10 tips for managing your time effectively
If you run your own business you need to always make the best use of your time and be as efficient and organised as possible. There’s always a long list of things to do when you’re in charge, especially as a small business, but the important thing is – don’t panic! The people rushing around and stressing are normally the least productive, so take a breath, make a plan and get back in control of your tasks.
We love to help business owners to improve their skills through training, so to help you to be as productive as possible, here are our 10 tips for managing your time and becoming more organised!
- Know your strengths and weaknesses and ask for help if you need it –
If you are weak with a particular computer programme, but you know someone who is amazing at it, ask if you can get them to help you on this and you help them at something else. Don’t spend a whole day doing something someone else can do in 5 minutes!
Identify your areas of weakness and decide whether you can train to gain those skills, or it’s better to pay someone else to do them for you, to leave you to focus on the areas where you’re strong.
Think of ways to work smarter. If you are overwhelmed ask for help and delegate if you can – you don’t have to do everything!
- Take a moment to plan and think
Start every day and week by taking a little time to plan your actions for the day/week and prioritise your tasks. Allocate the first 30 minutes of your day to this and you will immediately gain control. Here’s how you can make the most of that planning time –
- Make a list of things you need to do and categorise them into urgent and not so urgent
- Put deadlines to actions, to make sure you’re on track
- Do the most important tasks first and get them out of the way
- Make a to do list in the most easy way for you – on your phone or computer, in your diary, or on a calendar, but make sure you’re on track
- Once you have a plan – stick to it
- Think when you are the most productive
We all work differently and some people are great in the morning, others late at night. What do you feel works best for you? See when you’re the most effective and use those hours wisely
- Don’t get bogged down by emails
Don’t be a slave to your emails or phone, answering everything as it comes through can chew up all your time and make you panic. Set aside two or three times a day when you will check emails and can act on them and otherwise focus on your work, you will feel a lot more productive and almost all emails can wait.
- Devote your entire focus to the task at hand
When you have something that really needs to get down, focus on it properly. This may sound simple, but we have so many distractions, so you need to make an effort to block them out. Here are some ways you can block out the noise and improve your focus –
- Close out all other browser windows.
- Put your phone away, out of sight and on silent.
- Find a quiet place to work, or listen to some music if that helps
- Concentrate on this one task. Nothing else should exist. Immerse yourself in it.
- Avoid social media
Social media can suck up huge amount of time without you realising, so be vigilant. Close all social media tabs until lunch, turn off alerts while you’re at work and try and create certain times of day when you’ll check it and a time limit for how long you’ll spend on it!
- Schedule appointments and meetings to save time
When we moved to Manilva we found ourselves back and forth to Marbella nearly every day and it was wasting a huge amount of time. So we started to dedicate one day a week to going there and where possible tried to group meetings, so we could see lots of people in one day and keep other days meeting free. This isn’t possible for all businesses, but here are some tips and things to think about –
- Can you group visits or meetings that are close together?
- Can you get clients to come to the office?
- Can you have an afternoon with several meetings/visits?
- Set a clear start and finish time for meetings to make sure it doesn’t take more time than it needs to
- Think whether a call or video conference would be better than a face to face meeting – Zoom and Microsoft Teams can save you a huge amount of time and still allow you to make a personal connection
- Don’t procrastinate
A lot of time is wasted worrying about starting a project or task or avoiding it by doing easier or less stressful tasks. When you have a difficult task set a time for it, go into a room with no distractions and focus on it for at least an hour, when the bulk of it will be done. Many times, the thought of a particular task is much worse than the reality, so just get on with it!!
- Log the results of calls/meetings and log your hours
Take 10 minutes after each call or meeting to log what you discussed and any action points. At the end of the day, check you have acted upon those actions. When necessary, put a follow up in your diary, or reminder on your phone so you keep on track.
If you are in a business dominated by what you can achieve in a given time, it’s a good idea to log your hours. There are tools which help you with this, we use Toggl, or you can just note it down to give you an idea. By logging hours you are often able to identify tasks that are taking over your day, or areas where you’re sinking too much time for how much you can possibly earn. Once you’ve identified those, then you can think about how to be more efficient, or perhaps outsource to leave you to work on things which will make you more money.
- What to do when your head’s not in the game?
This may seem a strange one to include in a productivity post, yet we have to be realistic and acknowledge that not all days are good days. Don’t worry – it’s not just you! Use these days to clear the small, easy tasks off your to do list. Just getting some tasked ticked off can start the brain going and you’re ready for more! If you’re really in a slump, go for a walk, or make a call, have a coffee and see if the break can get you started again. Sometimes a change is as good as a rest!!
We hope these tips will help you to be more productive and efficient. A few small changes can free up hours each day and really help you stay in control and make more money. Good luck!
Shaw Marketing Services offer business and marketing training sessions to help you to improve your skills and build your business. Choose from one-to-one sessions, online training, or group training with the whole team in your office. We can offer training for businesses between Malaga and Gibraltar, or online for anyone further afield. Contact us to find out more and book a session.