by Elizabeth Fels
Good time management is important for small business owners to succeed. Get more done in less time by making use of these 5 time-saving strategies.
If you are an employer or small business owner, time management is critical for making the most of your business and achieving your goals. These time-saving tips will help you get more done in your available time without getting stressed out or working 80-hour weeks.
1. Planning Your Work
Planning your work is the most important strategy for effective time management. While planning and scheduling is an ongoing activity, the best time to plan a day’s activities is at the end of the preceding day. That way, you can get a running start on essential tasks each morning before you start getting interrupted or lose focus. If you don’t start each day with a plan, your time will be taken up putting out fires and doing things that your employees, freelancers, family, or friends could handle instead of you. If you want to get more done, try following these planning suggestions:
- Prioritize tasks in order of importance and urgency.
- Put a checkmark beside tasks that only you can do.
- Carry a schedule, and refer to it often.
- Keep a phone, tablet, diary or daily planner handy to record appointments, deadlines and ideas.
- Set designated times to handle interruptions, employee conferences and other matters, and insist that people wait until that time except in urgent cases.
- Ignore phone calls and emails until the time you’ve set aside to deal with them.
- Plan to spend the more time on activities that produce the greatest business benefits.
2. Prioritizing According to Urgency or Importance
More is demanded of a business owner than ever because customers expect to interact with their favorite companies digitally and in the social media. You can use several effective methods to prioritize your work, according to the Small Business Administration.
President Eisenhower said, “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.” The Eisenhower method categorizes tasks as important, not important, urgent and non-urgent. Plan to do urgent and important tasks immediately and important but not urgent tasks next. These are followed by urgent but not important tasks and then not urgent and not important tasks.
This method involves ranking all your work and chores with the letters A, B and C in order of importance. You can also prioritize within each category by listing them as a number 1, 2 or 3 in priority. Prioritizing begins by completing A-1 tasks first, A-2 second and down the line to C-3.
The Pareto principle is often called the 80/20 rule and is important in business. For example, often 20 percent of your customers generate 80 percent of revenue. Another interpretation is that 20 percent of your work will produce 80 percent of business. Pareto analyses favor doing the most critical 20 percent of work that generates the biggest returns.
The POSEC acronym stands for “Prioritizing by Organizing, Streamlining, Economizing and Contributing.” You can organize your daily goals according to their urgency and the time you have available. Streamline or simplify nuisance tasks or matters that can be handled by others. Economizing refers to personal wish lists that you enjoy doing or things that should be done. Eliminate both if there’s not enough time. If some time is available, concentrate on what should be done instead of what you enjoy. Contributing is about social obligations, giving back to the community and paying attention to customers and worker complaints, which are essential tasks.
3. Avoid Clustering Similar Tasks