We all know that time is precious. There are 24 hours in a day, and it sometimes seems like that’s not nearly enough (how about a 30-hour day?). We all juggle work, home, and other responsibilities. Managing your time can be tricky, but effective time management is essential for a successful business. You can’t add hours to the day, but you can use those hours more efficiently.
Here are a few tips.
There’s an old saying: “Failing to plan means planning fail.” A good plan starts with goals. Create a list of five realistic goals for the week. Then map out each day and stick to your schedule. You’ll need to be flexible, of course, to deal with unexpected situations or customer issues, but having a clear roadmap will help you make measurable progress and accomplish more.
Rank your tasks in order of importance, and tackle the most critical one first. This not only makes you more productive, it also gives you a sense of accomplishment, which is a great motivator. Focus on results and concentrate on one task at a time, completing it before you move to the next. There’s a lot of talk about multi-tasking, but it’s not really a time-saver, and it can actually hamper productivity.
Work in Batches
Working on similar or related tasks is another way of maximizing time. You can make business calls at a specific time of day or schedule a set time to review and answer emails, do paperwork, conduct research or run business errands.
Deadlines Are Your Friend
Giving yourself a due date for a project helps you get (and stay) motivated. Deadlines also make you more efficient, helping you avoid distractions and stay on track. Deadlines also keep you from procrastinating, one of the biggest obstacles to successful time management.
You don’t need to do everything yourself (in fact, that’s a good way to get bogged down). Hand off time-consuming tasks (or lower priority items) to your staff. This will free you up to focus on what’s most important. It will also lower your stress. If you don’t have a staff, consider hiring freelancers or contractors to deal with certain tasks.
There are tons of programs for your computer and apps for your phone that can help you manage your schedule and workflow. That said, you will want to limit your time online — especially social media — as it can be a wonderful time-waster.
Meeting can be productive, but they can also be a time-drainer. Focus on running more effective meetings, and don’t waste time on meetings that don’t produce results. Perhaps the same information could be covered in an email or a memo.
This is a toughie, and it can be hard work to stay motivated and avoid distractions. It might help to temporarily turn off your phone or email alerts on your computer (you can mute the volume as an easy fix). It’s also important to keep your work life separate from your business life.
Farmhouse Creative always has time for our clients and can help with all your marketing needs. Feel free to contact us.