Small business owners can sometimes feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get things done. You may be busy all day, but at the end of the day you feel like you haven’t done half the things on your to-do list. It can make everyday life miserable for you and those around you.
Luckily, you can develop time management skills and incorporate them into your routine. Good time management skills can help you reach your goals faster. When you manage your time better, you can seize more opportunities and grow your business.
So what is time management and why is it important? In this article, we will answer these questions and more. You will also find 6 tips for better time management that you can try.
Definition of time management
Time management involves planning and controlling the time you spend on specific tasks. This process allows you to prioritize certain tasks. This can allow you to work more efficiently. Effective time management is easier for some people than for others. However, anyone can develop time management skills. All it takes is developing healthy habits and practicing self-discipline.
According to Dodd and Subdheim, people who practice good time management techniques find that they:
- Are more productive
- Have more energy and motivation to achieve goals
- Have more free time for hobbies, etc.
- Are more positive towards life and others
- Feel better about yourself.
Effective time management also offers several benefits to business owners. These include:
- Boost your performance and sales
- Meet deadlines and always keep your promises on time
- Grow your business and achieve your goals
- Reduce stress levels
- Create a good work-life balance
Why is it important to develop time management skills
As a business owner, you become your own boss and choose when and how you work. However, as good as it sounds, it has some drawbacks. The fact that you do not respond to anyone or that no one is there to review your work can waste your time. You could develop bad habits that affect your productivity and the quality of your work. If you continue like this, these habits can harm your business and stop its growth.
Poor time management as a business owner can lead to:
- Rushed submissions
- Missed deadlines
- Excessive multitasking
- Stressful work environments
- High staff turnover
- Strained work-life balance
- Bad professional reputation
6 tips for better time management
Good time management skills can be used to create a time management strategy. This will allow you to manage your time effectively to help your business thrive. Here are some of the best time management tips to increase productivity.
You should start by prioritizing tasks. As a business owner, you will always have work to do. This is why it is important to clearly define your priorities. This will allow you to set smart goals and stick to them.
Create a to-do list of what needs to be done by the end of the day, week, or month. List each task in order of importance. This way, if you don’t do everything on your list, the most urgent tasks are taken care of.
You can use the Covey Time Management Matrix created by Steven Covey. It consists of 4 simple parts. These include:
- Urgent and important tasks
- Non-urgent but important tasks
- Urgent but not important tasks
- Non-urgent and non-important tasks.
Having a good sense of time and working on the urgent and important things first can help you get more done faster. Remember to set realistic expectations and hold yourself accountable.
Tip: Keep your to-do list somewhere you can see it at all times. If you are faced with difficult tasks, do them when your productivity is highest. Break them up into smaller tasks so you don’t get overwhelmed. Completing small tasks can help you complete difficult tasks faster. This can give you plenty of time to spare when you have tight deadlines.
2. Delegate work
Most small business owners intentionally take on too much responsibility. When starting your business, it’s common to do most of the work yourself. This happens because you may think that no one else can do the job as well as you. However, whatever the reason, you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed. If you want to scale your business, delegation is important and creating the right business plan is key.
The first thing to do is look at how you manage your current team. Ask yourself if you trust them to handle the most important tasks. Try to take on more of an advisory role. Guide your team slowly and increase their responsibilities in areas where they shine. This will save you time and create a more stimulating environment for your employees.
If you’ve already done this and your team is still overwhelmed with work, it’s time to hire more people. Find the right people and set them up with a mentor from your current team. However, hiring comes with high initial costs. These include funding additional salaries and training new employees. However, these expenses will be amortized over the long term. You will have more free time and a stronger team.
Tip: Check in with your team from time to time. Ask about the progress of tasks and help them if they really need your help.
3. Identify time wasters
Distractions are all around us and it can be hard to stay focused. Talkative colleagues and constantly checking your social media can kill productivity. Some distractions are out of your control, while others can be easily avoided. All you need to do is exercise some self-discipline. Establishing healthy boundaries can help reduce wasted time. Create boundaries with those you live or work with. Block access to certain sites or lock your phone in a drawer. It all starts with you. You must be prepared to take the necessary steps to increase productivity.
Tip: Overcoming distractions will be quite difficult at first. You can start by identifying your biggest distractions. After that, you can focus on eliminating them one at a time.
4. Automate your business
The right automation tools can help you reduce your workload and optimize your operations. There are several automation tools available for small businesses and startups. These can help you stay relevant in a competitive market. They automate tasks that take a lot of time but have little return. This way you and your team have more time to complete complex tasks.
Let’s say you spend about 4 hours a week on reports for your weekly team reports. AI-based analysis software can cut that time in half. They can automatically generate visually appealing reports. These reports can reflect real-time data with the click of a button. Another example would be if you have trouble prioritizing leads. Effective CRM software can assess leads and tell you which ones are most likely to convert.
Tip: Choosing the right automation tools can be a bit difficult due to the sheer volume of tools in the market. The first thing to do is to identify which business process will bring you the most value by automating it. To learn more, read this article on ways to automate your home service business.
5. Use time tracking tools
Time tracking tools offer several benefits. It challenges you and your team to complete tasks before their due date. They can also hold employees accountable for their contributions.
These tools can help you measure effectiveness. They can gauge how much time a person spends on specific activities. Time tracking apps can be integrated into your existing system. Otherwise, you can look for new software with built-in time tracking tools.
Tip: Time tracking tools can help you create an appropriate schedule. They will tell you what you can spend more or less time on. This way, you can finish everything on your daily to-do list much faster.
6. Take a break
As an entrepreneur, you probably think you shouldn’t take a break. If you think like that, you couldn’t be more wrong. The key to improving your productivity is finding a balance between work and rest. Creativity dies when you’re constantly preoccupied with everything you need to do.
Tip: Make sure you and your employees take regular breaks. Spend time away from your desks to take a moment to recharge your batteries. Having a cup of coffee, taking a walk, or reading a book can help you relax. Set aside time each day to do something that takes you away from all the work you have to do.
Conclusion on time management
Be patient with yourself, because time management is not a skill that develops overnight. Your time management strategies may also change as your business grows and your workload changes.
Start small and develop habits that fit your job. Practice these habits religiously until they become second nature. Make them part of your routine and notice how they help you accomplish more in less time. This will keep you motivated and stick to those habits.
If you’re still having trouble managing your time, contact the experts at Scorpion. They will work with you to provide solutions and free up time to enjoy your daily life.
Featured image credit: provided by the author; Thanks!