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Five ways to create a routine that works for you

By Brendan Flattery

To celebrate Small Business Saturday in the UK and US, we are hosting a series of live Sage Advice sessions with businesses from all over the world to help them to supercharge their success. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be joined by Maria Gomez, the CEO of Womenalia in Madrid for half an hour of non-stop questions from the world brightest and best entrepreneurs.

We were there to talk about how business leaders can create an effective routine and juggle competing priorities, like customers, employees and the numbers.

Thank you to everyone who joined us and to those who sent through their questions. More than 300 people from around the world joined the session, but if you weren’t among them then you can watch everything here.

We know a lot of entrepreneurs are time poor, so here are just six of my top tips from the session to help you build a more effective routine and get the most of your time

1. Envision what business you want to be in 5 and 10 years

First of all you need to know where you want to be in five or even ten years’ time. Then break those goals down in to monthly or even and weekly objectives and activities that help you to achieve them. And if you hit a milestone, make sure you make time to celebrate that as a team, before you move on to the next one.

2. Let your employees decide how and when they work

If you set smart objectives for the individuals and teams in your business, then it doesn’t matter if they then work flexibly to achieve them. That way you and your employees aren’t tied to particular hours and can themselves create their own routines.

3. Recognize that not working is sometimes the most productive thing you can do

If you’re an active person build exercise into your routine to keep you energised. Or, if it’s your style, social time with your team and friends when you can have a drink and relax. For me spending time with my family, helps me to recharge my batteries. Plus I often have my best business ideas when I’m away from the office and switched off from thinking about work.

Be obsessive about flexibility and a good work-life balance. If you can’t recharge, you can’t be creative, you can’t inspire people, and you can’t lead.

4. Do less, throw more things in the bin

When you’ve worked out what you need to get done at the start of the week, split it into:

What can I do quickly?
What will take a lot of time?
What can I delegate?
What can I bin?
This will help you to focus your efforts where they are needed most and better prioritise your time. It is also worth thinking about what you can automate through the use of technology. If there is a time-consuming process that technology can do for you, automating it can have a transformative effect on your business.

5. Hire people who know more than you do

Bringing in talented people who you can delegate to, gives you more freedom and time to do the things you need to. Make sure you have great people around you that create additional capacity that lets you achieve more. Don’t be afraid to hire people who know more than you do. Often they can teach you new things about your business and how to run it. Remember, everyone has a different style. It’s your job to bring strengths of those individuals together in the right way.

6. Travel less, Skype more

Technology gives entrepreneurs more ways than ever to stay in close touch with customers without having to lose valuable working hours moving from place to place. Spending time with your customers is crucially important, but it doesn’t always need to be face-to-face. Set up a regular Skype call or maybe create a What’s App group with them, so you are constantly in touch without needing to be by their side.

We are hosting sessions throughout the week, so be sure to join one of them. The next session is a Twitter Q&A today at 3.30pm and it’s all about how business leaders can give away control. It will be hosted by Santiago Solanas, Sage’s CMO and business expert Frederique Murphy. Get your questions ready!