Jess Williamson - Feb 7, 2020

The Expend guide to taking the leap and winning back a day

Expend's guide to winning back a day, regardless of the leap year and making space every month to get your resolutions back on track so you can have the business, and the life, you’ve been working towards.

We all know it- that sense of expectation as we start a new year, keen to knock bad habits and build up some healthier ones, yet by mid January, we’ve thrown out the new sleeping pattern in favour of comfort food and the latest binge watch (anyone else oddly addicted to YOU?) Why is it that new habits can be so hard to implement? Do you find it easier to compartmentalise work from life? Well, if you do- that’s great, but for the rest of us out here, we’re still checking our work emails just before bed, and scrolling through personal social media when we should be reviewing next month’s budget. 

That’s why we thought, since we have to squeeze an extra working day into our calendars, WHAT IF we tried utilising our time so that we could get that extra day back, and if we do it well, possibly every month? A day to be used to its full potential, and not be bogged down in repetitive, frustrating, menial tasks. Instead of arguing with your outdated spreadsheet, you could switch your method, clearing more time in the diary for client meetings. Rather than being placed on hold for the 48th time by your loan advisor, opt for seeking fresher, faster loan modals more suited to your business, releasing you to spend more face to face time with clients. So, what if the goals we set for the next 4 weeks could then be implemented regularly, allowing you to claim back a day every month to do what you would like to be doing, both in business and in life in general. 

Here at Expend, we know we have already made expenses as easy as possible, with the hassle of digging out the old receipt shoebox in a month-end panic or suffering a personal cash loss because you forgot to log the company car’s mileage and didn’t pick up a receipt at the petrol station, happily a thing of the past. So with expenses ticked off your list, what about the rest? We posed the question to some of our Marketplace friends and they came back with examples on how they utilise time, resulting in more time for the fun stuff.

So when it comes to business loans, most small business owners want to run for the hills or hide under the duvet at the thought of the lengthy hoop jumping required by traditional banking. Capitalise have broken through, much like the sun on a foggy morning, and are shining a light on how simple business loads really can be. No need to set aside weeks with your personal banker, simply browse through over 100 loan providers to find what best suits you. Or better yet, chat to one of their friendly members of staff and cut out the screen time- what a win!

Eloise, a member of the Digital Marketing team at Capitalise, is a strong believer in clearing time for a power hour. She says, “As I know I’m most productive in the morning, my work power hour is between 9.30-10.30, by which point I have settled in, caught up with emails, slack notifications and our online, social community. I then block out that hour to smash out any particular tasks I’ve stacked up from the previous day. I prioritise my tasks first thing and, having highlighted any blockers with my team in our morning stand up meeting, I have a list of things I can get on with during my power hour. It’s amazing how much you can get done with a full hour, music on and head down. If I’ve managed to keep these hours to myself, my to-do list is shorter and my day far more proactive”.

Maybe you feel your day is snagged to pieces before you even make it to the office due to your commute. Cut the hassle of tactical train catching for cheaper fares and allow Commuter Club to get you the best prices, so no more queuing for monthly renewals or trying to pick the right train for the fare, and rather just breeze off the train straight into those all important meetings. 

Commuter Club’s Head of Partnerships and Sales, Hiten, splits his day up to ensure he keeps a good balance, explaining that he tends to keep non-work related matters to set times in the day to ensure all work tasks are completed in a timely fashion. “Pre and post work commute, and lunch time tends to be time to focus on personal things. This way, my life isn’t consumed by work but rather split up nicely to ensure a balance. I arrive at work at 08:00-08:15 and leave on time at 17:30, which has led me to be efficient in the time I am here and I go to the gym every lunch to ensure I clear my mind and keep fit, which in a sales role is a must as it can be stressful, so a release really helps”.

If it’s more a matter of running your business from various coffee shops or from the road, FreeAgent allow you to send off an invoice, check on cash flow, and stay on top of your tax from anywhere.

Emily, their Chief Accountant, notes that a lot can be gained from using up ‘dead time’: that spent on the way to or from meetings, waiting for a train, or even waiting for the kettle to boil, for example, “if you’re waiting for a train to a client meeting, can you photograph your ticket and upload it into your accounts then and there so you won’t have to search for the receipt later on? It’s also a good idea to dedicate a specific block of time every week for important admin tasks like managing your accounts, placing orders and responding to requests from suppliers. These may not be the most enjoyable parts of running a business, but they’re nevertheless incredibly important and can quickly snowball out of control.”

Regardless of how your business works, we know that implementing just a few of these tips will help you win back a day:

  • Set aside a ‘work power hour’
  • If it’s a menial task, like submitting expenses, chances are it can be automated, so automate it
  • Know how best you work, and divide your day up appropriately
  • Make use of the spare minutes or 'dead time' to save hours later on
  • Don't borrow happiness and time from tomorrow, a tired you is never going to be able to work at 100%

Ultimately, small changes can make a big difference, and if you keep them realistic and achievable, you’ll be winning back that day a month, and not setting yourself up to fail. At Expend, we all got too fed up with receipts to allow them any more time in our pockets, and our partners in the Marketplace have been passionately trying to make other aspects of your life easier too. We want to make your business work for you, and even if you just implement one change, by the end of a month we reckon we would have a whole, free day to do as we wish- here’s to living out the rest of 2020 well!

Learn more about our Expend Marketplace featuring VAT IT, Commuter Club, FreeAgent and more.



Written by Jess Williamson