SMEs: Here’s how to create more time (and how to use it)

SMEs: Here’s how to create more time (and how to use it)


Mon Jan 29 2018

Contactless technology turned 10 in 20171. And according to our latest research, paying using this technology saves you 15 seconds per transaction compared to paying with cash2.

Let’s say you make one contactless payment a day, that’ll give you back around 15 seconds a day3, 1.75 minutes a week, about 7 minutes a month, 90 minutes per year4.

So, what productive/mood-boosting/mindset/planning things [delete as appropriate] can you do in 15 seconds, 7 minutes and 90 minutes?

15 things you can do in 15 seconds5

  1. Take three deep breathes and release the immediate stress you’re feeling about a particular business decision.

  2. Post on social media – there’s a place for all businesses on social channels, you just need to find yours. Getting to grips with how to post is a great place to start. Look out for our article on social media tips that all small businesses need to know.

  3. Do five press-ups/sit-ups before your next call to get the blood and oxygen pumping to your brain and get you alert for any Dragon’s Den-style questioning.

  4. Share something inspiring you’ve found online with one other person.

  5. Text a friend and arrange dinner. Work life balance is so important for everyone, but particularly small business owners who live and breathe their work.

  6. Watch the start of an online video – watch more than three seconds and you’ll count as a viewer of that video.

  7. Practice your elevator pitch so you’re always ready for any potential investor.

  8. Write down one thing that makes you happy or one thing you have to achieve that day/week/month, as well as the first step to take in order to make it happen.

  9. Give someone a hug.

  10. Tell your colleague a joke – after all, if you’ve got the power to make someone laugh, you can also make them listen.

  11. Drink a glass of water, and then another – aim for around 2 litres a day. Water’s important for many reasons, but if you think that the average human brain is more than 70% water 4 , you can see why you need to keep up your intake.

  12. Say hi to a colleague, in person. While online activity is important for branding and consumers, face-to-face interaction is crucial for team bonding, morale and creativity.

  13. Write down one thing you’re struggling with and the first step to take in order to make it happen. So that might be that you’re struggling with how to break a growth barrier. And the first step might be to search for a business mentor.

  14. Search for and bookmark three articles you want to come back to. Then set aside time to come back to them. How about these to get you started?
  15. Watch the world go by from an unexpected location – sometimes it’s exactly what the brain needs to switch off and allow for creative ideas to flow or problems to be solved.

7 things you can do in 7 minutes 7

  1. Smash out a seven-minute brainstorm – make the brief clear in advance and have everyone standing to keep the energy levels up and to avoid the usual ‘settling in’ phase of meetings.

  2. Learn how to say ‘my name is [name]’, ‘how are you’, and ‘can I pay by card?’ in a new language. By learning a new language, you could help ward off dementia, and start on the road to doing business beyond UK borders, if that’s on your plan.

  3. Read a blog or two on a topic that’s close to an issue you’re facing. For example, are you trying to work out how to start selling online?

  4. Make a to-do list, then prioritise the actions. Try to avoid getting all the quick and easy jobs done first, and instead tackle the big ugly job that you want to put off the most.

  5. Take a quick walk or go three stops on the London Underground. Did you know that you’ve been able to use your contactless-enabled card to get through the barriers on the tube for three years? Time flies when you’re tapping in…

  6. Listen to a couple of songs – pick them to suit your mood or to snap you out of one.

  7. Start a mind map of your latest idea.

No, we’re not doing 90 things you can do in 90 minutes, sorry. Here are nine, instead…

  1. Watch or play most of a football match (105 minutes is the average length of a football match 8 ) – if you’re playing, you’ll be releasing endorphins, if you’re watching, you’ll be enjoying downtime from your business and giving your brain a chance to rest and recuperate.

  2. Wait for hypersonic passenger transport technology to be developed and fly to Sydney, from the UK. Yes, in 90 minutes 9. The current flight time from London to Sydney is more than 22 hours10 . Alternatively, fly to Amsterdam, Dublin, Antwerp or Cologne, from Manchester Airport. Did someone say international business expansion?

