Time for a Change in Your Time Management Practices
“If only I had more time….”
That’s a common lament among small business owners. And no wonder. With so many responsibilities associated with running and growing a successful enterprise, plus professional and personal commitments, 24 hours in a day just doesn’t seem enough sometimes.
Good time management is obviously important to getting everything done. But it’s also vital to your physical health. Repeated stretches of long hours takes a toll on your body, and makes you more vulnerable to illness. Your efficiency and focus are also compromised so that the more you do, the less you really get done.
Author and self-employment expert Janet Attard offers these tips for making the most of your time.
Don’t do it all: Even if your business relies on some unique skill or talent only you possess, there will still be things you routinely spend time on that someone else could do or be taught to do. You can work less and spend more time growing your business bydelegating or outsourcingwork to someone else.
Keep a weekly time log: Write down each task you do, noting start and stop times. At the end of the week, analyze the log. Make a list of each activity you performed, how long it took, and how often you got interrupted. Your analysis will help you spot specific tasks that could be delegated, and identify the leading time-wasting activities in your week.
Limit daily email checks: Stopping toread emailevery five or ten minutes distracts you from other activities and wastes time. For most business owners there shouldn't be any email so important that it can't wait for three or four hours to be read and answered (if a response is even needed.) Set a specific time (and time limit) for reading email, and stick to it.
Reduce interruptions: Use caller ID and voicemail to screen calls, and set a specific time in the day to check and return them. If you have employees, designate one to handle all incoming calls. Also have employees save up their questions and bring them to you all at once at a set time in the day.
Manage customer expectations.Let your customers know what your hours of operation are, when they can expect to receive their order, or how long their project should take to complete. Provide this information on your website, in your sales literature, in contracts or letters of agreement, or when orders are taken on the phone or in person.
To learn more, contact SCORE Lakes Region by calling 603-524-0137 or log on to www.scorelakesregion.org and link to Free Counseling. Experienced business advisors are available to offer free and confidential advice. SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer. Also, if you are interested in offering a small amount of your time by sharing your business experience to others please contact our office.