Tips for Effective Time Management

Time is precious, particularly when it comes to running a small business. With the right approach, you can work efficiently, productively, and relatively stress-free. Here are seven tips for effectively managing your time:

1. Know your goals.
Make sure you’re engaging in activities that support your business goals. Your daily plan should revolve around working on tasks and activities that directly relate to generating income and growing your business.

2. Prioritize wisely.
>> Important and urgent — Tasks that must be done right away.
>> Important but not urgent — Decide when to do them.
>> Urgent but not important — Tasks that make the most “noise,”
>> Not urgent and not important — Low-priority stuff that offer the illusion of “being busy.”

3. Just say no.
You’re the boss. If you have to decline a request in order to attend to what’s truly important and urgent, do not hesitate to do so. Be prepared to move on to more productive tasks. Learn from the experience to avoid wasting time later on.

4. Plan ahead.
Try one of these options:
>> The night before — At the end of the day, take 15 minutes to put together a list of the next day’s most pressing tasks.
>> First thing in the morning — Arrive a few minutes early and assemble your prioritized to-do list. This may prove to be the most productive part of your day.

5. Eliminate distractions.
Start paying attention to the number of times someone interrupts you when you’re in the midst of an important task. Your smartphone is extremely useful, but it’s also addictive. Instead of being “always on,” plan a break in the day to catch up on email, call people back, talk with staff, etc.

6. Delegate more often.
If you’ve done a good job of hiring talented, dedicated employees, there’s always more work they can take off your desk. Running a successful small business depends upon the owner’s ability to think about what lies ahead and not get mired in day-to-day operations. Look for opportunities to pass responsibility for specific tasks to others on your team.

7. Take care of yourself.
Be sure to get plenty of sleep and exercise.