Small business editor Caitlin Sykes this week interviews a handful of small business owners about work hacks.

Samantha Gadd is the founder and managing director of human resources firm HR Shop, which has offices in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

What are the particular challenges you face in terms of working smarter, not harder as a business owner?

During the last three-and-a-half years, since starting HR Shop, the hours I've needed to put in to get things off the ground have been significant. Just the number of emails I get and the level of face-to-face meetings I have every day means that evenings are often set aside for catching up.

So what kind of hours do you generally work each week?

I generally work between 55 and 65 hours on any given week.


Time management must be pretty important for you given the heavy workload. What are some practical things you do to manage your time effectively?

I've tended to stack my days with all of the face-to-face and time dependant meetings I need to do, and then do my admin and follow-ups after hours, because I can do these from home or anywhere else. I also keep on top of emails daily. I've found that letting them build up just creates more stress so I quickly deal to the ones I can, and delete or archive as I go. Then I tend to block time in my diary for chunks of strategic work. That means I can concentrate on what needs to be done without being distracted.

We now use cloud-based systems for everything from file management, time recording, finance, sales, quoting, and internal comms.