Time is one of the most important resources that we have but as business owners, it often feels like there are never enough hours in the day.
You may be juggling your business with family commitments, a job or a side hustle, as well as the various roles within your business. Therefore, good time management skills are key to the success of your business.
Here are my ten top time management tips to help you manage your time more effectively, be more productive and get more done.
Create a weekly timetable
A weekly timetable provides an overview of your week. This helps to see the time you have available which will enable you to organise your days and schedule tasks and appointments based on your priorities and goals.
Use a time management app
These keep your tasks and to-dos in one place as they sync automatically across your devices.
You can create different lists for different clients, areas of your business or projects. You can share these with others and sync them to your calendar.
You can assign priority levels to your tasks, which will help to decide what to work on first, what should be moved to the bottom of your list or postponed.
Scheduling high priority tasks for today or tomorrow and low priority tasks for the future helps to separate priority levels.
Identify your most productive times of the day
It’s normal for our energy and attention to fluctuate throughout the day, so it’s important to maximise on your most productive times of the day.
If you’re an early bird, prioritise your most important tasks for the morning.
If you’re a parent, your productive time may be limited to when your kids are at school or sleeping.
Whenever your most productive hours are, protect them for deep, focused work.
We are living in an increasingly distracting world. Distractions such as social media, email, pets, food and the internet can easily deviate us from our tasks.
Scheduling in times for our distractions, batching them together and even using them as rewards can be helpful.
Whether it’s turning your phone to silent, turning off social media or email notifications, removing or at least minimising your distractions will help to increase concentration and motivation for focused work rather than fragmented, interrupted sessions.
Do the thing you don’t want to do first
It can be easy to move the tasks you don’t want to do to the bottom of your to-do list or keep moving them to another day. This can lead to feelings of guilt or procrastination. A way to combat this is to do the thing you don’t want to do first.
De-prioritise in order to prioritise
When faced with a long to-do list and limited time to do it all in, deciding what to do first can easily lead to feelings of stress and overwhelm.
It is important to identify what your priorities are, so you can bring them to the top of your to-do lists and the forefront of your focus.
Prioritising some tasks means de-prioritising others. It’s about accepting that you can’t do everything and giving yourself permission to move certain tasks to the bottom of your to-do lists, in order to focus on the most important tasks.
Understand importance over urgency with the Eisenhower Matrix
To make the best use of our time, we need to separate importance from urgency.
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” Stephen Covey
The Eisenhower Matrix helps to visualise your tasks as belonging to one of four categories:
- Urgent & Important: tasks to be completed immediately
- Not Urgent & Important: tasks to be scheduled
- Urgent & Not important: tasks to be delegated
- Not Urgent & Not important: tasks to be deleted
Tasks that are both not urgent and important are the ones that are most likely to create progress in your business.
Work in batches
Our brains get tired when they switch between different tasks, so doing similar tasks together – in batches – will boost productivity.
Try dedicating certain days of the week or parts of the day to a specific area of focus or responsibility.
Take regular breaks
Breaks help to restore focus and motivation, consolidate memory and learning and boost creativity.
Take a mixture of micro breaks (every 25 – 60 minutes), moving breaks, nature breaks and social breaks. These will boost your productivity as well as your well-being.
End your working day prepared for the next
Finish each day with a review of what you have achieved and a list of what you plan and prioritise for the next day. It is a positive way to end the day and helps you to start the following day ready and raring to go!
There are never enough hours in the day when you run a business but being proactive about planning, prioritising, protecting and managing your time are key. I hope my 10 top time management tips will help you take greater control over your time and tasks and strive for a healthy work/life integration.
Where to find me
About your author
Lyndsey Segal, founder of Heads-up Coaching, is a Business Coach and Trainer specialising in time management and productivity.
Lyndsey helps business owners, teams and organisations improve their time management, plan and prioritise effectively and get more done, through 1-1 coaching, group training and events.
You can find out more about Lyndsey and her business here.
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