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Better Time Management for Small Business Owners

By Garrett Spence   |    May 18, 2016   |    10:13 AM

How Small Business Owners Can Prioritize Their Time

The day of a small business owner is packed with obligations and responsibilities. From company meetings, to managing your personal life outside of work, prioritizing your time is a vital skill to cultivate. Here’s how you can learn to prioritize your time so that you get the most out of each day, without stressing too much.

Assess exactly how you’re spending your time during each workday

You may think that you’re managing your time well and being as productive as possible, but unless you’ve assessed how you spend your time, you can’t be certain that’s a truthful assumption. While you’re working on improving your time management take a hard look at what you’re doing, when you’re doing it, and how long it’s taking. Set a timer, keep a pen and paper out to track (or build a running document or spreadsheet, if that’s easier for you), and then look at your work log at the end of the day.

You might find that you’re prone to multitasking, but that you aren’t as productive as you thought. A common issue small business owners run into is spending too much time on administrative tasks that are better left in someone else’s responsible hands.

If that’s an issue you identified in your own workflow, there’s a solution.

Consider getting some outside help to manage your time more efficiently

Are there any tasks that you could delegate to someone else, like a virtual assistant? After you’ve analyzed your workflow you’ve probably noticed that you’re spending time on tasks that could be outsourced, like answering the phone or scheduling meetings.

If you don’t think there are any tasks you could outsource, you might be surprised to learn more about all of the duties that virtual assistants can tackle.

Set a schedule and stick to it

One of the best things you can do to ensure time management success is to set a schedule and stick to it. Arrange your schedule based on your business’s needs and top priorities, and block those times off in your calendar each day.

Young businesses need to start reeling in sales, so sales calls could be the top priority in that circumstance. In this scenario you’d want to block off time in your day when you’re at your most productive. This could be first thing in the morning, after lunch, or any other timeframe that works for you. Then, move on to the next most important task and add it to your daily schedule. By using this method you’ll notice that your work days are far more productive, all thanks to structure and smart scheduling. And, you’ll spend less time living in your Inbox, since emails will also be scheduled for a certain time of day.

Just remember to leave some “white space,” or time for unexpected tasks that pop up during the day. You never want to schedule yourself too tightly, so work to avoid that impulse.

Build balance into your workday

While we’re on the topic of including white space in your schedule, let’s also touch upon the importance of down time. Simply put, you need it.

As a small business owner there’s no way you can operate at peak capacity indefinitely. While you’re working on time management don’t forget to save some time and energy for non-work related activities, like spending time with your family and friends. If it makes things easier you can even schedule that downtime into your calendar. If you treat downtime like you would an important business meeting, you’re far more likely to take a much-needed timeout from running your small business.

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