A recent survey by Reckon of more than 1300 small business leaders across Australia found that admin and red tape costs small businesses an average of 541 hours and $14,857 financially per business a year, a total cost of $20.16 billion a year nationally.

Nearly one-quarter of small business leaders said the pressure of the admin burden is impacting hugely on their ability to attain a heightened state of focus, efficiency and productivity, what’s called “in the zone”. Distractions and the worry of admin, payroll and compliance prevents them from doing their best work, adversely affecting their work efficiency and ability to succeed and grow their business. Many owners spend more time on admin and payroll (10+ hours a week) than on operating at their peak (less than 10 hours a week). Doing administrative tasks, feeling tired and stressed from work and interruptions like emails and phone calls are amongst the biggest barriers.

Reckon CEO Sam Albert said small business owners who “can streamline work for peak performance are not only more profitable, but they can invest more time and money in staff, marketing and innovation, to get ahead of the competition”.

Fortunately, they found 9 in 10 small business leaders are taking proactive steps to “get in the zone”. Nearly half are structuring their workday, sticking to a routine, doing complex tasks in the morning and actively eliminating distractions. Nearly one-quarter are also taking up mindfulness practices.

It has been found that owners who achieve more time “in the zone” and have a daily admin routine spend 17% less time on admin, saving an average of $3385 a year.

Small changes can make a big difference! Simple steps like having a more comfortable workspace and using music or exercise can yield positive financial and emotional returns by boosting productivity and happiness in the workplace.

Webinar – “From Business Slavery to Freedom”

Over the last month BSW Connect ran two events related to this important issue. The first was a “From Business Slavery to Freedom” webinar in which BSW Connect collaborated with Rueben Taylor from Biznostics to walk a group of SW business owners through 5 easy steps for getting their time back. Reuben’s key tips were to:

#1 Do What’s Important – to improve your business future invest more of your time into important tasks.

#2 Eliminate Time Thieves – three big time thieves are emails, social media and phone calls so develop strategies to manage and minimize time spent on these.

#3 Value Your Time – be proactive and not reactive and focus on the high value activities in your business.

#4 Set Time aside to Work ‘ON’ Your Business – recognize the importance of working ‘on’ your business. Set aside at least 4 hours a week for this and work out when is the best time for you to do this.

#5 Pinpoint Your Highest Impact Strategies – do the right strategies at the right time. Working out what strategies have the biggest impact for your business and work towards gaining “freedom” for yourself, however you define this. Start with the Foundations – getting your business under control; then Growth – making the money you want; then Replacement – replacing yourself and do what you want with your time; reaching Freedom – all your choice.

Networking Lunch – “Tips on Time Management”

Our second event was a networking lunch where our guest speaker Louise Barkle from On Time Admin presented on how to better manage your time. For business people feeling overwhelmed and constantly saying they are too busy and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, Louise offers the following 3 helpful tips:

#1 Self care – it is crucial to make time for yourself doing whatever works best for you because if you don’t look after yourself and you get sick, tired and stressed your business will suffer. Here the challenge is to change your language from “I’m too busy” to “this is not a priority for me” and this will help you to see what really are your priorities in your business and your life.

#2 Prioritise tasks – make a list of tasks that need to be done and identify which are truly important and urgent. Don’t just keep adding to the list. If a task won’t cause the world to collapse if it isn’t done, leave it for now and allocate time to tasks that you can’t leave for any longer.

#3 Outsource and use technology – You only have 24 hours a day to use so ask yourself if you are getting good value from how you are using your time and don’t be frightened of outsourcing some tasks (e.g. your bookkeeping, social media, housework) to others who can do it better or at a lower cost than your time is worth. Also look at how you can automate some activities by employing technology.

(Source: Inside Small Business, Winter ’19.)