Mon 11 May 2009
Small business owners often wish for 29 hours in each day. After all, you are much more than the proprietor of your business; you are responsible for human resources, office management, sales and marketing too. Wearing all of these different hats can make time management a nightmare- until you incorporate four techniques to better manage your time.
Start the Day on the Right Foot
The first thing you can do to revolutionize your time management skills is getting up early, much earlier than necessary to make it to work on time. In the morning, leave yourself an extra 30-60 minutes so that you can read the paper with your morning coffee, walk your dog, or whip up a healthy breakfast for yourself. These activities don't directly relate to your business, but you can recharge and calmly prepare yourself for the busy day ahead while the world is still quiet around you.
The Power of Lists
Writing and using lists can transform you into a more effective time manager. When you see everything that is ahead of you for the day on paper, you can begin to prioritize the items and outline your day. Things at the top of the list are essentials - the tasks you absolutely have to do with no margin for error. The important thing is that your list serves as a guide map for your day. It helps keep you focused, and you may find there are far fewer half finished projects around your business at the end of the day.
Divide and Conquer
The most successful business owners have learned to rely on the skills and abilities of their employees in order to accomplish everything on their to-do lists. Toward the bottom of your lists, you can place less essential items that you might be able to delegate to one of your employees (or put off until the next day if time slips away from you). Delegation is perhaps one of the most difficult things for a small business owner to do. However, delegation is also a primary key to successful time management.
Keep Work and Home Life Separate
As you make your lists and delegate tasks, you may often find items of a personal nature creeping into your mind. You must make a conscious effort to keep your work and home life separate. To successfully achieve this, you can reserve a specific time slot every week during business hours to attend to any personal errands you may have. For example, every Wednesday, you can take a 1-hour lunch break and run errands like pick up dry cleaning, go to the post office, make appointments for your kids, etc. By specifically allocating time for your personal life, you will find that the time you spend on your business is much more productive.
Not everyone is born with effective time management skills, but with cognitive effort, everyone can transform into a master of time.