As a business owner myself, I am constantly juggling my time, between client meetings, my own admin, updating my website, writing newsletters and still I try and find time for my family. Some days and weeks I feel I am top of it but other times I feel like I am drowning. So how do we try to minimise the later experience? Here are 5 things for you to think about.
1. When are you at your best?
This might seem like I’m teaching you to suck eggs but if you are an early riser, the chances are you will be able to accomplish complicated mental tasks more efficiently earlier in the day so that should be when you schedule in that complicated proposal or project. If you have to do overtime, do it before the office opens for business, you will get far more done.
Equally if you struggle to get out of bed in the morning and you are the type of person everyone avoids until morning tea break,don’t even think about getting stuck into that complicated project, find some less mental challenging jobs to do until lunch time, after which put your head down and get that complicated task out of the way. If you have to do overtime, you are more likely to get stuff done after the office closes.
Important – The mind can only sustain highly focussed mental effort for approximately 90 minutes but only needs 15 minutes to recover – make sure you take regular breaks from what you are doing!
2. Delegate Effectively
This in itself is a big topic, but I’ll ask you to consider point one. Do not treat all your team the same, if you have a combination of people that are either one of those examples in point one (or a mixture of each – quite common), then delegate the more complicated tasks when you know the individuals within the team are working at their most focussed and efficient. You will get far more out of them, get more task completed thus potentially lighten your own work load.
3. Never Book Out Your Calendar
Curve balls are a part of business (and life for that matter), the unexpected always rears it’s ugly head when you least need it, so plan for it!! Leave 25% of your day unaccounted for, if the unexpected doesn’t happen, excellent, you can slot in something else to do, but if it does, you have a window of time that you can dedicate to it without causing too much upset to the rest of your day. The biggest problem we all have with the unexpected is the waste of time and mental energy worrying about how you are going to find the time to deal with the problem, rather than putting that energy into finding a solution, gaps in your calendar reduce the stress of worrying about the time element.
4. Prioritise Your Tasks
Decide what is essential (critical to the business performing) and what isn’t then prioritise your list of tasks accordingly, if you find your list of tasks are almost all critical, try prioritising them by filtering them in proactive (make money now) or reactive (make money later) tasks. Ultimately we are all in business to make money so it makes sense that income should be the deciding factor in the decision making process.
5. Say NO!!
Managing your interruptions will have the greatest impact on your time; is your service time critical? If not what is a reasonable length of time to reply to a clients email, would it really matter if you didn’t get back to them for 4 hours could you stretch them to a 8 hour window? If you could, why then do you need to check your emails any more than once or twice a day?
Do you have staff that can answer the phone? If you do, get them to filter the calls, if you are busy, tell them you do not want to be disturbed until a certain time. Can other people in your business deal with certain inquiries, if so, let everyone know within your team that if a call comes through inquiring about a specific service / product then they should direct it to that specific team member. Just because you are the owner or the manager of a business, it does not mean the clients have access to you 24/7.
Check out this book by Marc Mancini, Time Management 24 Techniques to Make Each Minute Count at Work it’s a great little book with lots of great tips.