Being a business owner is one of the best jobs in the world, but it can also be the most stressful when it comes to time management. After all, business owners wear multiple hats. On any given day, you might work with customers, training team members, answering dozens of calls and emails, and trying to find space for your family and personal life.
How do you keep all the balls in the air without going down the squirrel hole?
The answer is simple: time management skills. If you ask us, excellent time management is one of the top skills entrepreneurs need to succeed, thrive, and grow their businesses.
In this blog, we’ll share a few of our top time management tips and tricks to help you get organized and crush the day.
Why Time Management Skills Matters?
Entrepreneurs must prioritize time management because we own every part of our businesses. We’ve got to prioritize the tasks that come first and understand how much time to allocate to each job. We also need to know when to delegate and how to keep each day moving efficiently.
Without good time management, disaster ensues. Important business communications and deadlines fall through the cracks, you wind up spending too much time on minor tasks and not enough time on important ones, and, worst of all, you face a very real risk of burnout.
Executing efficient and productive time management skills allows you to craft a life you love rather than a life you feel trapped inside.
5 Time Management Skills To Master
Whether you own a single company or are a multi-unit franchisee, there are many daily demands on your time. Prevent overwhelm and “squirrel brain” with the following five smart time management skills.
1. Use Technology To Automate Repetitive Tasks
Most business owners have several repetitive tasks they have to do daily. Posting on social media, for example, or setting appointment reminders. While these tasks may not seem like a big time-suck, they add up quickly.
One of the best ways to streamline your day and practice effective time management is to automate these repetitive tasks.
Productivity tools like Hootsuite, Trello, and even Google Calendar can help you automate the nuances of your daily life and create more time for the big things. As an alternative, if you are taking up too much of your daily time trying to keep up with social media, it might be best to hire someone to do it for you that is more familiar with efficient and effective at less cost to you. To determine that you need to know what your time is worth vs. what you could hire someone to do for you.
2. Implement Time Limits
By this point in your life, you probably already know the importance of scheduling. The more efficiently we schedule our days, the more we get done. No matter how great you are at adding and controlling things to your calendar, unexpected situations do pop up that will need your immediate attention.
Implement strict time limits to prevent random requests from taking over your day. Communicate your schedule or method of communication for particular activities to your staff and customers. That way they will know if there is a more successful time for them to communicate with you or a dedicated person. It will keep you, staff, and customers less frustrated over time with a transparent communication procedure.
In addition, provide time limits on regular meetings and commit to keeping unplanned meetings to 20 minutes or less. Do the same limits on unexpected calls to 10 minutes or less. If unscheduled meetings or calls require more time, reschedule for a time you are able to prepare with a structured and prepared meeting.
This is a simple tip, but it can make your days as streamlined as possible.
3. Stop Multitasking
This may sound counterintuitive. After all, isn’t multitasking a way to get more done?
The simple answer is no.
Research has found that multitasking (more accurately called task switching) hampers productivity and wastes time.
In fact, jumping back and forth between tasks slows your mental progress, and it can take up to 30 minutes to get back to the level of focus you had before even a single event of task switching.
With this in mind, get used to working on one task at a time. Give that task your full attention (no checking emails or texts!) Once you’ve completed it, move on to the next task. This way, each task gets completed faster and more efficiently than it would have been if you were working on five things at once.
4. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
As your business grows, you’ll find that you have more and more on your plate.
When this happens, it’s time to delegate. Things like scheduling, administrative tasks, content creation, marketing, and more can all be delegated to reliable, trustworthy team members. It is beneficial to help train your own staff to handle executive and support functions to grow and scale your business.
In addition, there are many administrative support function opportunities available for executives now. Check out Rick Mayo’s advice on How To Hire An Executive Assistant For Your Business.
As you consider what to delegate, pay special attention to tasks that only require your monitoring or approval. These are generally the easiest to pass along to other team members.
5. Schedule Unstructured Time
You may be thinking, “I’m already so busy! Now I’m supposed to schedule unstructured time?”
Yes, you are.
And here’s why: As a business owner, your head will be filled with hundreds of to-dos, nagging tasks, and daily worries. It’s important to remember that, in the midst of all of this, you are the instrument. You are also the creative and innovative force.
None of this runs without you, and you need to take care of yourself so you can be present, engaged, and ready to take on whatever comes next.
Scheduling unstructured time gives you a way to take care of yourself.
Whether you spend that time reading a leadership or motivational book, going to the gym, taking a walk, eating a meal outdoors, or just checking small to-dos off your list, unstructured time is critical to relax, recharge, and return to your desk as fresh as possible.
Additionally, research suggests that unstructured time makes you more productive!
To make sure you keep this appointment with yourself, we recommend putting it in your calendar – just like you would any other meeting with a partner or client.
Bonus: Try Time Blocking
Time blocking isn’t new, but it’s a great way to make the most of each hour in the day. Here’s how it works:
Choose the first task on your priority list, sit at your desk, and set a timer for 30-45 minutes. During that time, work in a focused manner to get the task done. No answering emails, checking texts, or scrolling through social media. When the timer goes off, stop the task, stand up, and take a five-minute break.
Next, you can set the timer again and continue working on that task or start on the next item in your list.
More Productive Days Start Now
While we wouldn’t trade business ownership for anything, the days can feel packed and overwhelming.
Fortunately, mastering the art of time management is the best way to get things back under control.
By implementing small changes like time blocking, scheduling unstructured time, imposing time limits on unplanned events and calls, delegating, and completing one task at a time, you can reclaim your days, ensure balance, and become the best business owner you can be.
If you’re interested in opening your own franchise location, now is a great time to learn about the Alloy opportunity. Click here to get your FREE franchise information kit.
Article by: Suzanne Robb
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