The ultimate guide and 10 tips on brilliant Time Management in 2020
As business owners we all would like more time in the day not only to focus on the success of our business but also time with our friends and family. Soon enough, everyone realises that time is one of the most precious commodities they have and that using it effectively, is a skill we all need to develop.
There is much advice available but most of which we read but never implement. Below is a list of practices that we have found help us organise and utilise our time more effectively. The key is to only implement the ones that work for you and develop them into a routine.
- Schedule your time. Schedule set times of your working week to focus on the regular key tasks you need to complete; it could be payroll, financial etc. Make a weekly plan and stick to your schedule, don't fall into the trap of taking things home, being distracted or putting things off.
- Make a to do list. This is the most basic tool but the one most people overlook. The majority of successful business people utilise a "to do list" in some way or other. You can organise it by priority, how quick the task will take or however suits you, but the main thing is it is a visual representation of your workload and what you needs to achieve. The great thing with a list is the satisfaction you get crossing out the tasks as you complete them.
- Switch off when you need to concentrate. When you need to focus on a particular task switch yourself off from the outside world. Turn your phone off and close your internet and email inbox. Technology is a useful tool but how many time do we get distracted from our tax returns by checking emails. Treat interruptions exactly the same, let staff or colleagues know when you are not to be disturbed with non-urgent matters.
- Don't be afraid to say no. It may sound crazy turning work down or disappoint people, but unless you can offer 100% commitment without jeopardising your existing workload it's not worth taking on. Remember, if you get a reputation for failing to complete a job or meet deadlines word will get around.
- Delegate. If you have a team around you use them. We often allow our workload to become unmanageable with tasks that we can't devout adequate time or focus too or don't particularly necessitate our attention. If you have a team around you utilise their skills with suitable tasks and remember you can't do everything.
- Outsource. There is a wealth of low or no cost support mechanisms available to business owners - utilise them. If you have tasks you don't like to do or are not proficient at find someone who can take it off your hands. It could be social media, telesales or contract management and indirect procurement. It's just the same as using an accountant - utilise their expertise and time to your benefit. Think of it this way, if you feel it is costing you time, causing you stress and ultimately costing you money outsource it so you can concentrate on something that makes you money.
- Have an agenda for meetings. Simple, but again often over looked. Meetings that don't have an agenda often go into "off topic" areas and vastly over run, also look to set a start and finish time and stick to it.
- Embrace Technology. Don't be afraid of or under use the technology we have at our disposal, there are a variety of apps and tools we can utilise via our smart phones or pc's all design to help manage, organise and make our lives easier. A simple diary or calendar app can schedule all of our important tasks and meetings and be set to remind us. Technology can also offer other options other than holding face to face meetings, by using conference calls or online meeting packages can not only be more cost effective but also more time efficient alternatives to travelling miles and taking hours out of the working day for both you and the client.
- Organise your workspace. How much time do we spend in our lives looking for files, reports or equipment? Knowing where things are is pretty basic but can save hours of wasted time. Easy things such as scanning paperwork into a relevant file on your pc along with any applicable notes or contact details can make retrieval so much faster and easier.
- Put a value on your time, both at work and personal. Your time at work is making you money, so sit down and work out your hourly rate what it is now and evaluate if it's where you would like it to be. If there's a huge deficit then you aren't using your time effectively and you need to change your working practices. The same for time at home or leisure time, recharging your batteries is invaluable and working all hours can be counterproductive. Set a home time and make plans or organise something after work so you have to stick to it.
"Think of it this way, if you feel it is costing you time, causing you stress and ultimately costing you money outsource it so you can concentrate on something that makes you money."