When you have a big goal to achieve and a long journey ahead, it is possible that every now and then you find yourself running short of time. Sometimes the race against the clock may seem natural. Most of the people have been liable to agree that running a growing business means spending extra hours in the boardroom, meeting clients and making business decisions. These in turn makes them believe that paucity of time is a direct catastrophe of business success. But when time is managed properly, you will still be able to invest time in your personal health and happiness without letting your business suffer. Hence, time management requires you to use some smart techniques for dedicating your time to your tasks properly.
Audit your time
If you have had trouble managing time, then begin with a quick time audit to find out where all the time is going. Now you may have thought that you just need 15 minutes with the operational head to get a quick rundown on the week’s goals but you end up having more than an hour long discussion with him which pushes some of your other tasks of the day out of schedule. Therefore time auditing helps you to track the time you spend reading and writing emails, the time spent on your operation floor discussing strategies with the operational head, and the time spent with the sales and marketing team discussing strategies for growing the business.
Fragment your time according to your productivity
It is popularly known that people are most productive for the first two hours at work. This is the time when you must do work of your highest priority. If you have been working on a new product design, then sit down with it at this time of the day. You are fresh and active during this time and your brain tends to work with higher focus in the early hours of work. Over the next few hours your brain experiences fatigue caused by the constant need to make decisions and to go through approvals and to prepare for client meetings. So, schedule work that requires less energy and focus, for the afternoon. By doing so, some people gain their focus once again probably because of the knowledge that they will be leaving office soon and should complete their work quickly. Others tend to be even lesser focused in the evening because they just want to leave office and are not interested in doing any more work. Find out which one of these are you and schedule your evening tasks accordingly. If you enjoy sharp focus in the evening, you can carry out client meetings or view reports and plan steps to take the business forward at this time.
Try to achieve small goals first
American author Alan Lakein popularized the ‘Swiss Cheese method’ for time management that is very useful in managing big projects and meeting deadlines. The idea is to break down any big task or goal into several smaller ones or in 15-minute time blocks. This way you feel a sense of achievement every time you complete a task within the 15-minute time block. It keeps you focused on your work and helps you complete your work in time.
Focus more on the product that generates higher revenue
Another time management methodology that can be successfully used to manage time as a business owner is the Pareto Principle, commonly known as the 80-20 rule. Pareto was an Italian economist who popularized the theory that 80% of an outcome that came only out of 20% inputs. Inspiration for this principle came from Pareto’s garden where he found that 80% of the healthy pea pods came from 20% of the pea plants in his garden. He expanded his discovery to study different situations and found that the 80-20 principle fits very well in most scenarios, leading to the Pareto Principle.
Say you are a baker. You give 3 hours a day for baking macaroons and 1 hour a day for baking muffins. A revenue analysis shows 10% income from macaroons and 40% income from muffins. It is clear that shifting your time and focus on muffins can help you increase your customer base and even enjoy higher revenue.
Affirmation of your inner mind manipulates how much time you will spend for a task
In addition to using the Pareto Principle, professionals who have succeeded in managing time effectively also swear by Parkinson’s Law which claims that tasks expand to fill in the time you assign to them. So, if you decide to spend an hour writing an important email response, then you will end up spending an actual hour on it instead of the 30 minutes that it would have taken otherwise. If you notice that you have been spending more time doing tasks that can otherwise be completed in lesser time, then use time constraints to increase your focus on the task and complete it more efficiently. By being more aware of the time you are spending on tasks, you will also be able to clearly define duties to be performed by you or by others to complete the task.
Selecting your priority and make list accordingly
Time management is important and the easiest way to manage time more effectively is to use the Do first, Schedule, Delegate and Don’t Do method. At first you may find this to be tedious, but slowly as you get more familiar with the method, it will become very easy to work with and can visibly change the time you spend on different tasks. Begin by creating a list of tasks to accomplish, then allocate them to the Eisenhower Matrix:
Write your tasks in the boxes based on their urgency and importance. You do the tasks that are urgent and important, you schedule the tasks that are less urgent but important, you delegate the tasks that are urgent but not important and you don’t do the tasks that are neither urgent nor important.
Thoughts to conclude
Using these methods you will be able not only to prioritize your tasks, but also delegate tasks more often. This reduces micro-management and gives you the opportunity to spend more time doing what is urgent and important for the company and eventually saving time that would have been spent doing non-urgent and unimportant tasks that can be handled by the rest of your staff. Thus you will be able to spend enough time with your family and friends, besides being a successful business owner.
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