As a busy small business owner, following these three time management tips will help you take control of your valuable time, get more done, be more effective and make more money.
1. Make a To-Do List
Making a to-do list at the start of each day will help you de-stress, increase your productivity and feel better about putting in a full day’s work.
- Creating the list will give you a bird’s-eye view of what you’ve got to accomplish that day, helping you put things in perspective. Do you find yourself working on a dozen different things every day and not making much progress on any of them? A to-do list can help you immensely with your time management. It also prevents you from contracting the dreaded “at-work ADD (attention deficit disorder).”
- Estimate the time needed to complete each task on your list so that you are able to complete your tasks for that day. Be realistic when setting your day’s goals. Don’t give yourself an unattainable workload as it’s discouraging to be unable to complete your assigned tasks for that day.
- Aside from these benefits, you’ll also be less likely to forget tasks that were requested of you throughout the day. If someone comes to you for help, you’ll be able to look at your list and give them a good estimate about when the work will be completed. Don’t promise people you’ll get something done in one day when that timeline is clearly unrealistic.
Making a to-do list needs to become a daily habit. It might take some getting used to at first, but keep at it and soon you’ll realize how beneficial it is for effective time management to create one first thing each morning.
2. Delegate Tasks
Some control freaks have an issue with this tip. If you find yourself completing mundane activities that don’t really NEED your involvement, delegate the task to someone else who can accomplish the task. In order to achieve your desired outcome from a delegated task, you must convey the following to the delegate:
- Expected Results – Let the person know what needs to be accomplished and by what time.
- Resources – If the delegate needs to access resources, whether they be specific information, subject matter experts, financial or anything else, inform them that they are able to (and should) use such resources.
- Accountability and Consequences – Give them the authority to complete the task, but inform them that with this authority comes accountability. Once they accept the task, if the task isn’t completed on time, the fault is on their shoulders as long as you’ve clearly outlined the above criteria. Tell them what consequences there will be for either not completing the task or completing the task incorrectly. Positive consequences should be outlined as well.
Task delegation is an integral step in time management and, if you delegate correctly, you’ll feel as if you’ve got more hours in your day.
3. Get plenty of sleep – be well rested. Eat balanced meals.
You know those days when you get out of bed and feel like it’s going to be a great day? That initial mood, right when you wake up, affects the rest of your day. Most people aren’t morning people, and I’m not saying you have to become Little Miss Sunshine and jump out of bed every morning singing a song. What I am saying, though, is that your sleep quality directly impacts your productivity potential. If you’re half asleep, you’re going to get less done, make more mistakes, and display poor time management skills.
- Go to bed! Get off of Facebook, stop playing Angry Birds and Solitaire, and close your eyes. It would be interesting to see a study done on the amount of sleep people got before smart phones and social networking sites versus our current constant connectivity addiction.
- If you wake up a lot during the night, consider investing in earplugs. Maybe you live in a noisy area or have a partner that snores. You can pick a set of earplugs up at your local convenience store for about $2. Same goes for bright areas: consider blackout curtains and/or a comfy sleep mask.
- Avoid eating heavy or greasy meals. Eating too much can make you feel sleepy. Eating a deep dish pizza for lunch can decrease your focus because your body’s energy is being used up trying to digest that lump of cheese you just ate.