Administrative tasks include functions such as balancing the company bank statement, creating employee schedules, reading emails, opening the mail, entering the numbers into the accounting program or spreadsheet, and maintaining active licenses, permits and inspections. All of these tasks are considered bothersome by many small business owners, for the main reason that completing these tasks makes no money. And while that is true, without these functions, a business cannot expect to be called healthy. Thus, I have grouped together a few small tips to help you better organize your efforts and save time doing administrative tasks.
Following are six tips that can help you learn to save time.
Find someone to do the tasks for you. Whether you pay an employee a few hours a week to complete the tasks, or find an outside company to do them, your time is better spent managing the business and bringing in sales. If you choose to hire outside, do not necessarily choose a huge accounting firm. Go for a local bookkeeper you met at the Chamber of Commerce, so that you can keep your costs low.
Set aside time at the beginning of the day. Most experts would argue that you should spend the evening or end of your day doing these types of tasks. I disagree because these are the ones that cause you the most problems. By setting aside an hour at the beginning of your day, you can probably handle the tasks much quicker and get them done. In fact, start your day an hour earlier. Do a little everyday instead of a lot one day.
Use the proper tools and automate where possible. The biggest time saver when doing admin tasks is finding and using the proper tools such as computer software. If you create templates for schedules and the bank reconciliation in MS Excel, you will find the job to go a lot faster because you have the same form to use each time the task requires completion.
File mail if a decision is to be made later. If you open an envelope for a product or service that you might like to purchase or inquire about in the future, file it right away. If you leave it on your desk, you will handle it over and over, wasting valuable time. Put it away right away, so that when you are ready, you can retrieve it. In fact, it would be best to keep a folder specifically for these orphaned documents that don’t require their own space, but may need attention. Otherwise, throw it out now. But don’t use this technique as a way to procrastinate. This is reserved for major decisions and purchases.
Complete tasks while eating lunch or supper. If you need to do backups of your systems, you can easily queue the function while you eat. This way, it will be done and it won’t cost you any more time in the day. But, only use this tip for tasks that don’t require focus on your part. If you need to concentrate on the task, eating at the same time is not a solution to saving time, at least if you expect accurate results.
Synchronize resources. For admin tasks that require making announcements and keeping employees informed, try to use the same software, applications and even the same hardware. This keeps things running smoothly, while at the same time does not waste time trying to do conversions.
Remember that even if you only have a very small operation, your staff will sometimes help you out. Of course, it is not free, but if you have someone that wants to learn more, or has a knack for doing a particular task, let go of the function, and allow the employee to undertake its completion. Just be sure to stay in the loop and know what is going on around you.