5 Effective Time Management Tips for Small Businesses
Life as a small business owner is often difficult. Often you will be juggling a diverse range of competing tasks, many of them urgent.
But it doesn’t have to be so hard.
There are numerous tips from business strategies consultant you can follow to increase productivity, grow your business, all to create more profit.
The following five tips can be the crucial difference between success and failure in your business and burnout or job satisfaction personally.
While it is the least glamorous the most important step is to create a time log.
You will often be surprised by how much time you are spending on trivial tasks and getting a complete picture of your day is the first step in reclaiming these lost minutes and hours.
There are many methods for creating a log but I recommend a combination of installing a time tracker on your phone and using a spreadsheet to log daily tasks.
Use a System
Most business management courses either include a module on getting the most out of your time or recommend a complete system from the myriad myriad available.
It doesn’t matter if you’re getting things done, eating frogs, or using the Pomodoro technique the most important thing is to have a method. The following are three of the most popular currently available:
● Getting Things Done: Written by author and productivity consultant David Allen this is one of the all time favourite systems on earth. Revolving around the idea of systematising and diligently using to-do lists in order to keep your mind clear and uncluttered for ideas and thought this system is constantly being updated and fans have adapted templates to integrate this method into everything from Evernote to Trello.
● The Now Habit: Written by Neil Fiore and translated into more than 11 languages this is another incredibly popular system. It is built around the “Unschedule” concept which involves chunking your time into 30 minute blocks and rewarding yourself with uninterrupted time spent on them.
● Eat that Frog: Based on the quote by Mark Twain; “eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day”. This system gives you techniques for selecting and working through your hardest and most important tasks first thing in the morning.
Break Down Big Tasks
It’s a well-known psychological phenomenon that the larger a task is the more likely we are to dread it and procrastinate.
By breaking down big tasks into more manageable chunks you help to short circuit this tendency to procrastinate and will set you on a path to business growth.
For an added bonus you will also take advantage of your body chemistry by tackling tasks this way with your brain releasing dopamine in response to even small amounts of success. This is both pleasurable and also spurs feelings of motivation.
Use 80/20 rule ... ruthlessly
Known by a number of different names including the “Pareto Principle” and the “law of the vital few” the 80/20 rule roughly states that 20 percent of the effort creates 80 percent of the result.
First observed by sociologist, economist, political scientist, and philosopher Vilfredo Pareto this is better thought of as a general observation rather than a rule but it is powerful nonetheless.
Used in the business context the 80/20 rule suggests to take a stocktake of both your biggest time wasters and your largest profit generators - then to shift your time accordingly.
If you can’t cut the largest wastes of time from your business altogether take steps to minimise them.
Plan, Prioritise and Analyse
These steps are part of many, but not all, time management systems and if you’re leaving some of them out it’s worth trying to create
● Plan: Spending time at either the beginning or end of your work day to plan your tasks, meetings, and organise your to-do list pays immense dividends. This is often one of the top tips given by successful CEOs and entrepreneurs.
● Prioritise: You can’t do everything. But if you’ve done a time log and used the 80/20 rule you’ll now know exactly what is getting you most of your results.
● Analyse: Many of us have had the experience of creating a to-do list only to have it balloon out of control and cease to be useful. Doing regular reviews and decluttering your lists is necessary for any productivity system.