Small business owners need to be masters of time management because there’s so much to do on any given day. I’ve seen small business owners push themselves to the limits to meet these demands. And instead of being invigorated by their achievements, they feel burnt out.
If that’s you, you can try some of the things on this list to boost your energy and save time.
1. Document your processes
Most businesses start small without any form of documentation and with a few key individuals holding most of the operational knowledge. The business owner typically holds most of this knowledge in their head and is the constant go-to person for answers. Often, they can end up doing the majority of the work because they are the only ones who know “how” to do it.
By documenting systems, you are able to delegate tasks and focus on what’s most important in your business.
2. Focus on results, not work
When faced with a task think about how it will feel to be done, rather than how it will feel to do. If you think about the work, your task may feel heavy or burdensome. When you think about having it behind you may feel relief or freedom.
When we focus on the results we get there faster. Thinking about results also gives us extra energy for difficult tasks.
3. One task at a time
The American Psychology Association found that doing more than one task at a time negatively affects productivity.
Small business owners think they have effective time management when they multitask. After all, they have to, right? There’s too much to do. In reality, multi-tasking just slows you down.
Focus on one thing at a time!
4. Practice delegation
Often when small business owners try to improve their time management skills, they turn to delegation.
If you’re thinking, “That’s great Beverlee, but every time I’ve tried this I still don’t seem to have any more time.” I hear you! What might be affecting your results is the type of tasks you are delegating. Often small business owners don’t delegate the right tasks.
There are certain tasks that free up time more effectively than others such as routine tasks or tasks you don’t know how to do.
5. Have a scheduled “quiet time” (to think)
Demand, demand, demand! There’s always something you could be doing in your business. It helps to have quiet time to strategically think about how you are going to tackle everything.
Protect this time fiercely! You can set your phone to “do not disturb” or a use gatekeeper to respectfully turn inquiries away. By setting time aside now, you will save more time later thanks to your strategic approach.
6. Stand up during phone calls
Can’t get out for a walk today? Stand up and walk during your phone calls. Maybe not a time-saver, but this can boost your energy which in turn makes you more productive with other tasks.
7. Schedule phone calls
Have you ever been feeling the flow during a task, and right in the middle of it you get a phone call? Suddenly you’re pulled away for the next hour and when you come back to your task all motivation and inspiration are gone.
Schedule your calls to avoid this dip in energy and waste of time!
Share this post with small business owners who want to improve their time management!
8. Don’t postpone “bitter pills”
A popular dish my friend’s mom served when she was younger was mac and cheese with a side of broccoli. She would always say “save the best for last.” My friend gobbled down the broccoli as fast as she could so she could enjoy her mac and cheese.
Do the same for your business. Finish up those icky tasks first while you still have the energy. Then you can enjoy your easy tasks when you are tired. This will make it easier to balance tasks and spend time in a sustainable way.
9. Take a lunch break
Sometimes small business owners say they take a lunch break. What they actually mean is, “I’ll eat this at my desk while I read this email.”
That’s not a break and it’s not getting that task done any faster either. It’s just a waste of time. Take a full break, refuel your body with something nutritious, and come back to your tasks refreshed.
10. Know when to stop working
One time I spent an hour writing an email. I finally gave up and went out for a walk. When I came back, I wrote the email in 5 minutes.
Your brain and body know what’s up! Take a moment and listen. You’ll save time and energy in the long run.
11. Figure out your best hour
We all work best at different times of the day. And sometimes even different times of the month.
What’s your optimal time? My copywriter is a morning person and gets a majority of her work done before 11 am. Whereas I tend to hit my stride around 3 pm.
12. Use your values to filter commitments
Not everything needs the same amount of time and effort. What you value should come first. This will boost your energy because you’ll feel more fulfilled. Align who you are with what you do!
13. Remember “no” is a full sentence
There doesn’t need to be a reason for everything. Say no, and move on. In the same way, you won’t elaborate on your ‘no’, I won’t elaborate on this point.
14. Don’t over-commit or overbook
Often, we want to please everyone, or we don’t want to miss any opportunity for our business, even if it’s a small one. So we try to cram everything into our schedule, which leaves us overbooked and overworked. Prioritize what really needs your time. The rest will come.
Effective time management for small business owners!
My hope for you, and entrepreneurs everywhere, is that you have personal and financial freedom while running your small business. And that goal starts with smart time management.
Until next time, enjoy your Entrepreneurial Journey!