Time Management Tips For Small Business Owners – So little time, yet so much to do? Small business owners know that feeling all too well. When you’re starting small, owners do all the heavy lifting when it comes to getting the work done.
And with only 24 hours in a day, completing your tasks efficiently may seem like a tall order. It becomes a balancing act of prioritizing your relationships, hobbies, and even rest. That’s why it’s crucial to build your time management skills.
How Can You Manage Your Time As A Small Business Owner?
Have you been working long hours, only to find that you’re still pressed for time? If yes, then you might need to manage your time better. By following these time management tips below, you’ll be able to manage your hours more wisely – improving your productivity and well-being.
Keep A To-Do List
A basic time management tip you should be following is keeping a to-do list. With the responsibilities that come with running your own business, it’s easy to lose track of the things you have to do.
Whether it’s a meeting with that important client or an urgent email that you have to get back to, it’s an absolute must to list down everything you need to do.
Once you’ve listed these down, it’s time to cluster them. This allows you to group similar tasks together to create a more efficient work flow.
It’s a far better alternative than scattering your tasks throughout the day, which reduces productivity.
Create A Schedule
Listing your individual tasks may be important, but creating a schedule for accomplishing them is as important. Keeping your tasks scheduled is a great way to organize your day and maintain efficiency in your workplace.
Organize your time based on your priorities – know which ones are urgent or important. Most importantly, choose a type of schedule that works for you! For others, this may mean an hourly breakdown of tasks to do, while others do just fine with a simple to-do list.
Ultimately, the goal is to keep your days structured, especially if you’ve been having issues with time management.
Track Your Time
To manage your time effectively, one of the best ways to start is to track the amount of time you spend on each task. Having a starting point makes it a lot easier to adjust your schedule. You can start doing this daily – the more data points you have, the more accurate your average measurements are.
By tracking your time, you can determine time wasters and make the necessary adjustments to spend less time on those tasks. Similarly, time-tracking can help you discover your most productive time of day. If you’re a morning person, schedule your more demanding tasks in the morning.
Or if you get energized from your lunch breaks, schedule tasks that require more attention during the afternoon. Use this information to your advantage if you want to get the job done. You won’t regret it.
Take Short Breaks
The idea may be difficult to grasp, but managing your time doesn’t have to mean working 24/7. Sometimes it means taking a short nap between tasks in your to-do-lists, or even going for a short afternoon walk after lunch. It helps to stay away from your blue-lit screens once in a while if you want to be more productive.
In fact, it’s a perfect way to start your tasks with a blank slate so you can face your tasks head-on with a fresh perspective. If your time management tricks haven’t been working, give this a try! You’ll see how breaks are crucial to your productivity.
But be careful! While taking breaks can increase productivity, you have to be aware of the time you spend on your breaks. It helps to set a timer so your breaks are limited and controlled. That way, you don’t overwork yourself while also getting enough time to yourself — it’s a win-win, really.
Take your time to find out what keeps you distracted. Is it endlessly scrolling through your social media feeds? Or frequent snack breaks? Either way, distractions are always there in the workplace. Take note of what keeps you and your workers distracted and actively reduce these to a minimum.
For example, if you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through the web browser, a focus app can prevent you from doing so. Alternatively, you can choose to block specific URLs in your browser. Snack breaks can be scheduled in between your working hours to reduce the monotony of work – but it’s important to keep this fixed in your schedule.
And if you’re the type who takes an eternity replying to emails, set a personal time limit on answering them. In case you haven’t considered it yet, try using templates for your business processes so you can speed things up.
Whether it’s a template for accepting business offers or cold emailing, everyone can agree that templates make our lives much easier.
Organize Your Working Space
When you’re stretched too thin with all your tasks, you sometimes overlook other aspects of your day-to-day life. An often neglected aspect is the workspace. You may not realize it, but if you want to be a more effective time manager, organizing your space can do wonders to increase productivity.
A messy space means losing files. That means having difficulty retrieving important documents the moment you need them the most. It’s a hassle, isn’t it? Set yourself a schedule, perhaps every week, for cleaning your workspace.
Many people underestimate the power of clean working space. Unsurprisingly, it clears your mind, allowing you to work more productively.
To organize your working area, you can even use color-coded folders to easily find documents the moment you need them.
Delegate Your Tasks
Small business owners understand the struggle of carrying a lot of weight on their shoulders. But that doesn’t mean that you have to do everything alone. As the saying goes, no man is an island. Business owners must learn how to delegate tasks effectively.
Find someone in your workplace who you can trust when given a certain task, especially if you think they can do it efficiently. There’s no harm in asking for help! Other owners might not have the budget to increase the workforce, and that’s completely understandable for any small business.
Thankfully, there’s a solution to that – you can offer course credits to college students or outsource freelance contractors.
Do Not Multitask
It’s easy to fall into the trap of multitasking, especially if you’re a business owner who feels that you have a million things to do all at once. If you’ve been multitasking your way throughout the week, you might have to think twice about doing so.
It may seem like this practice increases productivity, but the truth is it might actually be doing more harm than good. Here’s a tip: take it one step at a time. When you focus more on accomplishing individual tasks, you can guarantee that they’re done correctly.
Meanwhile, switching up your tasks every now and then distracts you from completing the task at hand – resulting in low-quality work. Not to mention it’s quite taxing too! Imagine meeting a strict deadline and after a last-minute review, you realize your work is filled with errors.
That places you in a stressful situation! You’ll be thanking yourself later when you learn to do things one at a time.
Harness The Power Of Technology
The rapid growth of technology is definitely a double-edged sword. While it makes small business owners a lot busier, it has also streamlined business processes.
Automating your business processes is mainly about finding which software works with your business operations, and its capability to reduce your workload. But before you do that, you must first identify which process would benefit from automation.
If you consume too much time monitoring your interactions with customers, let CRM software do the work for you. Customer service is especially crucial to client-facing businesses, yet its analysis can be time-consuming.
Or if you’re having difficulty maintaining your social media presence, consider automating your social media posts. This allows you to post during peak hours to maximize engagement with your customers.
Plus, it ensures that your brand is consistent across all social media platforms.
Why Is Time Management Critical For Small Business Owners?
Time is of the essence, especially for small business owners. As the most important person in your organization, time management is crucial for several reasons. First, time is a scarce resource – so why not make the most of it?
By knowing your priorities, you complete the critical tasks much more quickly. The result? A clearer mind to help you make better decisions! It results in less stress on your part – who wouldn’t want that?
In addition, if your daily operations flow smoothly you can allocate your resources to expanding your business. Businesses in competitive industries, in particular, greatly benefit from better time management.
Launching new products or features can be time-sensitive – that’s why getting things done at the right time can spell the difference between success and failure.
At the end of the day, be reminded that you are human, and not a machine. Limited workforce aside, it’s still possible to succeed as an entrepreneur provided that you up your time management game.
Note that this isn’t something that you can easily change with the snap of your fingers. Practising your time management skills can take some time, so it’s best to take it one step at a time.
Build these practices into habits, and eventually, you’ll see the results – both in your professional and personal life.