Small business owners wear a lot of hats and commit themselves to working long hours in order to make their operations successful. As a result, their time is at a premium. This is exactly the type of situation to which the adage “work smarter, not harder” should be applied.
With a few simple time management tips, the average small business owner can more effectively balance the diverse array of demands that are part and parcel of running a business. Here are a few to put you on the right path.
1. Attend to Your Schedule
This is a must. If you don’t have a lot of free time, you might not be keen to devote precious minutes to managing your calendar, but it is essential that you keep an accurate schedule (and stick to it) so you don’t get overwhelmed. Spending just a few moments each morning perusing your schedule should be enough to ensure that you’re on track for an organized and efficient workday.
2. Don’t Overbook
If you keep a tight schedule and pay attention, you shouldn’t have this problem, but you need to make sure you’re realistic about how long scheduled activities will take so appointments don’t overlap. You also need to factor in down time, not only for breaks, but for unavoidable activities like using the restroom, eating, and getting from point A to point B (if you have scheduled activities away from the office).
3. Get the Right Tools
You could waste a lot of time doing things inefficiently if you fail to obtain the right tools. Instead of keeping a paper calendar, start using your Outlook calendar (at the office, at home, and on the go). Why keep an old-school ledger when you can use QuickBooks instead? You needn’t use an Excel spreadsheet to track inventory when you implement a barcode scanning system in warehouses. With the right equipment and software in place, you can significantly reduce time spent on certain tasks and operate more efficiently.
4. Eliminate Distractions
If you’re having trouble getting things done due to constant distractions like phone calls, social media updates, and employees bursting into your office, you need to turn off your phone, lock your door, and hunker down. Pinpointing and addressing distractions can significantly reduce time wasters.
You can’t do it all, no matter how motivated and energetic you are. Even if you could, you shouldn’t. If you want to increase efficiency within your organization you need to hire qualified workers, delegate tasks, and then leave them to do their jobs while you focus on other things. You should definitely maintain oversight, but don’t micromanage or you’re just wasting both your time and your employee’s time.