Struggle with Time Management as a business owner?
Time Management for a business owner is always challenging when running a business. So the best way to make the most of your time is not just to master time management… But to also leverage your time to become more productive without putting in extra hours.
Below I’ve compiled the best time management tips that I have been using for years and also teach my clients how to use and implement. Just a few small tweaks to your day and normal routine can make all the difference.
Planning Ahead Time Management Tips
TIP 1. Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan out your entire day. And, don’t start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time.
TIP 2. Get in the habit of setting time limits for tasks. For instance, reading and answering emails can consume your whole day if you let it. Instead, set limits of intervals during the day. Make sure you allocate time to respond by setting an alarm. Or prioritise importance to respond to e-mails, then move onto projects, other work needing attention.
TIP 3. Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the day and where your precious moments are going. You’ll see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations, and actions.
TIP 4. Re-condition the expectations of others as to your availability and their claim on your time. For example, use an activity planner to help you justify why you and not others should be prioritising your activities and time.
Limiting Activity & Availability Tips
TIP 5. Put up a “Do not disturb” sign when you absolutely have to get work done.
TIP 6. Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing. As well as, replying to e-mails just because they show up. Ensure you disconnect instant messaging. More specifically, don’t instantly give people your attention unless it’s crucial in your business to offer an immediate human response. Instead, schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls.
TIP 7. Any activity or conversation that’s important to your success should have a time assigned to it. As we know, To-do lists get longer and longer to the point where they’re unworkable. However, appointment books do work. As you can schedule appointments with yourself and create time blocks for high-priority thoughts, conversations, and actions. Schedule when they will begin and end and have the discipline to keep these appointments.
TIP 8. Always probe deadlines to establish the true situation. People asking you to do things will often say ‘now’ when ‘later today’ would be perfectly acceptable. Therefore, try to appeal to the other person’s own sense of time management. It’s impossible for anyone to do a good job without the opportunity to plan and prioritise.
TIP 9. Try to minimise the time that you are available to take unplanned phone calls. Unless you are in a customer-facing, reactive role, you must plan some time-slots when you are not available. If not, you will never get anything important and pro-active done.
TIP 10. The more senior you are the more selective you need to be about when to be available to receive phone calls. Try to manage your emails and phone calls – don’t let them manage you. Ideally, check at planned times, and avoid checking in on continuous notifications of incoming emails.
Organisation & Preparation Time Management Tips
TIP 11. Be sure your systems are organised. For instance, are you wasting a lot of time looking for files on your computer? If so, take the time to organise a file management system. Is your filing system slowing you down? Then redo it, so it’s organised to the point that you can quickly lay your hands on what you need.
TIP 12. Take five minutes before every call and task to decide what result you want to attain. By doing so, you know what success looks like before you start. And it will also slow time down. Furthermore, take five minutes after each call/activity to determine whether your desired result was achieved. If not, what was missing? How do you put what’s missing in your next call or activity?
TIP 13. Don’t waste time waiting. From client meetings to dentist appointments, it’s impossible to avoid waiting for someone or something. But you don’t need to just sit there and twiddle your thumbs. For instance, always take something to do with you. Such as a report or business magazine you need to read. Or even just a blank pad of paper that you can use to plan your next marketing campaign. Technology makes it easy to work wherever you are; your iPad and/or cell phone will help you stay connected.
Planning Ahead Time Management Tips
TIP 14. Plan to spend at least 50% of your time engaged in thoughts, activities and conversations that produce most of your results. Ask yourself is this activity beneficial to where I want to be?
TIP 15. Mute social media and app notifications on your phone to help you avoid getting distracted. Furthermore, turn on the ‘do not disturb’ feature on your iPhone. This feature mutes all messages, calls, and notifications. You only see them when you unlock your phone and see what notifications have come through. If you can’t trust yourself around constant app notifications, then place your phone in the other room. If it is away from you, you can focus on the task at hand.
TIP 16. Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done. As a result, remember 20% of your thoughts, conversations, and activities produce 80% of your results.
FREE Downloadable Template
Implementing these tips will utilise your time more productively, but you will also notice an increase of time to work ON your business and less time working IN it.
To help you maximise your time, download our free Daily Time Management Plan template.
Need some help or assistance? If you’d like to find out more or discuss customised time management strategies personalised for your business, feel free to give us a call on +64 9 476 9407, pop a message into the form below or e-mail us at [email protected]