Small business owners will always feel there are not enough hours in the day. Demands on time and things needing 'urgent' attention always seem to pop up. Staying organized and managing time can seem difficult. Business will suffer if things get out of hand, but once a routine is established, it is very easy to stick with.
These tips may help with ways to manage time effectively:
- Keep a time log for one or two weeks and record the amount of time spent on each task. Results may prove very interesting and contrary previous assumption.
- Stick to daily tasks, it's easy to be driven by what appears in the e-mail box.
- Try not to check e-mails more than twice a day, unless a necessary e-mail is expected. Constantly open e-mail accounts interrupt the train of thought every time mail arrives.
- Prioritize activities and get essential issues dealt with first. It's easy to focus on the quick and easy and keep putting-off the more challenging. Leaving things undone will just take mental energy to remember to do them later. There's a lot to be said for the old adage “don't put off till tomorrow what should be done today”.
- Manage interruptions with an open/closed office door policy. Open door; come in. Closed door; no interruptions.
- Keep a list of tasks:
- To do today
- To do this week
- To do this month
- Create and manage the list electronically but have one handy on paper as well. It is often quicker to mark off daily tasks, or add to them without opening list files. Don't create lots of different lists otherwise half the time will be used managing the lists rather than getting the tasks completed.
- Build in some free time every day, 4-5 fifteen minute breaks throughout the day is recommended for people who spend a lot of time at computers. Do not compromise on your break time, always take time for a break. Move away from the work area, walk around, talk, get some fresh air or just take time to refresh thoughts and perspective on tasks.
- If you travel to work, make the most of each journey by taking public transport, where possible, which gives time to read documents or make phone calls on the way.
- Delegate tasks, even hand over whole projects. If staff have been selected well, trusting them to get jobs done should not be a problem. Staff will thrive with more visibility and responsibility. It's not hard to think we are the only ones who can get a job done properly, but it isn't always true. Any successful business is about solid teamwork.