14 April 2021

When running a business, time is precious and you need to be able to master it

Most regular employees probably spend somewhere between 8 and 12 hours to get work done. Beyond that is already a sign of overwork. The reality is that even when you’re at the office from dusk till dawn, it seems like 24 hours is still not enough to complete all the tasks on your daily checklist.

In previous posts, I emphasised how time, not money, is the most valuable commodity you have when you’re the one running the business. You can always make more money, but you can’t produce more time — you can’t add hours to day, or add in an extra weekday to create an 8-day week.

What you can do, however, is to save precious minutes from your daily routine so you can allot more time on what’s more urgent and important. When you’re able to manage your time effectively, you become more productive and you begin to feel your workload become lighter and more achievable.

The key is to prepare

The worst way to start your day is to show up to work in the morning and then try to figure out what you should do first. Not only would that be a huge waste of time, it also often results in lousy task management.

If it’s not yet part of your routine, try to prepare the night before. Before you go to bed, grab your planner (if you have one, and you should) and rank the top three things you need to get done the next day. Include side notes of things you shouldn’t forget while doing those tasks. When you arrive at the office in the morning, you’ll be able to dive right in and not waste a single minute in limbo.

Keep meetings short, and cancel useless ones

We’ve all fallen into the trap of staff meetings that are a total waste of time. You might feel like you’re getting a lot done, but all you’re really doing is disrupting people from their work, slicing their days up into little fragments, and thwarting them from fulfilling their obligations.

Since you’re the business leader, the key to making meetings more efficient lies in your hands. 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. If sending out an email can serve the same purpose, by all means ditch the meeting.

Take your breaks

Believe it or not, you can actually save time by taking short breaks. Most business leaders think that the more they spend time working on a lot of things without taking five, the more productive they become. In fact, what that does is make you feel more stressed later on, which will reduce the quality of your thinking and performance.

Ignore your emails for a few hours

Sometimes we dive into our emails too soon: we open our 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.

Unless you’re waiting for a very important message, try logging out of your account for a specified amount of time or schedule in a day. For a lot of people, doing this helps them focus on their most urgent tasks and avoid getting sidetracked by emails that could be dealt with at a later time.

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