When you’re starting a business as a young entrepreneur, it seems like there’s an infinite number of tasks to juggle. That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of the details, no matter how tiny or tedious. Small changes, like reducing the amount of time you spend each day managing your email or remote team, can quickly add up, meaning you can spend your time growing your business instead of your to-do list.
Managing Time Wasters
One of the most insidious time waster in the modern workplace is at your fingertips every day, and worse, it’s legitimately work related. Ask almost anyone what they spend the most time on while at work, and the answer is bound to be email. Email is the basis of communication for the 21st century workforce. Why not make sure you’re being as efficient as possible when you’re doing something so important?
Professional email etiquette is just as crucial as efficiency, and it’s more than just good manners; it’s good management. For instance, knowing how to begin and end a professional email takes a lot of the guesswork out of communicating with co-workers, clients and customers. A professional greeting lets the recipient know that the topic is business, and a cordial and appropriate sign-off can eliminate the need for unnecessary responses as well as the need to go back and read them.
Knowing when to CC or BCC someone can also go a long way in saving time when sending email. Create folders to keep all emails of a certain type together, and regularly archive emails contain information you may need to refer to later. The search box will also save you tons of time when tracking down old emails, so take advantage of this feature even if your inbox is completely organized.
Checking your email the right way can also help keep you on task. A good way to do this is to set aside certain points of the day to check your email, and check it at only those times — if that’s realistic for your situation. Try setting your email program to only check for messages at your decided times if self-control isn’t enough to keep you from clicking that envelope.
Developing Good Habits
Structuring your day and managing your workflow are the two pillars of any successful productivity strategy. Tasks should be outlined at the beginning of every day or at the end of the previous day, and nobody in the office should ever be unsure of what they are supposed to be doing. Setting productivity goals at the start of each day gives both you and your employees concrete objectives to work toward instead of an endless procession of menial tasks.
Good physical habits are often an underrated part of an entrepreneur’s success. As cliché as it may sound, a good diet, moderate exercise and the appropriate amount of sleep will actually help you feel better and miss work less often, maximizing your potential as a leader and decision maker. Work habits are important as well, and business owners in particular must evaluate their methods on a regular basis to ensure they’re still best for the business. A clean physical and digital workspace minimizes distractions and promotes clarity of mind, allowing you to focus on the task at hand.
Putting your business in the best position for success means managing your resources wisely, and time is the most valuable and irreplaceable asset a business has. Time truly is money, and making sure not to waste either one in the early stages of growth can make the difference for your company.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Image credit: CC by Marie-Chantale Turgeon