As a small business owner, there are all sorts of pressures on your time. From customers to admin, managing employees and chasing leads, it can feel like you’re being pulled in a hundred different directions at once. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot you can do about being busy – it’s part and parcel of running a business. But you can make sure that you’re making the most of your time, so that you can pack as much productivity into the time you have as possible. Today, we’ve got a few tips for you to help you manage your time more effectively.
Start Logging Your Time
Before you can start managing your time more efficiently, you need to work out what you’re doing with your time right now. So before you do anything else, get at least one day of logging done. It’s easier than you think to do. Just grab a sheet of paper (or an excel spreadsheet if you prefer), and start writing down what you do, what time you do it and how long it takes you to complete. This is most effective if you do it from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed if you, but some prefer to stick to just tracking their scheduled working hours instead. Whichever you choose, your job is to track every minute of your day, and the total amount of time spent. When you’re finished, you will have a complete view of a typical day for you. Over the course of a few days, you will start to see where your time is going, what’s productive and what isn’t. This can be really eye-opening!
Use The Pomodoro Technique
This is a useful little trick that can really revolutionise the way we work, if done properly. It’s based on research that suggests that the human brain works most efficiently when we take regular breaks. The Pomodoro technique involves setting a timer for 25-minutes while you focus on one specific task, then taking a short 5-minute break before starting the next task. This means your brain doesn’t get fatigued with one task, and helps you feel well rested and more focussed on the next task. That time logging helps here too, as it shows you how long you really need one on task and helps you plan your day. After a few days of using this technique, you will find yourself more productive, and you can even use it to set yourself some goals for your business.
Plan Your Time
Failing to plan is planning to fail. And planning your time as a business owner is a crucial skill. You’re under pressure to make decisions, meet deadlines, complete paperwork and handle issues all at the same time. So to make sure you don’t forget anything, make lists and plan out your time. If you don’t plan, you ,may find your days being taken up with putting out fires and doing things that other people could handle instead of you. So, try planning your time for a week, and see what happens. You could try:
- Prioritise tasks in order of importance.
- Put an asterisk beside things that only you can do, and then outsource some things without an asterisk.
- Write a to-do list and carry it around with you.
- Set aside designated times to deal with emails, hold meetings or deal with the miscellaneous things that tend to pile up.
Multitasking might seem like a smart way to save time and get more done, but in reality you’ll get half as much done, half as well. The human brain is great at juggling many different thoughts and things we’ve got to do, but it doesn’t help us to focus on one task and do it to the best of our ability. So don’t try! Research shows that focussing on one task at a time helps increase productivity and performance. While trying to do that same task while you also answer every new email and respond to every text or question will make the task take longer, and not be completed as well, since you’re not giving it the care and attention it deserves. Not only does this mean you’ll have to go back and correct careless errors later, it also means you’re wasting time by constantly shifting mental gears. If you need to, give yourself permission to shut off the emails and turn off the phone until your task is done.
Don’t Be Afraid To Outsource
There is no rule that says just because it’s your business, you’ve got to do everything yourself. There are plenty of tasks in a small business that can be delegated to other employees, or outsourced to professionals. Bookkeeping, marketing and admin are all common business functions that are often outsourced to specialist service providers. If you’re struggling to fit everything into your day, consider outsourcing some of your business functions. It’ll free up your time, and help your business too, since the functions will be done by experts in those specific fields.
At Your Admin Hub, we help busy business owners unlock their time with outsourced admin services. From booking meeting spaces and managing your diary to handling your invoices and briefing contractors, we can help you free up your schedule for the things you enjoy doing. If you’d like to find out more, just get in touch with us today.