One of the things that small business owners keep mentioning as a primary issue is time management and prioritization.
This is not surprising since a small business owner has to fill so many roles. And, often, they didn’t have (or take) the opportunity to learn/develop those time management skills before they became business owners. And once they did become business owners, “who has the time to learn time management?”
Fortunately, time management and prioritization skills can be learned “under fire”. And what better time to learn it than now?
I don’t have space in this post to cover all that a small business owner needs to know about time management (and if I did, you wouldn’t have time to read it.) However, I can start giving you some pointers to help. (And I will be sharing more in the future.)
If you are a business owner who is pulled in many different directions, the typical advice of only working on the important stuff (starting with the urgently important stuff) isn’t helpful. Most of what you are doing is important. (But not all. And that is a lesson for another day.)
The fastest way to feel more in control of your time is to list out the tasks you need to do for the day (yes, a “to do” list) along with about how much time each is likely to take. Then, look at your schedule and pencil the tasks into the appropriate blocks of time. Remember to leave 25% to 50% of your schedule open for all the unexpected things (including the little emergencies, the client who returns your call, the customer who needs to speak with you, and the employee who is feeling sick.)
Yes, you will likely have more tasks than will fit in the day. That’s okay. You want to have a few extra… especially if they are short-duration tasks.
If you happen to have a good day and you complete your task in the blocked-out time and there is still free time (miraculously, no one got sick, and nothing broke) — pick one of the tasks that will fit into the free time and get it knocked out.
Be sure and cross the task off the list when you complete it. (Most people get a sense of satisfaction from doing that. Even if *you* don’t, it will help you keep track of what has been done and what is still to be done.)
Periodically, go back and look at the list of crossed out tasks. (Especially when you are feeling like you aren’t getting anything accomplished.) You will probably be amazed at how much you have done. Everybody needs that… and even more so if you have a never-ending stream of tasks waiting to be done.
Feel like you need more help in this area and don’t have time to wait for the next pointer? Contact me (I’ll get right back with you) and let’s work on getting you the help you need *right now*. Join my clients who have gotten an hour or more of their day back while still getting more done than they ever have.
Have you used this technique (or something similar) to take control of your day? Share your experiences with us (use the comments box.)