Key Time Management Tips for Small Business Owners
1. Know Your Productivity Window
You’ll best optimise your time by working with your natural rhythm. If you’re a morning person, you’re likely most productive at the start of the workday, up until lunch. Or, you might be more of a night owl, in which case you’re more productive in the afternoons or evenings.
Take note of when you feel most energised and when you feel like you get into a flow state – that is, a state where work comes easy to you, and you don’t have to think much to get the results you want. Then, plan your most important tasks during that productivity window.
2. Get Organised
You should go into each day with a solid idea of where you’ll spend your time. Whether you use a calendar app or a physical planner, spend time at the beginning of each week plotting out your tasks. You can start by creating a brain dump with all the things you need to accomplish. Then, rank them from most urgent and important to least and plug them into your schedule in that order.
3. Group Tasks
You can also organise your tasks by grouping them in with other tasks of the same type. This works especially well for loftier tasks that don’t have a clear objective. For example, if you know you need to create content for your marketing strategy, set aside a block of time for all things content creation. This could include market research, planning content, and actually creating it.
Likewise, you might set aside an entire morning for all things finance, from balancing the books to sending invoices. By doing all related tasks at once, you can keep your brain in the flow state rather than wasting time transitioning from one task to a completely unrelated one.
4. Quit Multitasking
It’s time to stop attempting to multitask. The reality is that the brain can only manage one thing at a time. If you try to do multiple things, your brain will struggle to shift your attention back and forth, which ultimately eats up more time.
Still, this is easier said than done. You can put up blinders to help you focus on one thing at a time. Remove distractions – for example, close any tabs on your computer that don’t relate to your current task. Turn off calendar notifications and put your phone on do not disturb mode. Put your to-do list in a drawer so you can’t see the other items on it. Focus on one thing, complete it, cross it off the list, and move on.
5. Plan for Delays
It’s impossible to stay on task and focused for your entire eight-hour workday, so don’t depend on it. If you plan a day stacked full of perfect productive tasks, you only plan to fail, which can be discouraging and set you back even further. Know that your eight-hour workday might only have six hours of true, uninterrupted focus time. You can plan for delays or distractions in a few ways:
- Plan for tasks to take you longer than you’d like, such as setting aside an hour for something that should take you 45 minutes.
- Schedule mini-breaks during longer projects
- Set aside 15 minutes between tasks as buffer room
- Add a block of time into each day for interruptions
6. Train Yourself for Deep Work
Deep work refers to focused, uninterrupted time in which you give 100% of your attention to a task. Deep work isn’t a habit, rather it’s a skill that we must practice and build. When we do manage to get into deep work mode, we can accomplish amazing things, from coming up with innovative ideas to creating valuable assets.
Of course, in today’s world, it feels almost impossible to get into a completely uninterrupted state of deep work. To do so, you must schedule time for it and remove all distractions. Let your employees or clients know that you’re unavailable during this one chunk of time, and then be honest with yourself when you reach for distractions. Understand that you’re training your brain to focus and don’t give in to temptations. Use that time to focus on your most urgent and important business tasks. Over time, you’ll become accustomed to getting into the deep work state, and your business will benefit hugely.
7. Set Time to Recharge
Productivity is vital as a small business owner – but it’s also exhausting. While time management requires that you follow a schedule and spend time deeply focused on tasks, it’s also easy to become burnt out by doing so. Plan time each day, week, and month to recharge.
Schedule activities and hobbies that make you happy. Make dates with friends and family. Set aside time to treat yourself, whether that’s a game of golf, a hike, or an evening alone with a glass of wine. Although it might seem like this is time wasted, it’s critical for you to recharge so that you can show up on top of your game during business hours.
Ultimately, time management skills can make or break your business. You might have the best product and most impressive marketing strategy, but that’s nothing if you can’t plan your time to deliver it properly.
Still, as a small business owner, time management is one of the hardest skills to hone. That’s where I come in. As a business coach, I help my clients get the business systems and processes in place to improve profitability, efficiency, consistency, and more. One of the biggest things I work with my clients on? Time management. Schedule a 15-minute phone chat with me today to discuss how I can help you too.