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Digital work life hacks for small business owners

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We know, as a small business based in Gloucester, that your business can take over your life completely and you end up with very little free time.

Taking time for yourself and to spend time with loved ones is incredibly important as well as making you more efficient when you are working.

So, here are our top tips of how you can make some of your digital tools work a bit harder for you, allowing you to achieve a better work/life balance.

Take control of your emails

  1. Too much spam? Un-subscribe from spam emails. There is always the option to unsubscribe either by replying or by clicking on a link.
  2. Always get asked the same question? Create a help document or FAQ section on your website to answer the question then set up an automatic reply directing people to the page.  Here’s how to set up an automatic reply in Microsoft Outlook but most email accounts have this facility.
  3. Too many emails? Sort emails by subject.  This helps you delete trails of back and forth conversation emails, only keeping and reading the most recent as well as any important attachments. This is particularly useful if you are catching up after being out of the office. Here’s how to do this on Microsoft Outlook.
  4. Sent other people’s emails? Ask the sender to change it. If this fails, use the rules functionality to auto forward or file the email. Here’s how to do this on Microsoft Outlook.
  5. Always distracted by emails? Close your email application when working on a task. Every time you are interrupted you lose 20 minutes of productivity.  Read more on this subject.
  6. Worry about work all the time? Do not look at emails in personal time (even on your phone). Once you’ve got some of these digital tools working harder for you, you’ll feel like you can.

Schedule your social media

Maintaining social media accounts for your business can be very time consuming and, like emails, distract you from other tasks.

  1. Always distracted by social media? Schedule set times each day or week for social media. Customise your notifications in your social media account so you only get notified about urgent action issues (e.g. a complaint).
  2. Have to post to social media every day? Use scheduling tools to set up posts from your accounts in advance.Here’s how to schedule posts on facebook. Tools like hootsuite and audience enable you to schedule posts for other types of social media account, there are many others and lots have a free version.

Organise work tasks your way

It’s important you find an organisation method which works best for you.

  1. Forget things? Allocate time in your day to organise tasks for the day. It’s not wasted time.
  2. Current organisation method not working? Here are some ideas:
    1. Use an electronic diary. Most email applications have one. Here is a guide to outlook diaries.
    2. Set up an Excel spread sheet to track tasks. Here is a guide to excel.
    3. Use an application like Trello.
    4. Write lists.
    5. Keep a paper diary.
    6. Use a tasks functionality. Here is a guide to the outlook one.

Don’t just carry on doing something because you always have. Know what you are good at and outsource what you are not. It will take you longer to do something which isn’t your strong point and ultimately your time is worth more.