To say “Time is golden” is an understatement if you are in the business world. True, you may have had courses about them in college or university, but effective Time Management is a skill you learn through having a need. In business, you are in a race against time (competitors and profits), so, learning how to effectively handle Time Management is important.
If you work with a business coach they will already have told you about the importance of getting on top of managing your time so that you can be a better manager of your business.
David Guest shares these 10 Time Management tips for Melbourne business owners who are challenged by the need to multi-task and still feel they aren’t getting the results they want.
- Manage your inbox. A poorly managed inbox can translate into a disaster come crunch time. Make it a habit to spend a few minutes each day to scan through your mail, file those you need, and delete those you don’t. If you leave your e-mail messages lying around unattended, you may be asking for the inevitable bucket load of trouble – hunting through emails for that attachment you saw last week, is stealing precious time away from other more important things.
- Set your priorities. According to Stephen Covey, there are four quadrants for evaluating a person’s activities: the urgent and important, the urgent but not important , the not urgent but important and the not urgent and not important. As a business coach I’ve seen many great entrepreneurs struggle with time until they began to classify their activities according to these quadrants; it will teach you how to appropriate your time wisely.
- Stop spreading yourself too thin. The problem with multi-tasking it’s often the thing that causes time management chaos. Multi-tasking is good, but only to a certain extent. Be honest and do not take on more work than you are capable of. Otherwise, you may be creating an unnecessary problem for yourself.
- Keep a schedule. Doing things on a regular, scheduled basis may take up a few minutes of your time each day, but it will keep you on top of everything and those things that are currently slipping through the cracks won’t be any more. Letting things pile up today often means spending more time to organize them in the future.
- Organize your websites. Learn to bookmark those sites that you visit frequently, or those that contribute to your work. That way, you won’t have to search thru a whole Google page every time you want to get to the website again.
- Prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed. A lot of people don’t even start a job because they become overwhelmed by it, especially those big projects. Learn to create smaller milestones for yourself and set yourself up for successes. That way, you’ll find getting started easier because you’ve already set yourself up to win.
- Have your own organizer. To be effective with your Time Management, one has to have a set plan for the day, week or month; your business coach would call it ‘default diary’. Some business owners are even able to have a whole year loosely planned. However, as stated previously, start small maybe even with your to-do list and work out how you can group things together for maximum efficiency as well as get rid of things on your list that won’t get you results. Once you’ve passed a critical eye over it, refer to it throughout the day to help you achieve the lot. Stick to your list, but set aside some contingency minutes (90 mins, for example) for whatever surprises the day may bring.
- 8. Create a boundary between professional and personal time. This is your way of making sure that your family, or friends don’t miss out on enjoying your companionship. Sometimes, Time Management is more than just being able to do work from 8 till 5 effectively. It’s about switching off from your business world so that you can enjoy the fruits of all your efforts. Learn to set time apart for you to spend with people who matter. That way, you will be more ready to deal with what lies ahead when your business doesn’t need you as much as it does today.
- 9. Know when you are most productive. There are people who are most productive at night, and those that are morning people. Learn which time of the day you function best and adjust the way you schedule your day to take maximum advantage of when you’re at your best. When you know when you’re most focused, most motivated and most productive and you can use that time to do those jobs that require all your attention, genius and skill. Just with a simple recalibration you can find you get a 200% increase in output.
- 10. Take a breather. You’re not Superman (unless you have a secret fantasy to be a cartoon comic book character who takes on everything and doesn’t really fit in with the world?)! Find a minute or two to catch your breath and think. Organize what needs to be done. Sometimes, a pause can help you get your thoughts straight, so that you can make clear, profitable decisions.
If you really want to make it in this multi-tasking world, you have to learn to do effective time management and deal with things that truly matter. If you don’t know what they are then talk to someone with lots of experience like a business coach, a mentor or a business consultant and they’ll help you work out where your problems are and what you need to do to get beyond them.
If you learn to manage your time well, you can have your (business) cake, and eat it too.