To every business owner, time is a valuable resource. With so many concerns needing urgent attention, it is easy to lose track of time in a frenzy of activity and then to find out that nothing major has been really accomplished at the end of the day. Every minute counts in business. How do you manage time so that every minute of the workday is productive?
These time-saving tips can give you extra hours in the workday:
Set doable tasks. Starting a task, but not finishing it can frustrate you and wear down your energy level. So, break a major task into smaller tasks at the level of effort and time physically possible for you to attain. Then, check each off your list as you get them done so you feel your energy levels restored each time and you can get moving on to the next task.
Limit warm-up time. It’s easy to let time run away when you think that you have the whole day ahead to get things done so that by the time you get to actual work you already took way too long browsing the Internet or checking out other blogs. It’s okay to allot for warm-up time at the beginning of each workday, but know when to end it and then get started on your to-do list.
Be guided by your Top Two. Arrange your Top Two priority tasks of the day as the first two tasks in your “To-Do” list. This way, you finished two demanding tasks with less stress as your energy level is still high. You will still feel productive if you’ve completed two major issues concerning your business at the end of the day, even if you have eight other less demanding tasks to do in your, let’s say, ten item list.
Peak Time & Down Time. Figure out your most alert moments for deep-thinking and for doing actual work. Most people find they like to do the manual, tangible work by mid-afternoon and upwards and do the brainstorming usually in the early mornings or early evenings when they’re cool and calm.
Now/Later/Delegate. As new tasks come your way during the workday, decide on the spot if you need to work on it now, if it’s something you can get back to later, or if it’s something you can assign to someone else in your team. You can save hours by simply not lingering.
Multitasking does not work. Recent studies show that it is normally impossible for the brain to focus on more than one task at a time. You think you’re doing a number of things at once, but you’re really only switching hastily back and forth between them. This kind of work habit is irregular. It drains your energy level, your brain won’t absorb as much info and you’re more likely to make more errors. Instead, group similar tasks and then finish them all at once.
Organize daily. Spend at least 30 minutes each day putting things in order. Better yet, organize as you go. Hours get wasted trying to find lost papers and other stuff. Psychologists say you can train yourself to be organized by consciously putting things back in their proper places. Do this for three straight weeks and you’ll form the habit of it.
Learn to cut back. Lessen meeting time by getting together only for major brainstorming sessions. Shorten work calls by getting straight to the purpose of your call. Meetings and phone calls have a tendency to drag and get you waylaid by idle chatter. If an email requires you to write out at length, call instead. Learn to say no to activities that are trivial to your business or those you cannot commit to.
There are only a maximum of 12 hours in your workday to do everything without burning yourself out. The better you organize your time, the more you can fit in the day.