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32 time-saving tips for the busy entrepreneur

Tuesday, 19 February 2013 | By Jonathan Weinstock

I’m really impatient. I mean really impatient. Maybe even a dose of hyperactivity disorder. I need stuff done now. I hate waiting.


One of my Kris Kringle presents was a stamp that says “F-cking Urgent”. I am into efficiency.


Why? I like getting stuff done, so I can do more stuff and achieve more, learn more, grow more and then have more choice to do more fun things when I want. Simple really.


So to do more, I need to find efficiencies. The world works better when the right people do the right activities at the right time and at the right price. Am I lazy for not wanting to do the washing, cooking and cleaning when I get home?


My wife might argue I am lazy, although I argue that I am ‘efficient’ by resting or doing something more productive with my time. Making someone else happy is not the point here, but you get my drift. And yes, I am still very domesticated (although it took training and some resistance).


People often ask how I manage all of the things I do. Here is a list of some tips and tricks that I use to save time and get more stuff done.


Please share any tips that you may have. I’m always on the lookout for clever ways and tools to help save time.

      1. Park great ideas which are ‘non-core’ in an ‘ideas’ email folder. Write it down, get it off your chest, file it and park it.
      2. Park emails which can be addressed later in a ‘to do’ email folder.
      3. If you don’t get back to key people within 24 hours, you are overcommitted and need to delegate more.
      4. Use your alarm during the day to remind you when to leave for meetings and for end times for meetings.
      5. Have a litre water bottle handy so you don’t have to continually get up.
      6. Save time cooking and shopping – try readymade meals. You’ll lose weight and save time. The food tastes fine (in my unfussy opinion). Cooking for others should be fun not a chore.
      7. Save files to desktop so you can access them quickly. File them later.
      8. Only answer your phone if you know who it is and if it’s critical, otherwise it’s a distraction.
      9. Plan the night before for the upcoming day so you know what you have lined up ahead. Mentally prepare for the next day.
      10. Don’t iron your shirts unless desperate. Outsource to someone that’s on your existing travel path or get someone else to do it.
      11. Put reminders in your diary so you have a dedicated time and day for when things get done. Reminders don’t get done unless they get allocated a specific time to get done.
      12. Schedule 30 to 45 minute max meetings. Set an alarm with five to 10 minutes to go.
      13. Have breakfast meetings before work at a venue near your workplace.
      14. Have snacks and fruit in the office to keep you energised.
      15. Train your team to run meetings on time. This means they start on time and finish on time and have a ruthless timekeeper that allows every person to speak for a limited time i.e. one minute. This ensures a succinct discussion and trains people to ‘spit it out!’
      16. Batch activities i.e. meetings, emails, phone calls etc. This helps build momentum with less distraction.
      17. Have a white board with key priorities within eyesight to keep you on track and focused.
      18. Schedule your own meetings and times on the fly during the conversation. Otherwise suggest two to three times that may suit which avoids going back and forth.
      19. Use two computer monitors enabling more viewing, less clicking.
      20. Have an account set up at your café so you don’t have to wait and pay for coffee or food. Build a relationship so you can grab and run.
      21. Work closer to home – travel time is a waste, unless you are on the train or tram and doing something productive.
      22. Set aside quiet uninterrupted and unanticipated interruption time to do certain tasks – non-negotiable. This is what I call achieving super efficiency. This doesn’t have to be after hours.
      23. Have something to look forward to in the evening – dinner, cooking, fitness, social, etc. This makes you feel that you are working to a deadline.
      24. Keep a clean desk – file stuff away. Clean desk means clear mind.
      25. Make sure you have an iPhone charger at home, at your desk and in your car. Downtime is annoying.
      26. Move B grade people along. Better off with no one than someone who causes frustration and poor performance.
      27. Learn to be more succinct – shorter and sharper conversations yet still friendly, pleasant and assertive. Most people could shorten their discussions. i.e. “How are you – good. How are you – good?”
      28. Put key people on speed dial – parents, friends, partners, staff, etc.
      29. Shop online – stop wasting time in queues for commodity items unless you get satisfaction out of going to the supermarket or large shopping centres.
      30. Outsource everything you don’t like doing that you can afford – at home and at work. If you can’t afford it, find a way.
      31. Upgrade your computer for speed – fast computer, fast internet, proper data plans, etc. Don’t skimp.
      32. Pay a premium to park closer to the lift in your building.

          So there you go. Enjoy your new efficient life!