Stop wasting your time doing too much admin

Tracey Lydiard
Marketing at Timely
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It’s often said that 20% of the work gets you 80% of the results, but where does admin fit into that equation?
To decrease admin time, we first have to define it. Admin time is made up of those hours you spend in a business that clients don’t directly pay you for. It’s a required expense, and like all expenses, it needs to be minimised.

Here are several ways to cut down the time spent doing those tasks that clients (and sometimes staff!) would only notice if you stopped doing them.

Hire specialists

Perfectionists have this tendency to want to do everything themselves. I’m going to make a Frozen reference; you just have to let it go! There are people who have literally dedicated their lives to doing the boring stuff you don’t want to do, so find a way to hand over the reigns and let them do some of the work for you.

You might think that you can’t afford to outsource your admin to professionals, but your time is valuable too. For every hour you’re spending on admin, you’re losing another hour you could be spending elsewhere.

For example, Amanda from Amanda’s House of Hair says that she uses a bookkeeper to take care of a lot of the admin, because she has a small child who she likes to spend as much time with as possible. Amanda doesn’t have to get bored doing the numbers herself, but the accounts are always done on time and she can be confident her business is always financially healthy. It’s a win win.


Amanda says that she also tries to delegate as many tasks to her employees as possible.

Doing this regularly can be a challenge because junior staff may need nurturing when taking on new responsibilities, but the time invested in teaching staff will save you countless hours in the future.

Read: What’s your number one tip on managing people?

Delegating tasks to employees will relieve some of your duties, and it’ll also be good for your employees’ professional development for them to start taking on responsibilities. No one wants to be stuck in the same place for 10 years, so if you push them to take on tasks outside of their comfort zones, they’ll one day thank you.

Besides, you know what happens when your business depends on you too much. It gets tiring and stressful, and you can never take time off because the company can’t run without you. This isn’t the freedom you signed up for when you decided to start your own business, is it?

Use software

You’d expect us to say this, but it’s true! We’re not even talking about booking software (which we are awesome at by the way #humblebrag). Software in general has the ability to remove the need to repeat many tasks  you’re doing every day. Some would call this automation.

The world’s smartest and most productive people accomplish more by doing less. That doesn’t mean showing up to work less, it means that when they show up to work they’re not doing all the little things that consume time. They’re either delegating those tasks or using software to eliminate them.

For example, syncing your customer invoices from your booking software to Xero will save double entry. Being able to automatically remind customers they have an appointment with you saves you from having to text each one. Automatically sending email marketing campaigns to your customer database saves you having to worry about copying customer data or create new campaigns. It’s really the little things that save you time and money.

Forward planning

There’s a quote by Brian Tracy that goes, “For every minute spent in planning, ten are saved in execution.” While it may be more like five, the principle still holds water. So much admin time can be saved with a little forward planning.

“I try to do as much administration duties as I can in any spare time,” says Misty Ellis, manager at Dianella Hairfree. “I prepare client files a day early each day or a week in advance where possible. I go thru each client file and make sure the information on the computer is updated to ensure everything runs smoothly when I have the client standing in front of me.”

“It just better prepares me for my week ahead.”

That means starting every day knowing what’s coming (to a certain extent) and being able to focus on what’s important instead of the tasks that suck up your time.

Make the time

Automation and delegation sounds like the cliche way to cut down on admin time, but that’s because it works. Every business will have unique ways to do this, since every business is different.

The important thing is to set time aside to actually do your admin. Pour yourself a red, make a list of what needs doing, and power through it in one go. From here, you’ll be able to see the tasks that consume most of your admin time, and plan ways to cut that down next week. And the week after. And the week after that.

If you start doing all of these things, it’ll slowly have an impact on your business so that, instead of spending 16 hours a week on admin, you’re down to 10 or less. Two or three hours every day is way too much to spend away from what you love doing. Life’s too short; ain’t nobody got time for that!

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