Productivity / Business Productivity

3 basic admin tips that will save you an hour a day

You’re a busy business owner – I get it. I’ve got to be honest with you though – you’re wasting a lot of time on basic administration tasks simply because you’re not organised. Yes, this a big statement. But it’s true.

30 March 2016 by

I see many clients on a daily basis who are amazing at what they do but busier than they should be because they haven’t got basic admin tools in place. Imagine how much additional income you could generate if you saved one hour per day on your admin?

I’m sharing these three quick tips because I know if you put them in place, (and actually use them!), you’ll definitely save not only an hour per day but a hell of a lot of frustration too.

1. Get your digital filing structured

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 okay. 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 it’s ok as every computer has a search function right? The thing is, every time you have to search for a document you’re wasting a couple of minutes. And those minutes add up fast.

"How much additional income could you generate by saving one hour a day in admin?"

Get your online files structured in a logical way and it will not only save you time now but even more so when it comes to recruiting a staff member or some offshore help. Then it will become invaluable.

As a start – here’s an example structure

digital filing

Within these folder place sub-folders that make sense to your business. As an example – here are my marketing sub folders:

marketing sub folders

However you decide to structure your folder do so in a logical way that makes sense to your business and then make sure to name them clearly.

Lastly, actually use the folders. However tempting it may be to quickly save a document to your desktop – don’t. You’re only wasting your own time.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business productivity section.

2. Minimise your inbox

Argh – this one kills me. 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 (again) saying they use they search function to find what they want. Yes, I understand. Except 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. Do 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 inbox to zero however using these two tips will drastically minimise the time you waste in there:

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. Instead you need to:

  1. Action – if the task requires more time than you’ve got, place it in an ‘Action’ folder in your in box to review and action later.
  2. File – If the email is required for reference, save it somewhere logical. Save to your client folder, receipts folder etc.
  3. 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 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. Since I don’t need to access it, however, 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 and 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 that template for individual conversations will save you a ton of time and also ensure that the small things are not forgotten.

So there you go – three very simple things you can do to cut back on your admin time. They are all quick and easy to set up and I guarantee they will save you at least an hour every day.

Got any other time-saving admin tips? Share them in the comments below.

Debbie Eglin

has a mission to help small business owners simplify their business and allow more time for living. Productivity Hub achieves this through developing smart systems, harnessing cloud technology and implementing efficient outsourcing solutions. You can connect with Debbie via Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+

Comments

  • Hi Debbie, great article we can all learn from… I mean, I can learn from. I am just starting to develop rule #1 and it is already staring to pay off in spades!

    Thanks so much for the advice.

    P.S. I have a great tool for #3 – it is called phraseexpress.

    • Thanks for your comment – glad the info is paying off. They are simple strategies but too often forgotten!
      Thanks for sharing your tool tip – always love learning about new ones. It looks good but the website isn’t too friendly for the average user (or for MAC lovers like me) 🙂

  • Great ideas thanks Debbie. I need to work on number 3 but generally have the first two down pat.

    • Awesome to hear Brad – let me know how you go with #3 – its a true time saver!

  • I like tip 2 – While I have separate emails for personal and work, a third for newsletters would work

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