Don’t Run Out of Time
January 21, 2021
Endless energy, continuous ideas, a multitude of opportunities...all descriptions that might be vivid images of the owner or manager of a small business or SME. One item that is usually missing in such a description is an overabundance of time. This resource – time – is not an infinite commodity. There is no time machine that can add eight hours to each day, but there are ways to make the most of the hours that we do have in each day. Freeing up valuable hours for productive use should be a priority goal for every small business owner or manager strapped for time.
To many owners, however, time is not a factor. For those in this category, they are fortunate. For the many other small business owners who are pressed for time, consider the following time management tips.
Set goals and monitor progress
Establish clearly defined business goals and how each will be achieved. Put these on paper, a computer, or other electronic device. The important thing is not to just have business goals in your head. Then create some type of tracking mechanism to measure the progress of each goal identifying and addressing deviations early on that either cause the goal to be completely missed or create a major problem. Small departures from anticipated results are much easier to fix than major issues that take considerable time and effort to resolve. Depending on the business goal, keep involved employees informed so everyone remains focused, motivated, and on track. And, of course, it never hurts to celebrate progress!
Keep a list of priority goals
It would be wonderful if every goal could be worked on and accomplished immediately. The reality is, however, that goals must be prioritized taking into consideration what will have the greatest positive effect on the business with the least amount of effort and/or business disruption. Therefore, brainstorm with both higher and lower-level employees involved in particular goals discussing issues, resources, and important items that need to be accomplished to achieve the intended goals. Rank all of the goals as being:
1. Urgent - must do
2. Important – should do
3. Worthwhile – nice to do
4. Valuable – able to delegate
5. Unnecessary – possibly eliminate
After completing the identification process, work can begin on the urgent and important goals when energy levels are high and everyone involved is totally focused on accomplishing certain results. Avoid spending time working on non-essential items, otherwise, the workday passes without any meaningful accomplishments.
We all know one thing about technology. It offers mixed blessings. On the positive side, there is increased efficiency and productivity. On the negative side, however, there is wasted time and attention spent answering personal emails, surfing the Internet, social networking, texting, and cell calls. Although some individuals can multi-task better than others, even small interruptions create a loss of continuity in thinking that prevents the ability to totally focus on tasks to be achieved. As a countermeasure to these issues, establish timeslots during the day with no interruptions and distractions. Likewise, you can set aside certain times to review emails, make calls, or tend to personal business. The most important thing is to stay focused without undue distractions.
Although small business owners many times want to do everything themselves, this is not practical or prudent. As a business grows, employees must be groomed to handle additional responsibilities and talented individuals with perhaps different skill sets hired to manage certain aspects of the operations allowing the owner to work on higher-level management and planning activities. Conceivably in the early stages of a business, an owner might be able to micromanage, however, there comes a point in time when micromanaging must be avoided to achieve maximum efficiency. Mentoring and training are important aspects of business growth and success.
With only 24 hours in each day and seven days in each week, make the most of your available time.