We could all use more of it these days, and who wouldn’t occasionally make a deal with the devil for a few more hours in the day? Time. It’s the small business owner’s most important commodity, yet it remains the most elusive. Especially when everyone needs do more with less, it’s vitally important to use the time you have wisely and efficiently.
Most of us know that having a schedule, and sticking to it works. But no matter how often we repeat that mantra, we can’t control the unexpected. As small business owners and entrepreneurs, we’ve taken the act of multi-tasking to a level rivaled only by a mom of quadruplets. But did you also know that something as simple as standing while on the telephone will help you get to the point of the call faster? Take a moment out of your busy schedule to peruse the following compilation of tips to improve productivity by using your time wisely.
1. Evaluate how you’re spending your time. Keep a diary of everything you do for three days to figure out exactly how you’re spending your time. Be honest, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly those “few minutes” add up to a large chunk of your day.
2. Prioritize. Prioritizing will make sure you spend your time and energy on those things that are most important to you and your business. By starting your day with the most important task, you will increase your productivity and get your day off to a good start.
3. Just Say No. Consider your goals and schedule before agreeing to take on additional work. It’s impossible to do everything. Remember, when you say yes to one thing you effectively say no to something else.
4. Get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. A healthy body = a healthy mind. Improve your focus, concentration and energy level by taking care of yourself from the inside out.
5. Write tomorrow’s “to-do” list TODAY. By writing out a list for tomorrow before you leave the office at night, you will have an immediate head-start on your next day and be ready for your new priorities.
6. Create a schedule- and stick to it. For example, if a meeting is scheduled for an hour, do everything possible to keep it to an hour. If necessary, download apps on your smartphone or tablet to keep you on schedule. Sometimes a simple “reminder” tone, alarm, etc., can help you move along.
7. Manage your email. Do NOT let it manage you! Get out of the habit of automatically opening an email when it comes in, therefore avoiding distractions. Set aside a specific time (or times) to open and answer emails.
8. Keep Social Media activity under control. For most of us, social media is a part of our daily personal lives, and has also become essential to our businesses. To save time, you have to control the urge to peruse the latest posts, especially those unrelated to your business. If it’s necessary to your business success to spend large pieces of time on social media, create separate accounts for business and personal use. ONLY view those essential to your business during business hours.
What tips do you have to help other small business owners manage their time?