Running a business can be hectic, chaotic and unpredictable — one thing most small business owners could use more of is time. And since no one has perfected the time machine yet, business owners find themselves looking to better manage the time that they do have. Try these 5 time management tips for small business owners.
Start with the priorities.
Sure, starting with the most important may be obvious advice, but what, exactly, is the most important? Before you figure out how to better manage your time, you need to first sit down and figure out your goals, both long and short term. Identify the aspects you want to work on now, as well as a larger goal for the future. With your goals in mind, only then can you decide what’s truly a priority and what’s not. And once you set those priorities, don’t feel obligated to say yes to any opportunity that comes along, especially the ones that don’t line up with your goals.
Get — and stay — organised.
How much time do you loose looking for that spreadsheet you can’t quite place, or digging through desk drawers? Getting organised — and, most importantly, staying that way — can help open up more of your time. Create an organisation scheme that gives everything a place, both physical things and digital files. Be sure to keep that organisation up by returning everything to its proper place.
Use lists and schedules.
Organise more than just your office, but your time by using a something as simple as a list or a planner. With your priorities in mind, write out a list of what you need to accomplish today (or this week, if you prefer). But don’t just create a basic to-do list. Instead, write it in on a calendar, noting what time you’ll be working on what task. Scheduling specific tasks can help ensure those priorities aren’t forgotten. Note your own work habits — if you tend to be more alert in the morning, for example, schedule your most important tasks during that time frame. If you find yourself more energetic after lunch, schedule the big items in that time slot instead.
What tasks are you regularly tackling that could be instead relegated to employees? Small business owners are often DIYers at the start, but as you grow, you need to adjust that mentality. Train an employee in the tasks that are taking up lots of time, but don’t fit with your priorities
Take advantage of software.
What tasks are you doing regularly that technology could better manage for you instead? Set up auto pay for business bills. Create templates for the types of emails you send out most and copy and paste the text instead of spending all that time composing a new email for a question you’ve answered hundreds of times. Besides allowing technology to actually cross some items off the to-do list for you, take advantage of tools like auto reminders, and, if you find yourself distracted, set screentime limits on your smartphone to lock out of certain apps after you’ve used them for a specific amount of time.