When we chat to small business owners, and more importantly small business owners who are operationally driven, the most common challenge they highlight is a lack of time. Time to get to all the tasks, time for all the meetings that don’t necessarily lead to sales, time for family, as well as time spent doing a task they lack the expertise in, but can’t always afford a professional to do it for them.
Being an entrepreneur or your own boss, is a dream for many, but does come` with a huge amount of responsibility as well as need to be disciplined. If you want to maintain a work-life balance, you will need to master your time management skills, so as to ensure you are in control of your time, you work as efficiently as possible and make your life as stress-free as possible.
The following time management tips can help ensure you get your work done when you’re in the office, or at least during office hours if you work remotely, so you can enjoy your time away from work as well.
1. Set yourself goals
Goal setting is vital to good time management. If you have set yourself and your business short-, medium-, and long-term goals, make sure that they are clearly defined, and are attainable, yet still stretching yourself. If your goal is unclear or ambiguous, it makes it difficult to start, and you can easily be overwhelmed. “Get more clients” is not a clear goal, make it specific, how many clients, what type of clients, what areas etc. Also include a time frame to hold yourself accountable to.
Once you’ve set your goals and determined the daily or weekly tasks you need to complete, it’s time to prioritize these.
Many people have different ways of doing this:
- Most urgent first
- Most difficult first
- Start with the smallest ones, so you cross them off the to-do-list
- Choose the one you are in the right headspace for and start there
- Start with the job that is most profitable
No matter how you choose to select the tasks, it is important to ensure you hold yourself accountable to these deadlines.
3. Remove distractions
A great way to see if you are the type of person who loses time because of the distractions you have around you, is to self-track how many times you stop mid-task, due to some form of an interruption. Social media, a quick chat with a friend, watching TV or a movie while working, digital notifications popping up etc. are just some of the time thieves you may find.
A great suggestion is instead of being “always on”, plan set breaks in your day to catch up on e-mail, make phone calls, go online, check social media etc. This default diary allows you to focus when needed, and remove potential distractions.
4. Get enough R and R
It is vital that you allocate some free time each day to spend on the people and things you love. Yes you love your business and it pays the bills, but spending time outside of your business is important for your mental health, and can help keep you energized and passionate about your work, it also helps to keep things in perspective. The same can be said for getting enough sleep and exercise. We have heard it all before, and there are enough medical studies to back it up. With regular, restful sleep and the right type of regular exercise, you will see improved concentration, sharpen memory, speed up your ability to learn, and even lower your stress levels.
5. Plan ahead
It might seem like a waste of time to take a few minutes to think ahead rather than getting straight down to business, you’ll be surprised at how much more efficient you can be just by dedicating some time to planning out the day.
If you plan wisely, you can focus on one task at a time, rather than wasting time jumping from one thing to the next (and rarely completing anything). This allows you to work smarter, not harder.
Crafted by Chris Midgley