If you had a genie, what would you wish for?
- More time with your family?
- To be more productive at work?
- A million dollars?
A million dollars may be a stretch, but there are a few simple measures that would improve your productivity at work and enable you spend more time with loved ones. As a small business owner, time management is vital, both for you and your employees.
Effective time management can increase your business’ productivity, which consequently strengthens your brand and the quality of your product or service. While this is all great in theory, the real question is how you can make it happen.
1. Ignore Your Email
This may seem like a joke, but email is one of the top time-wasters in your day. Don’t ignore it all together, but put aside the (admittedly compulsive) need to check your email every 20 minutes. Every time you open your inbox, you are losing time that could be spent focusing on other tasks. Set aside two times during your workday that are dedicated to cleaning your inbox. We prefer first thing in the morning and just after lunch. By focusing on all your emails during dedicated times, you open up the rest of your day to finish pressing tasks that can bring in much-needed revenue.
If you still find your inbox overwhelming when you do check it, you can take advantage of folders to help you get organized. As you go through your inbox, respond to what you can and sort the rest based on urgency. A personal preference is to have three main labels:
- Reply: all emails go in here that take longer than 2 minutes to respond to
- Waiting: all emails go in here where you are waiting for a response or want to process later
- Archive: all other emails go in here that you want to be able to access later
2. Forget Multitasking
By and large, the ability to multitask is a myth. According to a report in the Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, only 2.5% of people are able to effectively multitask without sacrificing quality. Unless you’re part of this elite 2.5%, stop kidding yourself. Take on one project at a time. Doing so has the potential to double your productivity and can be the difference between success and failure.
It’s fair to say that technology is a major source of distraction. By minimizing the distractions around you (instant messaging alerts, text message vibrations, email notifications, and so on), you can improve your focus and become better at unitasking.
3. Write it Down
The act of writing down a schedule, plan, or to-do list can be invaluable in driving your productivity. There’s something about committing to a plan in writing that solidifies it in your mind. At the end of every day, sit down and write out your goals for the next day. This will keep you focused and driven. While distractions are bound to come up, at least you can guarantee a clear plan that will help you get back on the right track.
4. Organize Your Space
It may sound cliché, but an organized workplace is an organized mind. For many, the state of your desk is directly correlated to your level of franticness. In fact, a study by Esselte showed that 43% of Americans consider themselves disorganized, and this results in staying late at the office at least twice a week! Spend a few minutes at the end of each day organizing your workspace so you can come in the next morning ready to take on your business. Have an important task that you need to tackle first thing in the morning? Make sure it’s in the middle of your desk (or computer desktop) so you can take it on as soon as you get to work.
5. Set Step-by-Step Goals
Break down large projects into smaller pieces. By breaking down your tasks into smaller, manageable fragments, you will be able to more effectively accomplish your goals since each step is clearly stated. Create a timeline based on your task list and delegate if possible. Checking tasks off your list can be extremely motivating and put you in the right frame of mind to take on other projects.
As a small business owner, your schedule can become overwhelming. By following these tips, hopefully, you can use your time more efficiently and spend less time at the office. As for the million dollars – good luck finding that genie!
What tricks and tips are you using for time management?