clients and others are never 100% unique. There are always common phrases and paragraphs that are included. Having the bulk of your communications in a template then customising for individual conversations will save you a ton of time and also ensure that the small things are not forgotten.
Give these tips a try. They are quick and easy to set up and I can guarantee will save you at least an hour every day.
Need some help?
Deb is filled with savvy productivity solutions for small business, if you could use some more organisation in your world visit Productivity Hub.