Time is money as they say, and that’s especially true when it comes to running your small business. Here are four steps you can take to ensure your time is being spent well:
Set Goals and Plan Your Day
Lewis Carrol once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” The first and most important step in effective time management is figuring out what tasks need to be done and why. If you have no plans and no goals, then watching TV all day would be a perfectly justifiable use of your time.
The time-tested SMART method (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) provides a great place to start with making goals. Creating SMART goals for your small business with a plan on how to go about achieving them will set you down the right path for managing time effectively.
After you identify your goals and the tasks needed to achieve those goals, the next step is to figure out which of those goals and tasks can be delegated to your employees. As your business grows, it would be foolish to assume you can (or would even want to) do everything yourself. Lack of delegating tasks correctly limits how much your business can grow and puts you on the fast track to burning out. Learn how to assign responsibility so you can focus on the most important aspects of your business.
Once you’ve completed the last two steps, you can get to work—and nothing helps you to finish your work faster than staying focused and avoiding distractions. If you’re constantly being distracted from doing your work, you can find a one- or two-hour task taking up most of the day to finish; as you can imagine, this is a major hindrance to efficient time use. Since you’re interested in time management (which I’m assuming since you’re reading this article), distractions are to be avoided at all costs. Block off some time in your calendar for when you’re going to focus completely on accomplishing your goals—you might be surprised at how fast you can get things done.
Set aside some time at the end of every week to go over your progress towards your goals. Assess what worked and what didn’t when trying to accomplish your goals and what you can try in the future to help improve your time management. Perhaps your goals were too ambitious or were too easy. Maybe you can benefit from applying the 80/20 rule to your work. Whatever you do, it’s important to spend some time reflecting so you can focus on how to improve how you manage your time. Time management for small business owners isn’t any more complicated than for anyone else, but it can be seen as more important for the overall health of the company. While this is not a definitive list, following this short list should get you off to a great start.