How to achieve business growth with better time management
When things are hectic, most small business owners wish they could find a way to fit more than 24 hours into a day.
Often, your ‘to-do’ list can get so long that you feel you never give as much attention to every task as you would like. It can also mean spending more time in the office or dealing with work issues after-hours which cuts into your free time and affects your work-life balance.
Applying these simple tips for business growth with better time management will help you get the most out of your work time and get more of the important stuff done.
Track your time
Remember: You can’t manage what you don’t measure. This applies to your time management. Without tracking your time, any attempt at improving time management will be a hit and miss affair. If you don’t track where and how you spend your time, you have no way of measuring your efficiency or identifying time wasting tasks that could be improved upon or delegated to others.
Start by recording what you do each day and how long it takes you. This can be as simple as writing roughly scribbled notes or harnessing your software technology to do this for you.
Before you write off this idea and decide that it will be a waste of time and effort, try one of the range of time management tools available such as Harvest or Toggl which have features that can be rolled out for overall time management and can be integrated into your billing processes.
If you implement a programme to continually monitor and track how you use your time, after a few weeks you’ll have a good indication of what you spend most of your time doing. You might be surprised at the amount of time that is lost in meetings, doing things you could delegate, or on things you do out of habit rather than need. Then you can make changes and benefit from business growth with better time management.
Eliminate the time wasters
Armed with information about how you spend your time, you’ll be better able to eliminate unnecessary time wasters. Some common time wasters are:
- Monitoring social media
- Responding to emails
- Fielding telephone calls
- Drop-in visitors and sales people
- Meetings that go on longer than necessary
Jumping between tasks to read and answer emails as they come in during the day can reduce your productivity. Set aside time to check and answer emails rather than let them distract you from the tasks at hand.
If you need uninterrupted time to focus on a task, ask your staff to field telephone calls and take messages. Also, instruct staff not to allow people in to see you without an appointment.
There are a number of other ways to manage time more efficiently – e.g. don’t have pop-up messages from social media accounts running while you’re trying to get work done. Also, rather than spending hours each week monitoring certain business functions, appoint a staff member to do this and report back to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Keep meetings brief and to the point. Draw up an agenda and stick to it. Be firm and only allow a couple of minutes for each item to avoid meetings becoming a social event, thus wasting the productive time of all those present.
Delegate appropriate tasks
Have a close look at your current workload and see if there are suitable tasks you could delegate to others. Consider delegating accounting functions such as managing petty cash and reconciliations, plus general correspondence, sales and marketing, product development, quality control etc.
People in business are notorious for their reluctance to delegate. However, delegation can free up your valuable time, allowing you to focus on growing your business rather than spending all your time on the day-to-day running of your business.
Draw up a list of tasks you could delegate to responsible staff. Many employees want to advance in their jobs and would value the opportunity to learn new skills.
Try not to fall into the trap of only delegating the jobs you don’t really like doing – you want to free up as much time as possible to allow you to work more strategically and efficiently and have time for that work-life balance.
A little bit of time invested now in developing efficient systems for your business will save you a lot of time in the long run. Whether it’s time spent setting up a computerised accounting system, or implementing an electronic filing system for your documents, setting up systems and getting organised can save you a lot of money.
If your time tracking indicates you spend a lot of time answering queries that could be delegated, save time by creating procedures for your staff so they can respond on your behalf. Similarly, adding an FAQ page to your website could help to free up more of your time. Customer relationship management software can also save a lot of time and effort.
By being more organised, you’ll no longer be busily running from one problem to the next, you’ll be working smarter, rather than harder, and staff productivity will increase too.
Draw up a prioritised ‘to do’ list
It’s easy to become bogged down in problems, but a simple ‘to do’ list of the tasks you need to accomplish, together with a deadline, will help to keep you focused.
Ranking tasks in order of priority will ensure that the most important ones get done first and that others don’t fall off your radar. Ticking items off your ‘to-do’ list can be surprisingly motivating too.
Work within your energy levels
We all have our highs and lows, so it makes sense that you will perform well when you are at your best. If you’re a morning person, use this time to tackle the big tasks and schedule more routine or less creative tasks for the afternoon when your energy levels are lower.
If you’re not a morning person, concentrate on the routine tasks first thing in the morning, then tackle the big ones when you’re at your best later in the day.
Get the tools or help you need
If you expect your staff to work effectively and efficiently, you’ll need to provide them with the right tools to do the job. The same applies to you as the business owner. You can’t work efficiently if you don’t have the right tools and staff.
It doesn’t mean that you have to rush out and buy the latest technology, but having the right tools, software and training in place will save you time and money. A cost analysis will quickly tell you whether the investment is a financially sound one for your business.
If you need help to improve business growth with better time management, call us today on 9204 3733 or Contact Us – we will be happy to help. We can offer our Management Consulting service which assists our clients to achieve business growth with better time management.