“How did it get so late so soon”
Time is precious, especially when it comes to running your own small business. Yet there are never more than 24 hours in a day. Some entrepreneurs respond to this fact of life with focus and purpose. Others freak out!
Are you the type to freak out? You don’t have to be. With the right plan of attack, you can work efficiently, productively, and relatively stress-free.
Here are eight tips for effectively managing your time:
1. Know your goals.
Make sure you’re engaging in activities that support your short and long term business goals. Everything else has the ability to be time-waster. Your daily plan should revolve around working on tasks and activities that directly relate to generating income and growing your business.
2. Prioritize wisely.
Stephen Covey, co-author of First Things First, offers an organizational tool for your to-do list based on how important and urgent tasks are:
- Important and urgent — Tasks that must be done. Do them right away.
- Important but not urgent — Tasks that appear important, but upon closer examination aren’t. Decide when to do them.
- Urgent but not important — Tasks that make the most commotion but when accomplished, have little or no lasting value. Delegate these if possible.
- Not urgent and not important — Tasks that are low-priority stuff that offer the illusion of ‘just looking busy” Do them later.
Write down your three or four important and urgent tasks that must be addressed today. As you complete each one, check it off your list. This will provide you with a sense of accomplishment and can motivate you to tackle less essential items.
3. Just say no.
You’re the boss – Just say no! If you have to decline a request in order to attend to what’s truly important and urgent, do not hesitate to do so. The same goes for any projects or activities that you’ve decided are headed nowhere: Be prepared to move on to more productive tasks.
4. Plan ahead
One of the worst things you can do is jump into the workday with no clear idea about what needs to get done. The time you spend thinking ahead and planning your activities is unimportant compared with the time you’ll lose jumping from one thing to the next with rarely completing anything. Try these options:
- The night before — At the end of the day, take 15 minutes to clear your desk and put together a list of the next day’s most pressing tasks. It’s a great stress release technique, and you’ll feel better sitting down at a clean desk in the morning.
- First thing in the morning — Arrive a few minutes early and assemble your prioritized to-do list. This may prove to be the most productive part of your day.
5. Eliminate distractions.
Start paying attention to the number of times someone interrupts you when you’re in the middle of an important task. Track self-induced interruptions, too, particularly those of the social media variety. Your smartphone is extremely useful, but it’s also addictive and among the most sneaky time-wasters known to mankind. It may take an exercise in will power, but shut the door and turn off your phone to maximize your time. Make sure you plan a break in the day to catch up on email, call people back, talk with staff.
6. Delegate more often.
If you’ve done your job of hiring talented, dedicated employees, there’s always more work that could be delegated to staff leaving less on your desk. Running a successful small business depends upon the owner’s ability to think about what lies ahead and not get lost in day-to-day operations.
7. Watch what you spend.
How many productive minutes are you packing in each week? Use a simple time sheet log to quickly and easily clock in and out of various tasks or projects throughout the day. Then generate real-time report to see exactly where you’re spending your most valuable “prime time” — and where it’s being wasted.
8. Take care of yourself.
Be sure to get plenty of sleep, exercise and drink plenty of water. An alert mind is a high-functioning mind and one that’s less tolerant of time-wasting activities.
Peace & Harmony ~ Cheryl