Friday, August 3, 2012

Time Management for the Owners of Small Businesses

The owners of small businesses often perform the job roles of a number of employees in addition to managing the business. Many feel that the perfect day would have an hour or two extra to complete those tasks they never seem to have time for during the course of the day. Some start working six or seven days a week, becoming tired and running the risk of burnout. Effective time management can add that hour or two to your day. Implement the tips below to use your time as best you can.

Use a Diary

Using a diary allows you to see what needs to be done on particular days. While some still prefer using a pen and paper system, electronic diaries allow you to set reminders for recurring tasks and appointments. Diaries can be synchronised between your mobile phone, office PC, laptop, and various other electronic devices. Instead of realising that you have a meeting on the opposite side of town five minutes before it is due to start, set a reminder to call your attention to the meeting an hour before you have to be there.

Make a To-Do List

Making a to-do list allows you to plan your day properly. Be realistic about what you can achieve in a single day and do not make the list too long. Try to keep it to eight to ten tasks, but keep in mind that some things are more time-consuming than others. Effective planning and strategising are core business fundementals and this also applies to day-to-day activities. Integrate your to-do list with your diary. In other words, a day with three meetings should not have a long list of additional tasks. Travelling time and the expected duration of the meetings should be taken into account at the planning stage.

Prioritise Your Work Load

Prioritising your workload allows you to complete the most important tasks of the day first. Number the tasks, with number one being the most important. Aim to always complete numbers one to three. Days do not always run according to plan and knowing that the three most significant things you had planned were done will make you rest easier. Prioritising your workload cuts down on time spending procrastianting, allows you to identify unnecessary jobs, and aids you in identifying and delegating jobs you can assign to other employees.

Learn to Delegate

Effective delegation is one of the keys to successful time management. It frees you to get on with more important tasks (such as numbers one to three on your to-do list), allows you to improve communication within the business, and aid in the personal development of your staff. Business owners often feel the need to do most of the work themselves, but staff are there to assist them and should be trusted to do so. This increases their feeling of worth, shows that you have confidence in their abilities, and allows them to learn more about the business. Give clear instruction and be sure to follow up for the best results.

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