4 Essential Time Management Principles for Business Owners
Many business owners have all but forgotten what it feels like to sleep or take a weekend off, feeling the need to squeeze every available minute out of each day to make their business a success. Unfortunately, no matter how many extra minutes you try to wring out of your day, they’ll still only add up to 24 hours. That’s because days and minutes are measured in what Entrepreneur refers to as “clock time”,
“Clock time is irrelevant. You don’t live in or even have access to clock time. You live in real time…The good news is that real time is mental…You create it. Anything you create, you can manage. It’s time to remove any self-sabotage or self-limitation you have around “not having enough time…”
As the quote suggests, real time is in YOUR hands, and you ultimately have the power to manipulate it in a way that will help you effectively operate your business and enjoy some personal time as well.
Start making time work for you with these 4 tips:
Striking the Right Balance
When you have a lot going on in your workday, the temptation is to multitask. But multitasking isn’t nearly as effective as you may think, Health points out:
“Moving back and forth between several tasks actually wastes productivity because your attention is expended on the act of switching gears—plus, you never get fully “in the zone” for either activity.”
“What tends to save the most time is to do things in batches,” says Health. “Each task requires a specific mindset, and once you get in a groove you should stay there and finish.”
Identify a strategy for when and how you’ll break down your business tasks into batches. Designate time in the morning to complete your most important tasks first, for example, before things get to hectic.
Next, avoid answering emails and phone calls all day long. Instead, schedule a time when you’ll return calls and answer emails. Then move on to another task that requires your attention. If something crucial comes up, by all means, give it your attention, otherwise, stick to your schedule.
Block out distractions such as instant messaging and social media unless it’s an essential part in doing your job or you’ve allocated a special block of time to address such matters. And, if you have work that must be accomplished right away, don’t be afraid to hang a “Do not Disturb” sign on your door.
You’re a business owner, not the Energizer Bunny. That means you’re going to need help at some point to keep you going. Make sure you hire good people. Don’t be afraid to put them through a rigorous hiring process to make sure they’re qualified for the position you want them to take on. When you hire competent people you can trust, you’ll feel more comfortable delegating work to them so you can clear some things off your plate.
Schedule Some Down Time
No doubt about it. Running a successful business is time consuming and exhausting. In fact, business owners work as many as 60 hours a week, according to Inc. The thing is, just because you’re working 60 hours a week doesn’t mean you’re being productive.
An article on Salon states that, “every hour you work over 40 hours a week is making you less effective and productive over both the short and the long haul.” Working an eight hour day is tiring enough, but when you push yourself beyond the point of exhaustion, you’re in danger of burning out. Once you hit this stage, all areas of your work are going to suffer.
To avoid workplace fatigue, set up some restrictions for yourself, like when you leave work, you’re off work. No emailing, no calling into the office or answering incoming calls. Impossible you say? Remember the section on delegating? It’s time to put that principle into action and give your brain and body some much needed down time!
Let Technology Simplify Your Life
There are a lot of software options out there that can help you manage your time more efficiently. Google Drive, for example, allows you to email, plan your schedule, set up reminders, keep track of your contacts, connect to apps, and access work documents. You can also find online tools for everything from editorial planning calendars to ecommerce software and project management systems.
Need outsourcing? At Fiverr, there is a variety of useful services, including article writing, WordPress, help, and graphics creation for the low rate of $5.00 per service.
If you need help with inventory management, look for software that’s intuitive and offers an all-in-one solution for keeping your website and store inventory in sync and up to date.
With CoSchedule, you can plan, organize, and manage every aspect of content marketing in one place with all-in-one content marketing editorial calendar software.
Whether you’re working on a blog, social media, or a big marketing project, this program lets you plan, publish, promote, and automate every type of marketing with one tool.
Stop Burning Daylight
We’ve all heard the colloquialism, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day.” If you’re a business owner, you may feel like the saying was coined especially for you. But while the phrase may be true in terms of clock time, Entrepreneur points out that YOU are in control of how much real time you’ll spend on the meetings, distractions, and other interruptions that are burning up your daylight.
Once you learn how to manipulate real time in your favor, you’ll be able to successfully operate your business and increase efficiency so you can avoid burn out. Hey, you might even be able to join friends for dinner during the week or catch that weekend ball game.
If you’re interested in learning how to take back your time, contact Rain Retail today. We’ll tell you about an all-in-one, integrated POS & Website system that can get you out the door faster…so you can enjoy more of life away from work!