Eight Time Management Secrets for the Accounting and Bookkeeping Home Business
You took the leap of faith and started your own Accounting / Bookkeeping business, and now you have enough clients to keep you busy for a long time. But you’re starting to wonder how you’ll keep up with it all, providing your clients with quality service while having that time to yourself you’ve always dreamed about. So how do you manage your business so that it doesn;t manage you? Here are eight time-saving tips to help you manage your business and recover your life.
1. Better Organize Your Home Office
If you’re like most people, you have wasted seconds, minutes, hours in precious work time hunting for that one invoice, file, or perhaps even the stapler. Your mother probably taught you that there’s a place for everything and everything should be in its place. That’s sound advice. If your office is well organized, you’ll waste little time hunting things down. While it may seem a daunting and time-consuming task at first, you’ll save yourself lots of time in the end if your organize your home office now (for more help on this, read our two articles: “Organizing Your Home Office Part I” and “Part II”).
How many repetitive tasks do you do in one day? If you’re wasting time recreating the same documents or sending the same types of email, it’s time to standardize some of these tasks. Create form letters, standard documents, and redundant text for typical, lengthy emails. This should save you time, and because time is money in this business, you’ll be able to spend that saved time either making more money or enjoying what you’ve already made.
3. Punch The Clock
Okay, okay. So you quit your day-job so you wouldn’t have to punch the clock anymore. But the truth of the matter is if you don’t set your own hours and keep them, you’ll find yourself on the job 24/7. Generally, when working a 9 to 5 job you only work past five when there’s an emergency; do the same while working for yourself. Set some rules right now. For example: “I will work from 5AM to Noon, Monday through Friday and I will only work overtime when…” Be specific. Otherwise you’ll find that your work is managing you rather than the other way around. You’ll be amazed at how this will help you to work smarter. You may be wasting two hours everyday simply because you have them to waste. Also let your family know what your working hours are. If they know that you need to honor your business hours in order to honor family time, they’ll be more likely to give you the time and space you need (as long as your respect that time set aside for the family).
4. Plan Daily
The old adage goes, ” If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” How true that is! Take a few minutes every morning to review your schedule and plan your day. Take a few minutes when you are wrapping up work in the evening to plan your next days activities. Whenever you do it, do it daily, this time will go far in helping you use your time more effectively.
5. Prioritize Tasks
Just last week I spent 5 hours on a project I felt strongly about, but when I looked over my accomplishments later, I realized I hadn’t finished a task that was more important and timely. When we don’t prioritize our tasks, we run the risk of putting a lot of effort into something that isn’t crucial. By planning daily you will be able to find that the prioritization gets easier to do.
6. Avoid Procrastination
Procrastination is the great time-killer. All of us have had our bouts with it one time or another. It would be interesting to count up all the time wasted simply by procrastinating the essential tasks. How much time and energy do we spend worrying about one of those important to-do items? How often do we distract ourselves with silly busy work that doesn’t get you anywhere? Stopping short of diabling the game of solitaire on your computer, you need to fight the urge to delay the “unpleasant” tasks of the job. Take a deep breath and procrastinate no more. Delve into the task as soon as you can, with the attitude that it is as pleasant as the most simplest of tasks. And it will soon become that.
7. Become a Speed Reader
We’re not kidding. Some of us are slow readers, and lots of time could be saved in learning how to locate significant data quickly. It also helps us to keep on top of information that is crucial to our success in the accoutning and bookkeeping profession. Just think of it, how much reading do we do each day? If we could cut our time we spend on that and still get the same benefit, why not work to gain that reading skill?
8. Log Interruptions
Everyone in business is interrupted countless time a day. Some of those interruptions help grow your business (like clients who call with work for you to do). But some interruptions are unecessary and counterproductive to the working environment. If these can be anticipated, and handled in a timely manner, you will have a step up from the rest who cannot. We would suggest for those who would want to be better at handling the interruptions of their day to take a small pad of paper and note each interruption for one week. Be sure you note the time, date, interrupter, and the subject of the interruption. Once you have the information, you can evaluate it. Which interruptions could have been avoided? Which were of no value? Perhaps you have someone calling you for information that you could teach them to find themselves? While the teaching moment may cost you an hour now, it may save you hours in the end.We all need to be aware of our time and how we spend it. Money is time and time is money in what we do, and we would need to stay on top of those things that are keeping us away from making what we could if we were just that much more organized. If you are able to do that, then the time spent working is more effective (and profitable), the time spent on them is minimized, and you will be able to enjoy that free time doing what you want to do when you want to do it.If you are looking to become trained as a Professional Bookkeeper, and be able to handle your time better with the time-saving tips contained in the training program, click here to find out more. Become a Professional Bookkeeper today.