19 April 2017

The ability to maximise time is one of the most essential skills of a successful business owner

When you’re running a business, there’s only so much you can do in a given period of time. In the past, I created a discussion about business owners who attempt to master several things at once, most of them ending up not accomplishing anything. A lot of this is a matter of time management.

Unlike regular employees who have specific roles on a daily basis, a business owner has a lot of different things on his plate. There’s really no standard set of obligations that a business owner has to do regularly. This is exactly why he must be efficient with his time and not waste precious seconds on doing things that don’t really need his attention and energy.

Unfortunately, time management is where most business owners struggle. While there are several factors that cause them to mismanage their time, it all boils down to not having a system in place to manage tasks and keep track of their hours.

Below are a few ways to improve time management:

Determine top priorities and make a short list

It may be the oldest trick in the book when it comes to productivity, but it works. Write down with a pen and paper 3 to 5 most critical goals in a day, a few days or a week, depending on your timelines. Determine what you need to get done, and not what other people need to do.

To make this work, though, you’ll need to give yourself clear deadlines. Allot 15-30 minutes to go through this list at the start of each day, and make sure you start working on them before unanticipated work can steal away your time and attention. As soon as you accomplish an item, cross things off your list to give yourself a moment of gratification that will motivate you to move along.

Don’t fall into the email inbox pit

We’ve all been in this situation – we open our email inbox, go through some messages, and before we know it, we’ve spent hours replying to emails and working on things that shouldn’t have been part of our schedule. The worse thing is that we keep on doing it the next day.

To break this habit, you need to set regular times when you read and reply to messages. You need to resist the temptation to respond to the email pings and pop-ups that can eat away at your day. If this is challenging to you, consider turning off push notifications and other alerts. Put your phone on silent mode when you go to bed or leave it in another room to keep yourself from checking it all of the time.

Start meetings by polishing every task and addressing questions

The most important thing is to avoid spending your time in meetings, because it would be hard to get anything else done. Meetings are necessary, though, because your team needs to hear some things coming from you and not from emails. Make your meetings more efficient and productive by clearing things up at the start. Clarify the goals and objectives of the meeting and make sure everyone knows what they need to know as soon as they go out the room. Have them ask questions. This is very important because any misunderstanding can cause more delay and interruption to you and to the whole team.

Take a break when you feel the need to

Most business leaders think that the more they spend time working on a lot of things without taking a break, the more productive they become. What that does is make you feel more stressed later on, which will reduce the quality of your thinking and performance.

Whenever you feel like you need a quick breather, go and grab the opportunity. It’s better to interrupt yourself to refresh your mind (or probably to grab a quick bite) than to punish yourself with continuous work and suffer the mental and physical consequences, not to mention poor output.

Improve the way you manage your time and be the best business leader you can be by working with a Business Coach like me. My extensive clientele consists of companies based in all the Midlands including Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire. Discover how REACH Business Coaching can help you grow your business by attending our free workshops and seminars.

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