If you always feel behind—and think the only way to stay on top of your business is to work non-stop—try these time management tips.
- Turn off technology. Yes, technology helps you get more done in less time, but emails, alerts, texts, Tweets and whatever else you’re linked to can be distracting. Unless you’re waiting for time-sensitive information, turn off technology (including your phone) for a period of time each day at the very least.
- Set boundaries. Schedule a period of time daily to work on a project. Once you’ve detached yourself from the never-ending buzz of technology, use that quiet time to work without interruption. The key, however, is to put this time on your schedule—treat it like a meeting or appointment you have to keep, otherwise you’ll be tempted to ignore it.
- Schedule strategically. Forging relationships with customers—new or old—is crucial to your business. But attending every meeting or networking event out there can take you away from performing some of the vital functions of that business. If you’re networking, but not working on budgeting or mentoring new staff, that could be far more detrimental to your business in the long run. When invited to such events, think strategically, choosing the ones that have the greatest potential for your business long-term.
- Quiet time. If you’re don’t normally get to work until 9 or 10 a.m., then you should rethink personal routines. Getting in early—before other staff or customers—will give you time to work when it’s quiet and without interruption. If you’re a professed night owl, perhaps staying late is what works better for you, but after a hard day dealing with everything and everyone else, you (and your mind) might not be up for hours of extra work.
- Itemize tasks. Translation: make a list of things to do. The oldest trick in the time management book, itemizing your tasks helps you visualize what’s on your plate and prioritize what needs to happen first, second, and so on. It’s also will create a sense of accomplishment each time you cross something off that list.
- Get help. Are you a control freak? Most would say “no” to that, but the truth is, it’s hard to for many small business owners to delegate. You’re possessive—it is your business—and you want things done right, but failure to let go of tasks that the staff you hired is competent enough to perform can be detrimental in the long run.