For many business owners, it seems there aren’t enough hours in the day. They are often challenged to find the time to get everything on their to-do list accomplished before it’s time to head home for the night. When you’re spinning plates and donning multiple hats, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it all. Thankfully, there are strategies to employ that can help ensure your time is being spent as efficiently and productively as possible. Here are a few of our favorite time management tips for professionals:
Good time management starts with a clear understanding of your goals. Setting goals allows you to create plans that guide your business in your intended direction. While time management for business owners can be tough to juggle, a detailed path forward always helps to clarify priorities. To start, consider where you want your business to be in four years, four months, and four weeks. Next, chunk your goals into manageable steps – after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Break long term goals into monthly to-do lists and decide how you’ll work each day to meet those deadlines.
It’s important to set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound – SMART. If your hope is to earn more business this year, try exploring that goal and expanding it a little. How many new clients do you hope to bring on? How will you know when you’ve succeeded? Is it realistic to bring on that many new clients? When do you hope to accomplish this goal? By hashing out your theoretical goals, you create parameters that will ultimately boost your efforts and help find time saving solutions.
Track Your Time
Self-awareness can go a long way in boosting productivity. Time management for business owners can be simple once you’ve recognized how you’re spending your days. Take serious inventory of every moment of your work day by tracking your time. You can do so using a planner, a smartphone app, or even just a piece of paper. Jot down each task you perform throughout the day – no duty is too small. Include everything from your commute to the office to the calls that interrupt your meeting. You’ll need as many data points as possible to discover real time saving tips.
Once you have tracked your time for two or three days, look for patterns. Do you find yourself spending more time on email than you realized? Maybe your morning coffee run is eating up more of your day than you expected. If anything, the exercise may highlight work/life imbalances that threaten your productivity. The best time saving techniques in business force us to be honest about our priorities, which is what makes this tip so helpful!
Perfect the Art of Delegating
When you’ve got too much on your plate, it’s likely time to delegate. Unfortunately, planning to delegate is often easier said than done. While it’s nice to imagine a colleague sweeping in and handling your duties to perfection, the reality is usually far different. Fear prevents a lot of business owners from delegating regularly – fear that nobody can do things exactly as you would. That’s why practicing the art of delegating is one of the very best time saving tips for small business owners.
When you’re surrounded by partners you trust, delegation feels easy and natural. To build that trust, though, you’ve got to take small risks. Entrusting a project to a colleague can feel scary when you’ve got the success of your organization riding on the outcome. By starting small, you can build towards that level of trust. Experiment with having a phone answering service take over incoming calls, or ask an employee to handle office closing procedures at the end of the day. Of all the time management tips for work, this one is the most likely to dramatically increase your productivity.
We live in a culture obsessed with multitasking. At any given moment, you might be assisting a customer, answering your phone, checking email and scheduling a staff meeting – all at the same time. While all that juggling might feel productive, the reality is often far different; humans, as it turns out, are exceptionally bad at multitasking. We get less done than if we dedicate our full attention to one task at a time. Time management for business owners often involves a lot of multitasking, but minimizing distractions can actually help boost productivity in the long run.
When every customer, employee and vendor wants your ear, it can be challenging to devote your full attention to them. It’s important to control the work environment around you so you can mitigate this all-too-common frustration. Shut out distractions by using your administrative staff or a virtual receptionist to screen your calls. Only the most important callers will be forwarded to you, giving you much needed peace of mind while you tackle your to-do list.
Time Management Tools for Business Owners
With the right resources, mastering time management becomes a breeze. Many small business owners are turning to virtual receptionists, call centers and answering services for support. When you no longer have a desk phone to feel chained to – or a constantly ringing cell phone to answer – there’s no telling how much you might accomplish. Time management for business owners is easy when you’ve got the full force of MAP Communications behind you. Try our services free for one week and you’re certain to see the impact throughout your entire organization!
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