It’s crucial to manage your time – even more so than your finances. Both are important, but think about it - you can make more money. You can never make up for lost time.
In regards to business, time is one of the most essential components. It’s a large part of the business life cycle and should be a consideration as you plan each project.
The incremental stages of a business plan are always built on a 6-month or 12-month timeline, for example. Without this structure in place, it would be hard to analyze data and mark improvements year-over-year. But using time as a measuring tool is the easy part. The challenge with time is on a personal, day-to-day level.
We’re talking about how to make the best use of time every day, for both you and your business. We’re imagining creative approaches for increasing the quality and efficiency of your work. We’re thinking about the strategies you can use to feel accomplished after a work day, rather than swamped in deadlines and full of stress.
Don’t Overthink It
High functioning business folks often get stuck on the little details. This is good on one hand, because it’s the small things that make it possible to maintain a strong business platform in the long run. But when it comes to efficiency, sweating the small stuff can get in the way of focused and productive work.
Here are 5 of the best tips for time management that will come in handy the next time you catch yourself staring out the window all morning.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Organization is the key to focus. You have a goal for the day? Put it down, and make sure you achieve it. You have a plan for the week? Make a schedule of tasks to ensure you don’t forget anything. These are relatively simple tasks that should be taken care of at the beginning and end of a work day. Much like a professor prepares a lecture for the following morning, you should spend the last 15 minutes of your day planning the next one.
Maybe the most common productivity issue for entrepreneurs is multi-tasking. It’s a bad habit to get into because though it might seem like so much is happening, fewer meaningful things actually get done.
It’s best to follow your daily schedule and allocate yourself hourly blocks of time for specific tasks. If it takes longer than the allocated time, don’t fret: just come back to it the next day.
This applies whether you are a freelancer or the head of marketing at a company. There is a lot to say about delegation, but for now let’s just leave it at this: proper delegation is the structure that allows efficiency to flourish. Why? Because it accounts for all the pieces of the puzzle, and ensures they are completed in a timely fashion.
Eliminate Bad Distractions
Bad distractions are all around us. Procrastinators will literally find anything to do other than get their work done - and let's be honest, we all procrastinate in one way or another.
The best strategy is to isolate yourself until the work gets done. What does that mean? It could mean blocking yourself from social media platforms, putting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, or turning your phone off until you complete the task at hand.
Introduce Creative Distractions
Going back to the issue of focus and productivity, many people need to do something to get into a routine. That’s why Google has a workout gym and a bunch of other free perks - they know it helps employees stay focused. Creative distractions like making a coffee or doing drawing in a sketchbook gives the brain a little break during a long work week.
Efficiency Breeds Success
Effective time management is one of those intangibles that make a huge difference to the bottom line. It’s the secret ingredient to running a successful business, no matter what the budget is. Indeed, if these 5 strategies are followed up on, that yearly status report will look far more impressive than it did before.
BONUS TIP: One of the most effective time management strategies is to ONLY spend your time on the things that need your attention. If it can be outsourced or delegated, consider doing so. Speaking of which, check out our programs including Done for You team who can handle your digital and social media marketing for you, so that you can leverage your time even more efficiently.