Running a business can be overwhelming. With everything going on and different areas working simultaneously, keeping tabs on your team while still managing tasks can be an almost impossible challenge. And chances are, you’ll find yourself working extra hours just to get everything done, burning yourself out because of mismanaged time.
Feeling like there isn’t enough time in a day to get everything done isn’t uncommon. In fact, 57% of US business owners end up working six days a week while 20% or more work seven. And even more are working just as hard or even twice as much in the same time frame.
There is an urgent need now to refocus how you manage your time and lay out your tasks in a more organised and efficient way. Being able to prioritise certain objectives over others in a day can help you become your most productive self.
All across the globe, entrepreneurs are working more than 12 hours a day. 84% of business owners work more than 40 hours a week, and an alarming number of them report that they’re constantly overwhelmed. Entrepreneurs are burning out over how much they have to accomplish and the stress it brings.
Stress has been proven to lessen productivity and even damage the body in the long run. It can affect your health in severe ways. It’s even linked to poor decision-making, something an entrepreneur needs to avoid.
Some of the more severe side effects are weakening of the immune system, increased likelihood of anxiety and depression, and long-term damage to the heart because of how much harder it is to pump blood. Overall, stress and burnout can affect not just you as a business owner, but your company, too.
But how are you supposed to combat this in the face of everything that needs to be done? iI’s possible to be more productive in fewer hours so long as you delegate tasks, schedule your day well, and focus on what’s at hand.
Being more efficient with your time can be difficult but it’s not impossible. Follow these seven time management tips and you’ll definitely be on the right track to productivity in fewer hours.
And we mean everything. Down to lunch breaks and calls, having all your appointments, meetings, and objectives laid out before you even start your day can give you a leg up on what you need to do. Be meticulous with what time they start and end. Do this the week before and review your schedule every night before the next working day.
Having a colour code can also help—red for the most important, green for what isn’t as high a priority, etc. Doing this lets you know at a glance what needs to be done urgently and what can wait.
It’s also important to schedule contingency time just in case there are interruptions or emergencies. Make time for breaks, as well, as they’re important for you to rest your mind and recuperate. Don’t work during break time, take your time to stretch, eat, or even socialise.
Part of having a team is making use of their skills—so utilise them efficiently. Instead of taking on all that needs to be done in a day, show your team you trust them to carry out tasks for you which will result in a more productive and more confident team.
You can teach a team member a task in five minutes that would usually take you an hour and they can do it while you focus on other things, saving time.
You need to be, in a way, less involved with the process but still remain at the heart of it. That is, the business can run without you having to be hands-on 24/7 in every area. Not only does delegation develop employees, but you, as well, because of how much quicker you and your team will arrive at decisions.
Distractions are everywhere. In order to be more efficient with your time, you need to eliminate them. Turn off social media while you’re working and keep non-work emails to down time. You need to focus on what you’re doing in order to make better decisions.
One way to focus is by being mindful. Mindfulness is a way of being fully present and aware of what you’re doing and accepting yourself when your mind has wandered. It’s a practice that has aided many in their endeavours to complete all their tasks quickly.
Re-centering yourself when you find your mind wandering without beating yourself up over it will actually help as you don’t feel negative and don’t judge yourself for it. It’ll boost your productivity, in fact, because you don’t spend time berating yourself for being unfocused.
Instead of spreading yourself too thin, try not accomplishing multiple things at once. Your time, attention, and energy will all go into one objective and task management will be done more thoroughly and successfully than if juggled with other things.
There is a method called the Eat the Frog Method. It’s inspired by the quote: “Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
It’s a productivity technique that encourages you to do the hardest thing first and you won’t have to think about it for the rest of the day. Avoiding them just makes you more anxious in the long-run and you’ll be left with more manageable tasks.
Accomplishing the hardest one first will also give you that boost of inertia to do the rest since you’re already in motion. Slogging through the easy stuff only to be challenged throughout the day with your mind already tired will only make things more difficult. And by the time you have to face the biggest one, you’re already drained. Time management can only be achieved by accomplishing what needs to be done in a strategic way.
Technology has changed the business landscape significantly. Instead of having to file papers manually, electronic means are more accessible and manageable. Capitalise on how technology has made connection easier, quicker, and more efficient.
Instead of waiting around for people who are late to a meeting, have video conferences or defer to emails if seeing each other isn’t necessary. Ensure that everyone on the team is well-connected so that you can delegate tasks immediately.
Having a digital space where your team can collaborate is also important. Allow them to socialise, be productive, and ask each other for help. It’ll save time if they can talk to each other and build each other up where you can also step in if needed.
More and more productivity techniques are accessible to us as time goes on. Work rhythm is all about balance. Balancing your bouts of productivity with important, recuperating breaks can help you engage your mind and then rest it for the next cycle to come.
You just have to find one that suits you and, if necessary, customise it to your needs. A popular one is the Pomodoro technique, named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer its creator, Francesco Cirillo, used. You set the timer to 25 minutes for focusing and working and when it runs out, you take a five minute break. Simple but powerful.
The Get It Done method requires you to break down your tasks into more sizable chunks and group them together. Say you need to send several different emails to different departments, sit down and do all the emails together. If you need to do paperwork for different clients, get to signing all of them at once. Doing this allows you to feel more accomplished even if you’re tackling different areas.
Don’t forget to take breaks, either. It refreshes the brain and helps you avoid decision fatigue and stress.
Jon Burgstone and Bill Murphy Jr. of Inc say that, “Entrepreneurship isn't simply about launching new ventures or making money. Instead, it's about solving problems and creating social progress; building great new things that make a better world.”
In the chaos of everything going on with your business, you may forget why you’re doing it in the first place. What is the ambition here and why attempt it? Return not just to your business plan, but your initial motivation, that burst of passion that made you become an entrepreneur in the first place.
Being reminded of your own passion and why you’re doing what you do can be the psychological and emotional trigger to being more productive, too. It can help with prioritising tasks, time and task management, and working with more fervour.
Being able to manage your time as a business owner is a crucial part of the job. It sets the pace for the rest of your team and for how the company runs. With these tips, you can definitely adjust the lens with which you see your objectives and how you accomplish them.
If time management is hindering your output and delaying progress, find out how we can help you.
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