As an entrepreneur, you understand all too well the importance of managing your time. Time management skills are extremely important, as you go through your day wearing the many hats it takes to run a small business. Let’s face it, time is a precious resource; no matter how we plan it, there is only 24 hours of it per day.
How do you spend your time professionally and personally? Are you organized and/or productive? To increase your productivity and maximize your time and energy, here are 4 Time Management Tips:
Time Management Tip #1: Set Specific Time Management Goals
Why do you want to set specific goals to manage your time effectively? Well, setting simple goals will force you to plan your time wisely, thus, allowing you to get a sense of achievement and reduce work and life stress. For example, if spending time with your family is important, try working fewer hours on Friday so that you can honor that goal.
By scheduling your time based on your goals, you can assess if your goals truly align with the core values, both professionally and personally. If you find that your goals are out of align, then you are able to identify key areas that need adjusting before they get out of control. A must read book by Brian Tracy that helps you to set goals in all areas of your life is, ‘Focal Point: A Proven System to Simplify Your Life, Double Your Productivity, and Achieve All Your Goals.’
Time Management Tip #2: Prioritize Your Day
It is essential that you start your day with a ‘to do’ list. It doesn’t matter if your business is small or if you run a large corporation, having a daily plan will keep you on track in effectively running your business. Start your day by scheduling uninterrupted time to plan and create your list of tasks for that day, and rank your list in order of priority. For example, if you have 10 tasks on your list, of those, how many do you need to complete? Can you save the least important tasks for another time?
Please note: If you don’t accomplish all the tasks from your ‘to do’ list, it doesn’t mean you are having problems managing your time. It simply means that you only have limited time per day to get everything done and you may be trying to accomplish more tasks than you have time in the day.
To manage and prioritize my time, I rely on Microsoft Outlook’s calendar and task manager to plan my personal and business schedule. I then sync Microsoft Outlook to my Black Berry PDA. This helps me to stay on task and set priorities for my daily activities. Find what works for you and make it a daily habit to have a productive and organized day!
Time Management Tip #3: Delegate
As your business grows, so should your ‘tight grip’ on controlling every aspect of your business. The worst thing that you can do is become a slave to your business. This attitude can cripple you! I know this first hand; as a former owner of a building maintenance company; I was president, HR generalist, payroll specialist, trainer, janitor, sales woman and more! It took me a while to realize that not only could I not effectively wear every hat, but in order to grow and regain my sanity, I had to trust others. It is important that you delegate non-core business tasks to your staff or consider outsourcing. Play on the strengths of others. The lack of delegation will stifle your growth, or worse, cause you to run your business and yourself into a pit fall.
Time Management Tip #4: Control Your Communications. As I write this article, I’ve stopped several times to check my email and speak to a few friends on Skype; re-tweeted a quote from someone that I follow on Twitter; and refreshed my Facebook ‘news feed’ on my Blackberry. Does this sound familiar?
If you find yourself constantly checking and updating your favorite social media sites or taking phone calls throughout the day, then your productivity is probably suffering! If you don’t control the constant interruptions, you will not be able to complete those important tasks that you planned to work on and your business will suffer. So, if you have several deadlines to meet, consider setting your business phone to your voice mail or ask your office manager to hold your calls so you won’t be distracted. Also, consider scheduling specific times to check your email, voice messages and social media activities.
By setting goals and prioritizing your time, you will see a balance in your work and life. Be deliberate in consistently creating a daily ‘to do’ work schedule. By following the ‘4 Time Management Tips,’ will enable you to manage your time wisely and effectively, thus, avoiding procrastination and improving your productivity.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Sylvia Browder is CEO of Browder Consulting Group, a virtual small business consulting and coaching firm. She is currently employed as a Project Director, business coach and consultant for the Women’s Business Center, Inc., a non-profit economic development organization with a mission of empowering women to start and grow successful businesses. She also serves as a volunteer SCORE counselor, an organization dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide. She is also a Technical Assistant Provider for SBA’s Community Express Loan Program. For FREE weekly articles go to Sylvia Browder’s Blog for Women Entrepreneur’s, www.sylviabrowder.com. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org..
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