Common Sense Time Management Tips
Time Management should be your best friend.
One of the biggest challenges small business owners face is time management. In the scramble to reel in clients and run the day to day business, sometimes we agree to unrealistic end dates, even when our intentions are good.
How many times have you said, “I can do that” without thinking it through and assessing the reality of your commitments? The result of not managing time can leave you stressed and unproductive.
One of the famous time management quotes during my corporate career was, “On time is late, and early is on time.” As a small business owner, my goal with clients is the same: to manage my time as efficiently as I can and bring the best value to each client.
The next time your brain is screaming “I can do that,” take a moment to think, are you absolutely sure you are managing your time effectively?
If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got. ~ Lee Iacocca
I have five rules that I live by when it comes to time management, maybe they’ll help you manage your time and exceed your client’s expectations!
1. Analyze Your time. Create a log and write down everything you do over a 3-4 day period. This method may sound tedious, but understanding where time-wasters are during your business day will help you determine what you can control and what needs to be fixed.
2. Set Your Priorities. Review your log and decide where your time-wasters are, and then what your priorities are in the short and long term. Write them down in a “to do” list and block out time for both daily and long-term tasks. Concentrate on the most important items first, cutting big jobs into small chunks.
3. Schedule A “No Interruption” Period. Set aside at least one hour every day with absolutely no interruptions allowed. Turn off or lower the volume on alert sounds; I know this is hard, but sounds trigger the impulse to “check just for a second” and distract us from our one hour block. This was a big challenge for me when I first started. The phone alerts, email alerts, and social alerts were driving me crazy, but once I made this “no interruption” period a habit, I found a lot of work got accomplished.
4. Use Tools. One of the most valuable resources for any business is time management tools. Use calendaring tools for one-time and recurring appointments. Use the mobile function on your phone that highlights email or text time and date and add appointments to your phone calendar. Use scheduling tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Facebook schedule tool.
5. Finally, Learn to Say “No.” Saying “no” may sound off-putting. Rather than a blunt “no” give yourself time to look at your priorities and then say “no” but add when you have time to take care of a request. Something like, “I can’t do this right now, but would ______ work for you or fit in your schedule? A soft “no” with options leaves a positive feeling with the client and doesn’t leave you over scheduled and frazzled.
How would you rate your time management? Take this brief Time Management Quiz to help you identify the areas of time management that you need the most help.
What are your most effective common sense tips for time management? Share with us!