When you just started your own business, you know that time is precious. You’ve got no time to waste and you must use every possible time you have to make your business grow. Many dream of being their own boss, but most of the time, that comes with many responsibilities too. The next thing you know, you feel like you’re not finishing anything off the list of to-do’s.
You have to look into inventory management, accounting, offline and online marketing, networking, and a lot more. And, even after all that, you still think there are more tasks at hand.
Now, dedicating all your time to your business is not healthy too. You need to maintain a good work-life balance. After all, how can you perform well when you’re just stressing out? If you are more likely the type of person who starts freaking out when overwhelming tasks are piling up, here are some of time management tips for you.
1. Set your goals
The very first thing that you should do to set everything in motion when it comes to time management is setting your goals. You have to be clear about what you want to achieve in your business so you only do the necessary things to complete them and not waste your time.
But, you just can’t set goals. You have to properly think and categorize your goals into short and long-term goals and make sure they are S.M.A.R.T. They should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bounded. This simply means that your goals should be realistic and they should be backed up with facts.
2. Learn to prioritize right
Once you have your set of goals, you have to determine which ones you should achieve first. Remember, you can’t serve two masters at the same time. This is why it is important that you know how to look at the bigger picture and organize your goals according to priority.
The best method to use when prioritizing your tasks is to base it off the urgency. You can categorize your tasks into 4 categories:
- Important and urgent – These are the tasks that you know must be done as soon as possible and when they are accomplished, they make huge progress in your process.
- Important but not urgent – These are tasks that are important but after further deliberation, can be put on the sidelines for later accomplishment. They are essential parts of growing your business but they are not a life or death situation.
- Urgent but not important – These tasks always bug you to be done as soon as possible. But, when they are finished, you find that they really do not contribute much to the growth of your business. These kinds of tasks can be delegated to save yourself time without compromising your list.
- Not urgent and not important – These are mundane tasks that can be done later. Like the previous category, you can also assign these to others.
3. Learn to say no
You don’t always have to please everybody. It is your business and you are the boss, after all. Sometimes, you have to decline requests so that you can spend more time focusing on what is urgent and important.
This also applies to projects, investments, and activities along the way. If you feel like there is no positive future with it, always be prepared to cut it and move to more productive tasks.
4. Plan ahead
There is nothing worse than going into war without equipping yourself with the right weapon and without a good strategy in mind. The same goes for running your business.
Every day, there is something that should be done and you should already know what to do the minute you come to work. This means that you should already have a plan of your to-do’s upon arriving to work. There are two ways you can do this:
- Plan the night before: At the end of your workday, take a good 15 minutes to arrange your desk and list the tasks that need to be done the next day. This way, you can have a good night’s sleep without worrying.
- Plan in the morning: You can also come up with your plan before everyone else comes into work. Arrive earlier and do your planning. Studies show that the brain functions properly in the morning.
5. Eliminate distractions
You might not know this but every day, a fraction of your time is wasted because of the distractions around you. Remember this morning when you saw a picture of a puppy and started searching for more? Remember when one of your employees showed you a new online shopping site and spent an hour browsing through it?
This step is one of the hardest to achieve but you must exert all of the willpower you have to get through this. While at work, keep your phone away from you. Shut the door to your room so no one can barge in and disturb you. Or, set aside a time of the day to set your status to “Do not Disturb” and catch up on unanswered e-mails and calls.
6. Learn to delegate
As we’ve said, you cannot do everything alone. Even if you have all your goals and tasks listed and organized, you can’t just be the only person to do all of it. Learn how to assign some tasks to someone else.
It may not be easy at first but you have to trust your employees that they’ll do a good job with the tasks you assigned them. After all, you hired them and you thought they are perfectly qualified for the job. Remember, running a successful business is about working together.
A small business owner’s greatest enemy is the thought that they can handle everything by themselves. In reality, whether a business is big or small, it still needs proper management. And, it starts with how one manages their time well. Everything else will follow suit after that.