Let’s face it, there are an infinite number of challenges when it comes to running your own business. Success is never just handed to you on a plate; it takes commitment, time and dedication. It also often requires you to be an all-rounder – a manager, a planner, an accountant, an analyst and researcher, a marketeer, a customer service agent, an administrator, an HR officer and more. There really aren’t enough hours in the day!
With so many demands on your time, it is essential to manage it with a structured and considered approach. Here are some top tips to help you on your way:
Write to do lists – it’s a basic one but probably the most valuable. Not only will it help you prioritise, it will also put things into perspective. Whenever I feel overwhelmed with the volume of tasks whirling around in my head, I find writing them all down is a great starting point for tackling them. Ticking off completed tasks is also extremely satisfying!
Learn to prioritise – this is a skill that can be developed over time. There are only so many hours in the day so it is important to be able to identify which tasks warrant your attention over others.
Write a plan of your day – this should include targets of what you intend to achieve and the time you estimate it will take to achieve them. It really is worth taking the time to do this as it will give your day structure and help you to stay on task.
Prepare for interruptions – rarely a day goes by without unforeseen interruptions. In your plan for the day (tip 3), allocate some ‘miscellaneous time’ for dealing with disruptions from clients, customers, suppliers or employees. Preparing for this will put you in a much better frame of mind and allow you to consider which tasks may have to be put off for another day should more urgent matters arise.
Be organised – this includes keeping your paperwork up to date as you go, implementing organised filing systems, keeping a diary and maintaining a tidy work station. This systematic approach really is worth doing as it will save you so much time later.
Make use of technology – there are literally thousands of apps, websites, hardware and software designed with business in mind and they really can save you time and help you organise yourself. Check out our previous article, ‘Best Apps for Business’ to get you started.
Ultimately, everyone has their own ways of working but the above tips are a great starting point and can be adapted to each individual. Remember, it is usually impossible to do everything and you need to be realistic about what you can achieve in any one day.
Finally, don’t forget to allow yourself frequent breaks. This will not only be better for you, both and physically, it will also make you more productive between breaks.
Do you have any great time management tips or advice? We would love to read them in the comments below.