As a small business owner, you may often find yourself taking on a variety of tasks and challenges in your working week. From managing accounts to planning your digital marketing campaign, the typical working day of a small business owner is never simple.
Effective time management skills are fundamental to business success. Both the successful managing of a business and a happy healthy home life depend on them!
We’re sharing our top time management skills and tips to help you to manage your time effectively, grow your business and even enjoy your private life, too.
Effective time management tips
1.Decide your working pattern in advance
Small business owners often enjoy flexible working hours. This can be great to allow you more time with your family and friends. However, flexibility can come at a cost, if not managed properly. It can result in working long hours or procrastination, so a key effective time management tool is to keep control by planning your hours in advance.
Think outside the box and work the hours that suit you. A parent may prefer an early start with a break to do the school run. Or, you might want to work a little in the early evening to get your admin tasks ticked off without staff or client interruptions. You might even decide to take Friday afternoons off to enjoy some free time before the busy weekend. Your hours may be longer than an employee, but by planning your week in a digital or paper planner, you can maintain structure. Digital planners are often more effective as these can be set to notify you via email or an instant notification.
2. Put restrictions in place
Setting schedules and limits to at least loosely adhere to will always be a time management skill worth mastering. Block out chunks of your day as “meeting-free” time. This means you can catch up on any outstanding work, without having to stop to attend meetings (that inevitably overrun). Keep your diary public and up to date to avoid clashing appointments.
Keep your desk tidy and distraction-free. Avoid unnecessary paperwork piling up by keeping a shredder nearby to get rid of what you no longer need. The same goes for your emails. Delete the emails that are no longer important or useful. Encourage your employees to do the same.
If you run your business from your home, carve out a space that is specifically for working in. Avoid somewhere with home-based distractions like the kitchen table or living room sofa. That way, you won’t be tempted to start doing household chores whilst you should be working.
3. Work one task or project at a time
Flitting between tasks without any planning is a recipe for disaster. The evidence suggests that those who “multitask” are 40% less productive than those who focus on a single job, so avoiding this is a time management skill to keep in mind.
Try to carve out time each week to work on projects and tasks individually. Work out how many hours per week you should spend on each task and allocate them some time in your digital or paper planner. The main goal here is to segment the work to get the most effective use of time for both you and your business. Try to avoid sending fast and furious emails. Instead, condense your communication into one bigger email that is clear and easy to follow.
4. Delete your work-based email accounts and tools from your personal devices
Most small business owners would rather lose access to their right hand than their work phone, but your free time is your own. An essential time management skill is to always remember this.
If you can, don’t let work take over. Of course, as a small business owner this can be a struggle. Delete work communication from your personal mobile phone if you can and keep it restricted to your business laptop/desktop and phone. That way, you’ll not be tempted to check your work emails or to-do lists during your precious (and rare) downtime.
5. Use tools like Todoist and Google Calendar
Don’t rely on cramming every piece of key information into your head. Put everything into task and appointment management tools such as Todoist, Evernote and Google Calendar, so you remember everything. Get into the habit of adding tasks to a task management tool, complete with deadlines, so you don’t forget it! Use GCal in sync with a Calendly account to prevent meeting conflicts and act as a reminder of your next appointment. You can also use GCal to block out time for specific tasks you want to do during the week.
6. Outsource your digital marketing
Digital marketing can become a huge drain on your time. Learning the ways of online marketing, then figuring out how to put them into action and turn them into results, is a lengthy process that is constantly evolving. Take advantage of an expert digital marketing agency to save time on your online marketing and PR. Not only will you free up important time to focus on your customers; you might also find time to take a holiday!
If you’d like to free up your time by outsourcing your digital marketing, get a FREE marketing review from the digital marketing experts at Exposure Ninja today. Our in-depth review of your online presence will outline the areas for improvement and the tactics you can use to boost your SEO and marketing game, driving profits up. Or, leave it to our experts to do it for you and put your feet up!