Finding enough time in the day is challenging, but when you add running a business into the mix, it really ups the ante!
As small-business owners we tend to wear many hats … so it’s important to plan our time to ensure that all the hats get the attention they need.
Here are my seven tips to help you get more done in your available time …
1. Find your “productivity zone”
Ok, first you need to work out when you’re most productive, so determine if you are:
- The early bird who is most productive first thing when your mind is fresh and the phones haven’t started ringing yet?
- Most productive mid-day when your momentum is up and going?
- A night owl who is most productive later in the day after your ideas have had time to settle?
Once you know where you fit, you can plan your most important work at that particular time of day.
2. Plan your work
One of the things I do without fail every afternoon is write my to-do list for the following day. That way I have everything organised before I finish for the day, and it allows me to go into my evening with a clear head.
You can do this in a diary or on a piece of paper, or if you’re serious about managing your time, try using a task management system like Asana.
3. Prioritise your tasks
You can use something like ‘Covey’s time management matrix’ or “The Eisenhower Matrix” to prioritise your tasks by urgency and importance. These systems have you split your list into urgent / not urgent and important / not important.
Or you can just mark the three most important tasks on your to-do list and then plan to do them during your ‘productivity zone’.
4. Can you delegate?
If you have staff to assign some tasks to, the Covey or Eisenhower systems will help you decide what you can delegate.
If you don’t currently have staff, this exercise will help you to see what tasks you do that don’t require your expertise. You can then use this list as the basis for a discussion when the time comes to outsource.
5. Commit to a system
There are so many time management and productivity systems out there. And it doesn’t matter what system you choose, only that it’s something that works for you. If you struggle to find an approach that you can fully commit to, try combining a few different ones to create the perfect time management and productivity tool for you.
For example, I use Asana for all my project planning, client work and my tasks but I still write a hard copy to-do list every afternoon for the next day … that’s what works best for me!
6. Minimise distractions
Lots of things can distract us from our priorities. Most of them these days tend to be digital so here are some things you can do to help reduce them:
- Control your notifications – on your laptop, tablet, phone and watch
- Create email filters and rules so that every email you receive doesn’t hit your inbox
- Use do not disturb if you really need to
- Take regular breaks and try a change of scenery if necessary
7. Tracking your time
Tracking your time will make you more aware of where your minutes go every day. But more importantly, tracking your time allows you to identify what is misusing, or wasting your time; And once you know that, you can make changes to reduce it in future.
It’s not always easy to make changes, but, if you identify your productivity zone, plan and prioritise your tasks, (and delegate if you can) you’ll have more time to dedicate to other things … like family, friends, exercise and even sleep! How good would that be?
Don’t have enough time in your day? Maybe you need someone to help take the pressure off. Have a look at our amazing virtual assistants or social media managers on the Digital Mums Directory and get your to do list under control!