Effective Time Management Techniques for All Small Business Owners
A key thing to master as a small business owner is your own time and how you can use it in the most efficient manner.
As a small business owner, you are likely still responsible, as CEO and founder, of running all aspects of your business. You meet with your team, you’re responsible for the overall direction of the business, you oversee marketing, sales, and delivery to clients. With so many different things that you need to achieve each day you need a proper time management system and plan for making sure things get done.
If you don’t have a system you’ll likely follow the typical working day routine where you go into the office at 9 and check your emails. When you do this you automatically go into a state of reaction and begin to create your to-do list off the back of those emails. You don’t have a morning of reflection where you review your goals and what you can do that day to achieve them. Instead, you spend your day reacting to emails and then feel frustrated at the end of the day because you know you didn’t make the progress you wanted. If you carry on like this you’ll get to a certain point where you can’t progress any further.
Through reading and learning from Tony Robbins and his RPM planning process, at GrowFactor we’ve created a process that works best for us. The key to any system is it has to work for you. So if you work better in the mornings you don’t have to work 9-5. You don’t have to work from an office if you work best from home – skip the commute if that suits you. Set up a structure and schedule that works for you so you can win.
These are the time management activities we implement daily to effectively manage our time and we recommend you adapt these tips and techniques to suit you:
1. Set three clear priorities for the day that you set up the evening before
Don’t write a massive to-do list. Instead of feeling energised you’ll look at the list and dread the day. You’ll also end up ticking off random tasks that don’t actually help you move towards achieving your ultimate goals. Instead, think about what three things would make a massive difference to your business if you achieved them tomorrow. Focus on the bigger picture always. Then you can set a clear plan and schedule for the next day.
2. Work in two or three-hour blocks with breaks in between
Try out Pomodoro which is work for 25 minutes, take five minutes break and then hit another 25 minutes, ensuring you link your tasks to overall objectives. The benefit of this structure is increased productivity in shorter bursts of activity. As an entrepreneur, you’ll be used to hearing others claim to work 12+ hours daily with no breaks but how much of that time are they actually producing good quality work? There’s no point doing every hour under the sun if you’d be just as productive in half the time with more structure. Instead focus on improving your effective time management skills and your productivity will improve as a result.
3. Don’t look at your emails first thing
Do a critical task first and achieve an outcome before you check your emails. It is commonplace in the UK to check emails first thing when we sit at our desk but if you check your emails straight away you just end up answering other people’s to-do lists. You instantly lose focus and forget about your musts for the day because you got stuck in your emails.
4. Organise your emails into important and non-urgent folders
Use tools to organise your emails into urgent and non-urgent folders to better plan your day. Set up a timer and tackle the urgent emails first. Once the time is over go back to working on your priorities for the day and stay on track. Schedule in time to tackle emails. Don’t be a slave to other people’s to-do lists.
Developing effective time management skills are essential for every UK business owner to succeed. If you don’t you’ll spend your day firefighting when you could be making consistent progress towards achieving your growth goals. You must adapt a time management tips and techniques into a system that works best for you and your organisation to thrive.
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