When you own a small business you are an extremely busy person; everything about the business is your responsibility, which means your time and attention are constantly in demand. Let’s take a look at seven real world tips and time management techniques to help you gain more control and efficiency in your work efforts.
Technique #1 – Track your use of time:
Carry a small notebook with you and for one full week keep track of how you’re using your time. It takes a few extra moments at a time to capture this information, but at the end of the week you’ll be better able to see where your time is being spent and spot areas where you can make changes to be more efficient and/or effective.
Technique #2 – Establish goals for managing your time:
Once you have an idea of where your time is being spent you can set real, specific goals for making improvement. You might set a goal of reducing the time you spend responding to emails, for instance, or cutting back on the amount of time you spend on personal phone calls.
Technique #3 – Establish a time management system:
Small business owners often find themselves pulled in many different directions at the same time which makes it very easy to get distracted from the really important things you need to do each day. Set up a time management system to minimize these distractions, such as returning voice mail at a particular time each day, empowering your employees to make more decisions, or the like.
Technique #4 – Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise:
It is often said that 80% of your time is spent dealing with 20% of the activities related to your business, and this is absolutely true. Make a point of setting priorities about which activities are most important and/or most profitable, and then be sure those activities receive the majority of your time and attention.
Technique #5 – Delegate and outsource whenever possible:
When you first started your small business you were probably the only employee and had to do everything yourself. As your business has grown, however, it has become more and more difficult to take care of all of that stuff efficiently. You can improve your time management practices by evaluating which tasks and activities could be delegated and/or outsourced and then taking the steps necessary to take those actions.
Technique #6 – Set a routine and stick to it:
The most successful small business owners understand that they use their time most effectively when they set up a daily/weekly/monthly routine and stick to it. This helps to ensure tasks and activities are handled regularly, and when the inevitable crisis erupts you are in a much better position to safely deal with that crisis knowing the other aspects of your business are up to date and under control.
Technique #7 – Allow down time to think and plan:
This is perhaps the best time management technique of all because it allows you to step away from the day to day necessities of running your business and on a regular basis take the time to think and plan for the future. Down time is important for letting your mind rest and refresh itself so that your creativity can come through more easily.