3 Ways to Save Time and Handle Interruptions

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I read a recent article that stated “running a small business isn’t a job; it’s twelve jobs!” Most small business owners wear many hats.  They are the CEO, the marketer, the sales person, the bookkeeper, the social media strategist, the facilities manager and the list goes on and on.  All these things take up time.

I work with multiple small business owners and no matter what tasks I begin helping my clients with, the majority end up having me manage their e-mail because it takes so much time during their day.  A case study conducted by the Danwood Group found it takes 1.5 minutes on average to read and recover from each e-mail. Try these 3 simple tips to lessen the amount of time and interruptions throughout your day:

1. E-Mail can be a To Do List that others can write on.  If we are not careful, we will allow others to dictate our To Do List and how we will spend a big part of our day. Try this:

SCAN your inbox for urgent and important items when you first open your e-mail. Take care of anything urgent.
CLOSE your e-mail.
BLOCK 30-60 minutes on your calendar once or twice later in the day to process your e-mail…when YOU have the time.

2. Turn off your E-mail Notifications.  Turn them off on your phone, tablet and computer. Allowing every e-mail that arrives in your inbox to interrupt your day destroys your productivity. Remember you have set aside some time each day to read and process those e-mails.

3. Use Templates.  Ever find yourself typing the same sentences over and over when writing or responding to e-mails? If so, you should be using templates. Read through your sent mail and see what types of messages you are regularly sending, then put them in e-mail templates.

Time.  You can’t recover it, make up for it or reverse it.  There are 24 hours in a day and 168 in a week and those numbers aren’t changing. What you can change is using your hours more efficiently and wisely by decreasing the amount of time you spend on unimportant interruptions.

headshot2About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business. http://www.anotheryouerrands.com 937-416-2207

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Reflections on the Past-Questions for the Future

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I officially opened my personal/virtual assistant business, Another You, LLC, 2 years ago in August.  It has been an exciting and eye-opening couple of years. Years that I am so blessed to have experienced.  Being a female entrepreneur has allowed me to bring money into our household and afforded me the time to take care of my family and take better care of myself.

My past career was in medical practice management. I answered to physicians and was responsible for staff (upward of 25). Tough gig! I love that I work for myself. I have only me to answer to.  I do not have to worry that others are not doing their best for my clients or my business.  I like that the success of my business was/is solely my responsibility.

Two years ago I started out with 0 clients and a lot of time.  Today I have a lot of clients and 0 time. Not that I am complaining as this is exactly what I wanted. I have clients that I work every day and others that hire me for projects only. I love the variety of my days. I love learning about my clients industries such as IT, law, travel, politics, non-profits, etc. I have had the pleasure to work with wonderful small business owners who treat me with the utmost respect.

I have learned so many new things and have reminded myself that I am smart and if I don’t know something, I can learn it easily. I have been given the chance with 2 of my clients to get back into my past with medical coding and billing.  I was even able to teach myself a new medical software program this summer!  Regretfully, I have also had to learn some hard lessons. Lessons such as, even though your client may be a local small business owner, you cannot always trust them to pay their bills.  I have also had to learn that not all people are true to their word or their written contract.

So where do I go from here? So far I have met my 1 year goals and my 2 year goals. Now I need to decide what is next.  What do the next 2-3 years look like?  I have cut down on networking because I am busy working on client accounts. I am receiving additional work due to client referrals.  I had 3 small business owners contact me this week regarding my services!  I only have so many hours in my day. When the days become too full do I stop taking on new clients? Do I hire someone? Not sure either of those options sound good to me.  But I know that when the time comes to make that decision, I will do what I have done these past 2 years and that is to make the one that works best for me, my family, and my business.  I love being a solopreneur!

Happy 2 year anniversary Another You, LLC!

I Am a Solopreneur, But I Have My Own Board of Directors

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Humans are social creatures, and being part of a group makes us do fascinating things.  I doubt I would have “mooned” out of a bus in high school if others on the Drill Team were not doing so.  OK, so I said “fascinating” things not necessarily things we are proud of!

After working with the public for 32 years, I now work alone.  I love the change but sometimes it is nice (necessary) to talk to other like-minded individuals about my business.  It’s good to bounce ideas off of others, hear what they would do in certain situations and sometimes just simply complain to someone.

Accountability:  The fact or condition of being accountable; responsible.  I am blessed enough to be a member of a small Accountability Group.  Today, we are 5 female members strong and we meet via Google Hangout each Monday morning.  We set a couple of goals for the upcoming week and discuss how our past week has gone.  The main topic of discussion is business, but it occasionally veers off to personal areas like husbands, children, exercise (usually the lack of), pets, and other interests we have before getting back to business again.

It has been a good thing to be part of this group of small business owners.  It has been a nice check and balance system for me.  It helps me to make me feel like I have to keep up but also, more importantly, that it is also okay for me to fail.  I love tapping into the experience and skills of others in my group.  I consider them an instant and valuable support network.  We have a private Facebook group for issues that arise during the week.

How do you stay accountable?  Think about it.  Whether you work for someone else or are an entrepreneur.   How do you help yourself be accountable for business, diet and exercise or any goal that you have set for your life?  Remember, there is power in numbers.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.  If one falls down, his friend can help him up, but pity the man who falls and has no one to help him.~Ecclesiastes

 

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  About the Author:  Sheri Miller is the Owner of  Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge service in the Dayton, Ohio area.  Sheri  helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.        http://www.anotheryouerrands.com           937-416-2207