As a business owner, you might often wonder how to strike the right balance between work and life. Success is what you try to achieve and maintain, but it is often difficult to find a strategy that works best for everybody; including yourself, your work and your family.
Time is the key resource we have as we plan our successes in life. As a manager, I want you to ask yourself some questions first.
Are you usually punctual or tardy? Do you finish tasks within the stipulated time? Do you hand in your work/documents on a timely basis? Have you, so far, managed to accomplish all assigned tasks before the deadline?
Is the answer to all these questions no? Then these 8 simple tips will help you achieve better results.
1. Prioritise your tasks
Even in the simplest projects, no one individual can do everything. A good manager must, therefore, learn to give priority to the most important tasks and let go of the rest for the time being.
You must have a set timetable to follow for each day. A to-do list must be prepared at least a day in advance. You may also try to use the Pareto principle of 80/20 and hope for the best. This principle is key in prioritisation and usually results in the completion of most, if not all tasks on time.
2. Fix a time limit for each task
Each of your tasks shouls have their own deadlines. Be clear that you need to finish Task A by 3pm while Task B needs to be accomplished in the next 30 minutes after Task A is done. This prevents your work from getting delayed and using up the time reserved for other activities.
3. Use a time management tool
The use of a time management tool is one of the most crucial factors for successful time management. This tool can help you organise information, add project details, making to-do lists and streamlining a number of other things.
With these awesome tools, you will be able to track your own productivity.
4. Block out time wasters
Every person has something in their lives that distracts them from work. What is it that hinders you from working effectively? Is it instant messages? The sound of your telephones ringing? Your Facebook notifications that show up on your desktop uninvited?
To avoid these problems, I close down all social media platforms before beginning work. I also put my phone on silent mode and shut down instant messages platforms to focus on the task at hand. Calls during this time can be recorded on voice mail, so you can get back to important ones once you are done.
All of this helps me concentrate better, and none of the calls/messages related to my projects is lost.
5. Leave buffer time between tasks
It is easy to imagine in your head that you can block out all kinds of distractions with a single wave of your wand, and all due work will be finished within the stipulated time period.
But let’s be real. No matter how sure we are about how quickly each task can be done, we almost always need more time. (There are bound to be bathroom and water breaks in between after all!)
So don’t pack all your tasks too close together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time between each task and sub-task. This makes it easier for you to wrap up the preceding task and start off with the next one without delay.
6. Finish Similar Tasks Together
There will be tasks in your projects that are directly or indirectly related to each other and can be grouped together. For such related work, try doing them all together. You may want to categorise them into groups such as documentation, making calls, editing, researching, checking emails, etc.
If I need to answer e-mails, I allocate some time to answer all my e-mails in an appropriate manner. It helps streamline my work, and it will help yours too.
7. Set reminders
Most devices, like our phones, have a pre-installed reminder function. If you have an important meeting with someone, set a reminder at least 30 minutes prior to the meet-up to give yourself enough time for preparation such as printing documents, collecting stats and jotting down points that you’d like to discuss and the like.
You may also want to use the calendar in your cell phone to manage daily activities. If you use Outlook, you might already know that its calendar comes as part of the mailing software allowing you to access your schedule anytime and at any place.
8. Lead by example
When managing time, remember that you come first, and others come second. Since everything cannot be done by one person, you must learn to delegate.
There are tasks that others can perform better than you, and it is important to take the extra load off and focus on other things that need your attention.
Also, remember that others are noticing how you work. If you expect them to complete their work on time, you must set an example by doing so yourself.
If you are late, they will be too. So always be the first to demonstrate punctuality and let others follow your example. No matter the nature of your job, you must first treat yourself as your favourite employee.
Bringing these tips into practice can take some time and effort, and you will need to slow down at some point, be patient with yourself (and others) and develop an informed perspective so you can do your job on time and bring in the desired results.
Bob Adams is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of BusinessTown.com.