In order to be efficient in your business, mastering time management is essential. It can be difficult to establish and follow good time management skills, but by creating few simple habits, you can conquer this challenge and become more proficient and more profitable in your business.
Of course, sometimes disruptions arise that can’t be avoided. But following the tips listed below should help you gain control of your time:
1. Keep Track of Your Time:
Do you know how your time is currently being used? If you don’t know how you are managing your time now, you won’t know where and how to better utilize it. Track your time for about 2 weeks, keeping to your usual routine, including everything you do in your day from start to finish.
Over this period of time, you should see patterns emerge, and will be able to see where you are wasting time, where you are maintaining, and where you are spending precious time doing unnecessary repetitive tasks. After about 2 weeks, you should have a clear idea of what you need to do each day, things that can be eliminated, and just how much you can expect to accomplish each day.
We are all much more productive when we have an idea of what we need to do. First of all, it is easier to see what tasks we must tend to, and secondly, a list will hold us accountable – even if it is just to ourselves.
At the end of each day, prepare a to-do list for the following day, prioritizing the tasks. Start your day attending to those tasks that are highest priority and work your way through the list. When preparing your list for the next day, take the uncompleted tasks from the list and place them in priority sequence on your list for the next morning.
3. Allow for More Time than You Think You Need:
I don’t know about you, but I always seem to underestimate the time I will need for a project. Inevitably, the phone rings in the middle of a project with something that has to be attended to immediately. Or sometimes electronic issues interfere, such as internet issues or computer problems.
Regardless of what the distraction is, allowing more time to complete the project prevents frustration when it does take longer, and gives you a nice bonus if you do end up finishing sooner than what you had allotted for.
4. Break up Your Day:
It has been proven that you are more productive when you take short breaks during your workday. Powering through your day without any break will lead to stress and exhaustion. Try not to work longer than 90 minutes at a time without taking a short break. Simply taking a 10 minute walk will rejuvenate you and allow you to return to your work refreshed and focused.
There may be occasions that you are on a roll and don’t want to stop. When you are in this zone, keep going. But try not to make it a habit, and be sure to interject a break once your momentum has slowed.
5. Multi-Tasking is a Bad Word:
Despite all the hoopla that has been made in the past, our brains are not designed for multi-tasking. While it may be true that you think you can accomplish many things at once, you can only truly focus on one thing at time. By jumping from one thing to another, you lose your ability to focus, and are likely adding extra time to completion of any one task. Besides that, you are most likely also opening the door to make mistakes.
6. “NO” is NOT a Bad Word:
No is not a four-letter word! You can expect to always have demands on your time, often coming from all directions at once. Lean that is it okay to say no, especially when it could be detrimental to take on even more. By taking on too much, you can lose focus, to say nothing of proper balance.
Consider each request on its own merit, and factor in everything that would be required if you accepted the request. If you don’t have the time, or won’t be able to do the project justice, then let the person know that you are unable to assist them at this time. Being honest and polite will allow you to help them when time allows, should they need your help in the future.
7. Automate, Delegate, Outsource:
Even a superhero can’t do everything, so why do you thing you are different? When you are starting your business, it may be necessary, but plan for the future and begin to delegate and outsource as soon as you can. This allows you to focus on your strengths and skills while growing your business at a measured pace.
Take stock of all the tasks that must be done in your business on a regular basis and identify those that can be automated, delegated or outsourced. There are many automation tools to help take care of repetitive chores, and delegating or outsourcing other responsibilities enhances your ability to bring in more business while maintaining and demonstrating time-management skills.
Until next time…
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