Benjamin Franklin said it best, “Time is money.” And that especially rings true when it comes to running a small business. 24 hours in a day just doesn’t feel like enough, business owners have so much on their plate that it feels like running in water (have you ever ran in water? It’s insanely difficult!) Waves keep crashing into you as you try to fight your way through and your legs feel like Jello.
Think of that analogy when you’re a business owner. You constantly have “waves” crashing into you – scheduling issues, contract mayhem, order management, team building, effective communication and the list goes on and on. The cycle goes on and on and you’re just trying to avoid the next wave.
We’re here to tell you, there is a solution! One that makes the waves kid sized. With these 7 tips for effective time management, you can live a relatively stress-free life and be as productive as Superman.
1. Set your goals. Create short and long term goals, but keep them realistic. Don’t just set goals at the beginning of the year or a new quarter, create goals all year round. Track the progress of each goal, adjust as needed and create new ones as the need arises. Remember that your goals should keep you moving forward and will set the stage for your ongoing success.
2. Plan ahead. Don’t start your day without a plan! Think and focus on what is most important and get it done. Otherwise you’ll spend minutes and hours taking care of little, doesn’t really matter taks.
So, try to map out your day:
The night before. Before you head home, take just 15 minutes before you clock out to organize your office and physically write down the most important things you need to get done tomorrow.
In the morning. Once you wake up and have your coffee, make it part of your routine to write down at least 5 of the most important tasks that need to be completed today. By the time you get to the office, you can productively tackle your list.
3. Prioritize! When you think about what needs to get done, do you know how to classify tasks by urgency? Or does everything seem like it needs to be done as soon as possible? Or maybe you just don’t know anymore?
Think of it this way:
- Important and urgent: the tasks that must be done, get them done right away.
- Important but not urgent: the tasks that seem important but the closer you look, they really aren’t. Schedule when you will do them, like the following morning or by end of day Friday.
- Urgent but not important: the tasks that won’t add much value when you finish them. Try to delegate these tasks.
- Not urgent and not important: the tasks that are just “busy work”. Get those done later.
4. Get an amazing time management tool. When you use an employee timesheet app, such as Connecteam, your daily work grind becomes more smooth and easy. Connecteam’s mobile-first app is easy to use, requires no training and will seriously save you time.
When it comes to managing your employees, look no further. Employees can easily edit their timesheets, add new shifts and submit absence requests. It has clock-in, clock-out in real time with a live timestamp and GPS location. Create timesheets to include every bit of information you need to drive your business and customize it to resemble your company’s look and feel. Connecteam has in-app chat so you can communicate privately or as a group on all matters and the in-app directory doesn’t store contacts on your personal device so searching for a contact is simple and easy.
Added features come at no extra cost, so you can also schedule shifts and jobs, add employee reports, create surveys, have a suggestion box always accessible, checklists and forms, knowledge center and training, and so much more. For a fixed monthly price for up to 200 users, you’re looking at $29 to $72 a month.
5. Take breaks! If you think working 3 hours straight on a task is ideal and effective, think again. If you stick to one task for too long, you will only lose focus and your performance takes a nosedive.
Don’t believe me? Here’s what University of Illinois psychology professor Alejandro Lleras had to say, “We propose that deactivating and reactivating your goals allows you to stay focused. From a practical standpoint, our research suggests that, when faced with long tasks (such as studying before a final exam or doing your taxes), it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task!”
6. Silence social media alerts. Chances are 99.99% that you have a smartphone and you have various apps downloaded on it too. And that right there is the problem. Silence notifications that will distract you from getting work done. You don’t need an alert every time someone likes your post or when you get another spam email to your personal account or what the weather is like – go into the notification settings on your phone and silence whatever apps cause the most distraction. This way, you aren’t focused on unproductive tasks.
7. Be good to yourself. Go for a run, meditate, do some yoga, walk the dog, eat some chocolate, get some sleep! Whatever makes you happy, do that. You need to focus on yourself otherwise you’ll burn yourself out too quickly.
“Less is more” means that less is actually better. It means slowing down, being aware of tasks that need to be finished, and concentrating on that. Even if that task is being good to yourself and your needs. And whatever you do, don’t multitask. Start one task and don’t move on until you’ve finished it.
If you really want to ride that wave and accomplish every business need and goal, you have to utilize effective time management. And with the 7 tips we’ve outlined above, you will be well on your way to take your business to the next level.