  3. Have a nap. Did you know that the average sleep cycle is 90 minutes11 and that sleeping for this time can boost creativity and memory 12 ?

  4. Search for a 90-minute recipe and get cooking/baking some good mood food.

  5. “I’ll often get more done in focused, highly-productive bursts so with just 90 minutes to squeeze a goal into, there’s no time to waste. There’s always plenty to choose from on my to-do list so the first thing I do is set a clear goal and remove any interruptions. I’ve always excelled under pressure because rather than let it stress me out; I allow that pressure to motivate and energise me to work, think and act quickly” - Sallee Poinsette-Nash: Founder, Tall Guides Magazine

    “Time spent outside and with my dog is the quickest way to get me out of ‘stressed & serious’. With 90 minutes to play with, I’ll ‘accidentally’ leave the phone on my desk and head straight out into nature with a coffee and my Frenchie, Lou Lou. I always come back recharged and happier so in my world, time spent with my dog is never time wasted!”

  6. Spin class followed by lunch – exercise and refuel!

  7. Watch five TED talks (they’re limited to 18 minutes long 13) and be totally inspired by amazing people, like inspiring business woman, mum and activist  Jules Chappell.

  8. “Take a break?!”, says Paddy Moogan, co- founder of digital marketing agency Aira.

    “More serious answer - I'd probably take the time to think about the business as a whole to try and see where we can improve. It's so easy to get sucked up in the day-to-day stuff which is important, but leads to the classic problem of working "in" the business rather than "on" it. Matt describes this as fire-fighting and it happens quite a lot.

    “So if I could block out 90 minutes, I'd put aside all the client/day-to-day stuff and think about what I can be doing to make Aira better. Whether that’s processes, hiring, HR, marketing, sales, admin etc. All of this stuff tends to just fit around the edges of regular work which is ok to a point, but not the best approach for the long term.”

  9. “This might sound like I'm being a bit crazy or self-indulgent but I think I’d stop and spend 60 mins of the 90 reflecting on things that I'm really proud of that we have done and things that I felt we did really well,” says James Rix, founder of StreetPR.

    “Why? Well because I think it’s really really easy as the boss to end up just dealing with and fixing problems and it’s not often you get the time to step back and look at all the good stuff you’ve done. Then I’d spend the final 30mins working out how I can re-create that good work for others and achieve more of it within my business.

    “In fact I think this would turn out to be a good way to spend a spare 90 mins - guess what I'm going to be doing when my next meeting cancels last minute…”

What will you do with the time you save by using contactless? Let us know @BcardBusiness.

1  https://www.home.barclaycard/insights/contactless/contactless-timeline.html

2 Online interviews were carried out with 509 retailers with 252 that accept contactless payments, in addition to 2,003 UK adults by Opinium research in July 2017.

*Development Economics estimated the value of time saved when customers use contactless technology by multiplying the potential increase in contactless transactions over the 2017-2021 period by the estimated average time saved per transaction. The overall number of hours saved was then converted into a monetary value using HM Government guidance on converting time savings into financial worth (£).

3 Online interviews were carried out with 509 retailers with 252 that accept contactless payments, in addition to 2,003 UK adults by Opinium research in July 2017.

*Development Economics estimated the value of time saved when customers use contactless technology by multiplying the potential increase in contactless transactions over the 2017-2021 period by the estimated average time saved per transaction. The overall number of hours saved was then converted into a monetary value using HM Government guidance on converting time savings into financial worth (£).

4 Calculated by multiplying the time saved using contactless versus cash by the number of days in the week, number of days in the month and number of days in the year.

All tested in the office!
6   https://water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html 
7 All tested in the office!
8 90 minutes playing time, plus 15 minutes for half time.
9   http://metro.co.uk/2015/08/25/new-spaceliner-plane-will-fly-from-london-to-sydney-in-90-minutes-5359689/
10  https://www.flight-durations.com/London-to-Sydney
11  http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/life/health-fitness/sleep-cycles-487097 (Mar 2017)
12  https://sleep.org/articles/how-long-to-nap/
13  https://www.inc.com/carmine-gallo/why-your-next-pitch-should-follow-teds-18-minute-rule.html (Feb 2017)

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