To say that small business owners have a lot of things to do is an understatement. From daily meetings to overseeing operations, time can easily become a scarce resource for small business owners. This is why it is crucial to hone your time management skills. Taking full control of your own time is not an option, it is a necessity.
Today, we’ll look into some time management tips to help you make the most of this valuable yet limited resource. You can only devote so many hours for work so you need to make sure that it is well spent on tasks that will further advance your business. We made this list easy for you to remember! And we’re calling it “The 5-S of Time Management.”
- Split Your Tasks in Two
Simplify your tasks and categorize them into two. For example, THGM Writers President, David Leonhardt, said that his tasks can be classified into multi-tasking and writing. When he’s writing, he needs to be focused and uninterrupted but when he’s multi-tasking he needs to be mentally agile and active. Thus, he devotes afternoons for writing when his mind is not that agile.
For you, it can be business growth and marketing. If that’s the case, make sure that you allot specific hours for strategizing for your business and creative thinking for your marketing efforts. These will be the daily non-negotiables in your schedule.
- Send Less Emails
Checking and answering emails can consume a lot of time. “Getting Things Done” author David Allen suggests decreasing the emails you send based on this simple logic—send less to receive less. He added that it’s best to keep your emails short. This should be done in conjunction with checking emails less because the more you check your emails, the more emails you will send. In fact, investment banks and forward-thinking tech companies have policies (with punishments for violations) of limiting inbox checking to only two to three times daily. Bottom line, don’t waste your time on emails.
- Say No to Unnecessary Meetings
Know which meetings are necessary and which ones can be attended to on your behalf. Learn to say no to unnecessary meetings and say yes only to crucial meetings that really need your presence. Pass all appointment requests to your assistant and filter them. You don’t have to give a response immediately to someone asking for an unscheduled meeting. Always give a standard reply that they should coordinate with your assistant. Bizness Apps CEO, Andrew Gazdecki, blocks off large amounts of time in his calendar so that no one can set a meeting with him during those times!
- Stick to a Schedule
Former IBM Vice President Watts Humphrey is known for scheduling efficiency. As mentioned in the “Dreaming in Code” by Scott Rosenberg, Humphrey lived by these principles:
- Unless you are independently wealthy, you must work to a schedule.
- If you don’t make your own schedules, somebody else will. Then that person will control your work
Schedules allow you to have a balanced life. It puts boundaries to the unlimited access that stakeholders think may have on you. There are digital calendars and apps you can use to keep your schedule in check. Stick to your schedule and don’t allow anyone to mess with it. The more purposeful you are in the use of your time, the more in control you will be.
- Start Delegating
Accept that you can’t do everything. Delegate tasks that are time-consuming but can be done by others with minimal supervision. In any team sport, the star player still needs his teammates to win a game. Same goes with your business. You need other people to help you accomplish your tasks. The best way to have more time is to stop doing certain things so you can do more important ones. Micromanaging will consume a lot of your time whereas delegating will free it up!
Time management requires commitment and determination. As a small business owner, you need to be intentional on how you use and protect your time. Time management is the fine line that separates productivity and mere busyness. Remove it and your day gets all mixed up. Keep it and you will have a more focused and organized day. The choice is yours.
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