Starting a Business? Learn How to Manage Your Time!
Managing your time can be difficult when you start a small business, from hiring and training employees, setting up and managing finances, creating a filing system, and marketing your business, there never seems to be enough time in the day.
And this list is just the tip of the ice burg when it comes to successfully starting and running a business. Benjamin Franklin wasn’t kidding when he coined the phrase “time is money” back in 1748.
While a lot has changed since then, time being your most valuable asset as a business owner has not. So, the question still remains: How do you use the time you have most effectively?
It never feels as if there’s enough hours in the day to do everything you want to accomplish, so how do you make the time you do have truly count without running your business (and yourself) into the ground?
Start by getting into the habit of following these five time management techniques.
1. Make Time Tracking Your Best Friend
It’s hard to keep track of everything you do all day long and the time each project takes without writing it all down. And before you can really dive into any of these other time management tactics, you have to know where all your time is going.
You may know where we’re going with this, and yes, it’s time tracking.
From the moment you wake up in the morning to when you finally shut down for the night, log all of your tasks and the time it takes you to do them.
Either have a notebook on you to write down your time or use an easy online tool like toggl.
No matter what method you use, time tracking will help you identify where you’re spending the majority of your time and what tasks could be completed more efficiently.
2. Plan and Prioritize Your Work
Once you’ve got a pretty firm handle on what your day-to-day looks like, you can begin organizing your days appropriately.
Time tracking can probably help you get a sense of what tasks are the most important, but here are a couple ways to help you determine which of those tasks should be prioritized over others:
The 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule, or Pareto Principle, states that 20 percent of your work produces 80 percent of your business.
In other words, you want to put 80 percent of your time and effort into the 20 percent of tasks that will give you and your business the greatest return.
Each morning or at the start of every week, identify the tasks that are most important to your business and throw your time into them.
The Eisenhower Method
When you’re running a business, you’re pulled in a dozen different directions. Some tasks are urgent but not important, others are important but not as immediate, and others are both urgent and significant to your business.
As you plan your days, identify tasks on your plate and label them as important, not important, urgent, and non-urgent.
Those tasks that you identify as both important and urgent should be done at the very start of your day, directly followed by tasks that are important but non-urgent.
3. Hire the Right People and Delegate
Another benefit of tracking your time is you’ll be able to identify tasks that could be handled by someone else. When you know what those tasks are, you can hire and train employees with the skillsets to handle those tasks.
If you’re wondering, training takes time and effort, so be sure to put that in your “important and urgent” bucket. Why? Because the sooner you get an employee ramped up on their responsibilities, the sooner you’ll be able to cross those tasks off your to-do list and focus on other work that needs your full attention.
4. Limit Distractions as Much as Humanly Possible
Having to put out fires and handle employee questions or concerns will always be part of the job.
The trick is finding ways to limit them, so you aren’t pulled away from tasks you need to do to scale and grow your business.
Now, this doesn’t mean locking yourself up in your office all day, never saying a word to your employees.
Instead, block off your calendar during times when you’re busy working on an important task and set specific hours of the day where employees can come to you for help.
As your business expands, you can also hire others below you who have the experience and skills to handle emergencies, only bringing you in when they really need the big gun.
Don’t Forget to Take Breaks
Wait, won’t taking breaks eat into the time that could be spent on those important and urgent tasks?
The surprising answer is actually, no. When you take a break from your work, you’re giving your mind time to refocus, refueling your creativity, and allowing yourself to decompress and lower stress levels.
There are even research studies that show brief breaks from work can significantly improve focus, which allows you to be even more productive when you return to the project at hand.
The next time you’re zoned in on a project, set a timer for 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, get up from your desk and spend 5-10 minutes walking around the office or outside to give yourself a break.
If you don’t want to time yourself, just listen to your body.
When you realize you’re just staring at a computer screen drawing a blank, don’t spend another 20 minutes trying to force your brain to do work. Instead, walk away from your computer and give yourself time to reset.
This will help you be more productive in the long run!
Helping Tampa Businesses Take Off
Located at 3030 N Rocky Point Dr. W STE 671 Tampa, FL 33607-5955, Electronic Merchant Services is dedicated to the success of the companies we serve. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you start a business in Tampa, or request a quote online.