Managing Time – Tips for Business Owners

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There’s never enough time. Everyone feels that way. And time is a constant in out lives – it can’t be sped up or slowed down. You have to manage with what you have. The key word here is “manage”, especially for a businessman. Face it; if you can’t manage your time and can’t get what you need done, your business is going to suffer. Here are some ways you can manage your time and get more work done without working 20 hours a day.

  • Accept that you can’t change time. You can only change your way of doing things.
  • Analyze your daily schedule and see where you are wasting time. Do you really have to spend that much time surfing the net, making personal phone calls and other such stuff?
  • Set yourself weekly goals like 15 minutes a day for personal calls and mail. Start one thing at a time and stick to it.
  • Use time management software. There are programs that will help you plan out your day to the smallest detail. Plan and stick to it. You need to be tough on yourself and accept no excuses for running overtime on any work. A program like Outlook is a good place to start.
  • Use a calendar to plan your activities in advance so you don’t get stuck with too many time consuming jobs on the same day.
  • Learn to prioritize. Create 3 categories of tasks – urgent, important and routine.
  • Do the important things first. These are the things that if left undone, will hurt your business.
  • Urgent tasks are those which have to be done within a specific time frame or at fixed times. Fit these in around the important tasks you have already itemized.
  • Routine tasks are the repetitive jobs you do every day. These are not unimportant things. They are necessary to your business. But doing these when you have urgent or important tasks undone will be pointless. Why fill up gas in your car today when you will not be using if for a week and you have other things to do?
  • You can’t do everything yourself. Learn to delegate work. Out sources where you can. There are many companies whose purpose is to make life easier for the business owner.
  • Are your systems optimized? Do you spend more time than you should looking for things on your computer? Look at reorganizing your filing system and other work practices to cut down the time you spend on them.
  • Get in the habit of setting time frames for each task you undertake. It will be tough initially, but once you get in the habit, and you will notice when you are falling behind and automatically push yourself harder to finish.
  • Waiting need not be a waste of time. There is much we cannot control and which cause us to wait, like a customer who keeps you waiting. But that doesn’t have to be a waste of time. Don’t you have an important letter to draft, a report to read or a checkbook to balance? This is the kind of thing you can do while waiting.
  • Emails are estimated to be one of the biggest time wasters. Most people, when hard at work, stop and switch to email when they get a new message signal. Don’t do it. Getting back the rhythm of the work you interrupted will take extra time. Set fixed times in a day when you will check and answer your emails.