Ask someone – anyone – how they’re doing. More likely than not, the answer you’ll receive is “busy” or “crazy”.
It’s true that we all have many things to accomplish in a given day. However, it’s also true that in many cases, our own poor time management isn’t helping. Here are a few ways we as business owners can better utilize our time.
1) Stop multitasking You can’t work and watch TV. You can’t talk on the phone and write an email. These things require your full attention. Humans are bad multi-taskers. Focus on what you’re doing and it will get done faster and with better quality.
2) Delegate There are many, many tasks that require your individual attention. Others can be outsourced. If you’re pressed for time and you find a task you can outsource, do it. Get rid of anything that doesn’t need your direct attention (and that’s relatively cost effective).
3) Touch it Once If something comes your way that you can do immediately, do it. Just do it and it will be done! Then you can move on to other tasks that require more of your energy. Without letting little things pile up you’ll find yourself with more time for big projects and – surprise! – maybe even some time for yourself.
4) Say No Have a project that’s not a good fit for you? Or that you just flat out do not have time for? Say no. Trying to complete a project that’s a wrong fit or which you don’t have time for will more likely than not result in lots of stress and a poor end project. Which, in return, earns you a poor reputation. It’s just not worth it. In the words of the great Ron Swanson, “Don’t half ass two things, whole ass one thing.”
5) Get Outside When it comes to time management, most tips focus on how to do more things. I think you should do fewer things (which is why you should say no more often). You know those moments when you’re about to scream? Take a ten minute walk. Get outside, get moving and your blood pressure will likely drop. When you return to your work, this will result in you being more focused and produce higher quality work. Take a break to get better work accomplished – it’s counter intuitive but it works.
6) Get Some Sleep For goodness sake, get some sleep. Get it now. Your brain, your body and your business cannot function well without you sleeping. And if you have employees who are up all hours of the night? Hire them some help or spread out their workload. They cannot be effective (or pleasant) when they haven’t slept. Contrary to popular belief, sleep is not for the weak. Sleep is for the strong.
7) Have a Single Calendar Whenever I try to maintain multiple calendars (i.e. This is for family and this is for work!) things end up double booked. You need to be able to see at a glance what’s going on so you can schedule everything appropriately.
8) Take Written Notes There is nothing worse than leaving a meeting confident about your plan and your to dos, only to revisit them a few hours later and find your memories aren’t as clear and crisp as you’d like them to be. Taking written notes helps you remember things and also provides an excellent reference when needed. It’s worth the time to write things down whenever possible.
Being able to effectively manage your time let’s you take on the right projects while still having time for your family and yourself. Plus, you get to sleep which is pretty awesome.
Have any additional time management and productivity tips for small business owners?