Small business owners have a lot on their many, many plates, and finding the time to get everything done can seem like an unclimbable mountain. Don’t let yourself get caught in a landslide when too many things-to-do pile up – learn to maximize the time you have in order to keep your business running smoothly and efficiently.
1. Set up a positive work environment
Get yourself a comfy chair, play some soft music in the background, and set your phone to silent. This might not seem like a major time management tip, but when you can make yourself comfortable and free of distractions, you can allow yourself to get in ‘the zone’ and really focus on getting your work done. Even if it’s just an hour a week of uninterrupted work time, you’ll be able to minimize your stress levels and workload.
2. Set Goals
If you’re a small business owner you might have already heard of SMART Goals and maybe even set some. If not, you could probably benefit from utilizing this mnemonic acronym. SMART stands for:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time-based
Following the SMART criteria for both long-term and short-term goals can help you plan out your path to success and focus on what you really want to get done.
Breaking down your long-term goals into smaller, bite-sized pieces can help you make sure things are getting done and measure your progress. For example, let’s say you have a long-term goal of increasing your overall brand awareness. Smaller goals could include reaching out to a marketing firm for assistance, getting business cards printed, having a website built, or building up your 5 star Google reviews. These smaller tasks are easier to get done, and once they are all added up you can pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for increasing your brand awareness.
3. Make a to-do list
With your previous goals in mind, write out a list of everything you plan to get done. Prioritize the needs over the wants and think over the deadlines. Help your list shrink by knocking out some of the smaller, easier to do things first before handling the big stuff. Keep things that are time-consuming and able to be pushed back at the bottom of your list. You’ll get to them when you have the time, but first you need to make the time. Make sure your list is manageable and within reason.
4. Delegate tasks
If you’re running a business, you certainly don’t have time to be managing every single little thing on your to-do list. Sometimes it can be nerve-wracking to pass on a task to someone else, but once you know their strengths and weaknesses it will get easier. Hire a bookkeeper to handle your finances, a marketing team to handle your social media and website, and a manager to run your brick-and-mortar shop. Doing this will free up a significant amount of time and allow you to focus on the things that only a business owner can handle.
5. Schedule your tasks
You don’t need to break out the old day planner to keep up with your hectic schedule. There are tons of tools online to help you track upcoming due dates and things-to-do. Using a management software like Teamwork, Trello, Asana, or something similar could help you schedule things from day-to-day tasks to monthly check-ins.
Try grouping tasks together when planning out your schedule. Focus on inventory one day and responding to emails the next. It’s important to give yourself a structure to work with, and letting that structure turn into a daily, weekly, or monthly routine will give you a better workflow. Don’t forget to take distractions into account. Your 10-minute phone chat might turn into an hour-long discussion, and you’ll want to be prepared for when that happens.
Learning to manage your time is a skill that isn’t always easy to learn. It takes practice to know how to set the best goals, write out a list of the most important tasks, and plan out the perfect schedule. Once you get the hang of things you’ll be able to make the most of your work hours. If you’re looking for someone to hep you manage your small business finances, contact the team of All About Businesses.