As a small business owner, you’re highly tuned into the “time is money” concept. Entrepreneurs consider time their most valuable asset, even more than any equipment or office space. It makes sense given the many roles you play. Making some small changes can help you manage your time effectively, meaning you’ll have more of your most valuable asset.
Review Current Methods
The first step is get a snapshot of where you are right now. List out how your important tasks and the time required for each. Use categories such as “meetings” or “sales calls” to organize them. Then meticulously record the time it actually takes you to complete these tasks. Often, there are valuable insights from this data.
Compare Actual Time vs. Expected Time
If there are discrepancies and you’re spending more of your time on less important tasks, there’s likely one or two reasons why. Either you made a mistake when determining the expected time or your failing to manage your time. If you think you made a mistake, go back and redo the list. If it’s not that, look at how you manage your time and implement changes.
Adjust Time Management Methods
Go through each task with great detail. Which tasks are time wasters? Once you’ve figured that out, you have three options: delegate, hire, or drop. If you already have employees, there may be someone with a suitable set of skills to take on the task. If not, it might be time to hire someone, even as a contractor, to help you. If the task doesn’t seem important enough for either of those options, maybe you can simply drop it from your to-do list.
Implement Time Management Techniques
Once you’ve done the previous three steps, you’ll have a comprehensive list of tasks you must still do. To maximize your time and productivity, try these two things. First, use to-do lists to help you stay organized and set priorities. This will help you stay focused on the high value activities. Second, look at how you’re using meetings? If you have many or the ones you have don’t seem to have any actionable outcome, reduce the number of meeting and have a specific agenda and goal for each one.
Working through these steps will take more of what you already feel you don’t have – time. But in the long run, they’ll help you have more time and energy for the important things in your business and your life.