Living in the twenty-first century is a bit like a game of dodgeball; just as you duck and clear one ball, another one gets thrown at you. There’s so much to do and such little time to do it in – and let’s face it, it gets even more chaotic as time goes on. #ThirdWorldProblems
You may do your job well, but without good time management , business isn’t going to progress. Moreover, with mountains on your plate and the clock ticking away, it’s likely your stress levels are going to spike causing you to be even less efficient. If you’re a small business owner, this can be a business breaker!
So how can you get your ‘busyiness’ back on track? Here are six tried and tested guidelines which will help to discipline your time management.
The Saving Time Master List:
Prioritise important tasks
Prioritising each of your assignments in order of deadlines and time capacity is an effective way to kill your workload and your stress levels. It’s important to take a few minutes at the beginning of each day to organise which task most urgently needs your attention, then get to that task straight away (yes, even that thing you’re dreading). Stop putting off the mundane stuff. There’s nothing worse than trying to get a job done with another assignment torturing your brain; you’ll never be able to focus. Whichever task is the most time critical, get it out of the way.
Become a morning person
You know that saying ‘there aren’t enough hours in the day’ – well what if there were? A Harvard biologist discovered early rises are more productive and likely to anticipate problems and minimise them more efficiently than night owls. Getting up just one hour earlier will give you time to organise your day, plan your schedule and can make the difference between you feeling rushed as you arrive at work to already having that awful assignment out of the way by 9 am. Who knows, you may even fit in that workout you keep saying you will, too!
Write a checklist
It’s easy to procrastinate while working, particularly if you are your own boss. That’s why reminding yourself of important deadlines will help your productivity and stop your mind from wondering. Writing a physical checklist and keeping it within eyesight rather than relying on your memory is a constructive way of keeping yourself on track. You may also get satisfaction out of ticking each completed task and watching the list shrink (I know I do).
Focus on one project at a time
A sporadic routine will slow you down which is why it’s important to practise this strategy. If you have multiple projects running at once, it’s very easy to ferry between them and consequently lose focus on any one task. If you find yourself scattered in your work process, review your pre-created check list and work on that prioritised task … and only that task! If your mind is on multiple assignments, it’s going to show in your work performance.
Are you finding yourself undertaking the same monotonous tasks over and over again? Answering similar email queries, writing out the same instructions, briefing clients on identical structures; this wastes valuable time which could be better spent on other areas of your business. Creating structured templates, such as generic email responses to common questions, is a time efficient way to speed up your work process so you can concentrate on the more important tasks.
Disconnect from the internet
With a number of technological distractions around, it’s not surprising people find it hard to concentrate. How can you expect to get your work done with Facebook notifications buzzing every few minutes, notifying you Jane from three doors down just uploaded yet another photo of her grandson. You’ll need to times frames where you will check your phone and other online disturbances, then once that time is up, put the distraction away. It also helps to keep your phone on the other side of the room so you physically have to move every time you want to scroll through Instagram.