Running a small business is no walk in the park. Between taking care of clients, managing web presence, working with your employees, general administration tasks, and chasing leads, you tend to constantly have a lot on your plate. As a manager or small business owner, your day to day life and business responsibilities can get pretty hectic. Poor time management can make stressful situations more stressful, and lead to problems, mistakes, and no work-life balance.
While there’s not a lot you can do in terms of reducing your workload and making yourself busy, managing your time well can make things run smoothly and help your responsibilities feel like less of a burden. By making sure your time is well managed, you will be able to be the most productive version of yourself and get much more done than before, leading to less of the “I need more hours in the day” internal dialogue throughout your work week.
Here are some of the best time management tips that will help to boost your productivity.
1- Avoid Multitasking
While multitasking– jumping from task to task- can seem like a good idea when you’re pressed for time, it can actually make completing tasks more difficult, reducing your overall productivity. Shifting between a number of different things all at once requires your brain to adjust quickly to new tasks, reducing focus levels and leading to careless mistakes you’ll just have to spend time correcting later on.
Focusing on a single task for a shorter amount of time is a smarter method of time management than working on multiple tasks for long periods of time. Remember, trying to take care of a task while also checking and replying to emails every few minutes is still multitasking and is still taking away from your productivity! Save the emails until after you’ve finished your task.
2- Make a daily to do list and stick to it
You should begin each work day with a list of goals to be accomplished for the day and commit your day to accomplishing those goals only. Without a clear set of tasks at the beginning of the day, you can meander through your day, touching on multiple tasks, but never fully completing any. Making a bulleted list of things to get done or creating an hour by hour breakdown are great ways to keep your day structured and organized.
3- Use an online organizer to keep track of multiple clients, deadlines, and projects
Online project managers, which help you to keep track of multiple projects, deadlines, and clients, can help you to stay organized when you have a lot of moving parts. Getting bogged down and confused by all of the different things you need to accomplish for different clients can seriously inhibit your productivity. Online organizers like Asana and Monday can keep you organized so that you can better organize and manage your work week.
4- Experiment with different productivity methods
Humans are always searching for ways to become more productive, ways to get more done in a short 24 hour day. A popular productivity/ time management method is The Pomodoro Technique. Developed in the late 1980’s, The Pomodoro Technique consists of setting a timer for 25 minutes, working on a task with undivided attention for those 25 minutes, stopping and taking a 5 minute break when the timer rings. Then, you restart the process all over again. After you’ve had four consecutive 25 minute interval sessions, also known as pomodoros, you then take a longer 15 to 30 minute break. This technique allows you to maintain freshness of the mind and not become burnt out from staring at one project or task for hours on end.
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5- Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks
Anyone who’s skilled in time management delegates tasks. It’s one of the best ways to simply have more time. By handing off tasks and duties to someone else, you are able to make more time for yourself, your own tasks, or urgent tasks. While it can be hard to relinquish control, as long as you learn the right way to delegate, and avoid micromanaging, delegating tasks can be the ultimate time management tool.
6- Automate what you can
We live in such a technologically advanced world these days, there is almost nothing you can’t automate. From social media posts to email newsletters to web updates and more, you can automate just about every aspect of your business. Imagine how long it takes for you to go into social media, decide what to post to keep your account active, create a post, a caption, and a photo (depending on the platform). Now imagine how much time you’d save if you used a social media automation tool to post. This is just one example of an aspect of your business that can be automated for efficiency and better time management.
7-Identify and Eliminate Time Wasters
This goes hand in hand with automation and delegation. Identify what you take time out of your daily tasks to complete, identify things that are wasting your time. Perhaps it’s your social media management. Maybe it’s running tech support in the office because the wifi went out for the third time this week. Or maybe it takes you 30 minutes to refill the ink cartridges in the printer each week. Or how it takes you over a month to figure out the accounting and taxes for your business. Whatever it is that’s wasting your time, eliminate it! Outsource these jobs to other people, delegate tasks to your employees. You can improve your time management tremendously just by removing time wasting tasks from your to do list.
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8- Learn to live by the 80/20 rule
The 80/20 rule is one of the most helpful methods of time management. The method essentially states that 20 percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results. What does this mean in terms of time management? Let’s put it in terms of a to-do list. The rule suggests that two out of ten items on that to do list will turn out to be worth more than the other eight items put together. But where does the problem come in? Often, people will procrastinate on the top 20% of tasks, known as the important “vital few”, while wasting their time on the other 80%, or the “trivial many”.
To fully harness the time management capabilities of the 80/20 rule, you will need to apply it to your everyday work life. To do this, each day, take a look at your to do list. Now ask yourself, if you could only accomplish one of the goals on that list today, which one goal would be the most important, most productive, make the most impact? Then continue to ask yourself that question after each task is crossed off of your to-do list. Get ready to see massive productivity results after starting this method.
9- Organize your workspace
A cluttered workspace can lead to a cluttered mind, which slows productivity and leads to procrastination, confusion, laziness and mistakes. Make sure all areas of your workspace are clean and organized to maximize productivity and improve your overall work experience.
10- Don’t procrastinate!
Procrastination is the polar opposite of productivity and quality time management. Procrastination is the enemy. Oftentimes, we find ourselves procrastinating because the thought of starting a task, especially a large one, or the first one on a large to do list, is too daunting for us to even want to begin. A way to combat this is to just dive right in. Don’t think, just start working. Sounds easier than it actually is, right? A fun method to get yourself to just jump right into a project is to count backwards from 5. Once you finish the countdown, you have to get up, or put down the phone, or stop doing whatever you were doing to procrastinate. This countdown method really works, so next time you find yourself procrastinating, give it a try.
Now that you’re equipped with the 10 best time management tips for business owners, you’re on your way to becoming a more productive, more organized, less stressed version of yourself! Try these tips, tricks, and techniques, get ready to watch your productivity soar like never before.