As a small-business owner, one of the greatest assets you can invest and reap results from is time. You can have a loose hand on money. You can even lose a business and get it back. But time is irretrievable and something that needs to be tapped immediately. Moreover, if you’re in the process of starting your own business or have just started with one, you may feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done—hence the need to be a pro at time management.
In this post, we share with you 5 amazing time-management hacks that can go a long way in boosting your productivity.
1) Do Away with Every Distraction
When you work, there has to be only one thing in your mind: your work. Remember that everything else is secondary and can wait, but the task at hand won’t. So, go ahead and silence your phone, disconnect the Internet, ask people not to disturb you and set your email reminders to silent. Choose to check these things when you have time to be distracted—say, during a lunch break—and work through them all at once, saving time.
You may also try working with soothing music, if it suits you. It helps not just in cutting down on the noise from your surroundings but also enables you to increase your attention and focus levels.
2) Know Your Priorities and then Limit Them
When you have a small business to run, anything related to your company is ultimately your responsibility. But, as the adage says, “If everything is important, then nothing is.”
Not everything requires equal attention, and having an expansive to-do list can lead to what we call task paralysis. By keeping your priority list short, you automatically hone your focus. And like more than 72 percent of small business owners, you need to concentrate on developing high-level strategies that help grow your businesses.
3) Learn the Art of Delegation
After you’ve culled the list of priorities down to the essentials, it is time to delegate them.
For some small-business owners, this could mean hiring a part-time assistant to help manage your schedule or trying your hands at online assistants like Upwork or Zirtual for general task management and Website maintenance. You could also try out a time-management app, which lets you manage your time, track your progress, schedule and organize your tasks, and remind you with alerts and notifications of tasks you are lagging behind on.
However, one thing that you need to keep in mind as a business owner is not to abdicate; that is, you need to avoid giving employees responsibilities without effectively preparing and training them for the task. This begins with hiring the right people and then investing time training them.
4) Use the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique is a popular time-management technique that involves setting a timer for 25 minutes while you focus on one specific task, then take a short 5-minute break before starting the next task. Time logging helps you see where you’re spending too much time and too little time. Then, you can start setting weekly and daily goals for the Pomodoros you spend in each category. For example, limit yourself to 10 Pomodoros per week checking your email. But set a goal of hitting 30 Pomodoros working on your marketing systems.
The quality and the duration of breaks becomes important here. While the breaks have to be short, they’ve got to be highly refreshing. You may play an instrument, have a snack, go for a nature walk or even crack some jocks with fellow employees. Avoid watching television or getting into social media here.
5)Avoid Multi-Tasking as Much as Possible
According to the Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, experts show that only about 2.5 percent of people are able to “effectively” multi-task and still do well at each activity. Moreover, the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London shows that a person’s IQ falls 10 points when they’re overly stimulated by emails, texts, and phone calls.
Time management experts estimate that focusing on one thing at a time will double productivity, work output and performance. And when you’re running a small business, that can mean the difference between success and failure. Force yourself to do one thing at a time by setting a clock or timer for a certain amount of time, and then focus on that one task until it’s complete.
To conclude, we’re reminded of the old adage “time is money.” It is based on a truth that isn’t likely to ever change. And if you’re in business for yourself, the best way to increase your income is to consciously scrutinize how you’re spending your time, and then make adjustments to help you spend it better.
Aymeric Gaurat-Apellii is a software consultant, programmer, blogger and the Founder of WeekPlan, a weekly planner web application. Read more by him here.