How do I find the time to manage my small business? 12 Time Management Tips to Boost Productivity
Truth: Your time is so valuable and precious.
Choosing how you spend every hour of your day is vital to your success and sanity. Yet, no matter how you plan it, the work just continues to pile up. One minute you’re creating a website, the next minute you’re updating your accounting books. Then, before you realize how ridiculously busy you’ve gotten, you find yourself eating lunch during a conference call. Basically, without a time management strategy, it only makes sense that you’re scared of drowning in your workload.
Learn how to manage your stress at work better, get a grip on your day, and work efficiently and productively with the following time management tips:
Plan your time in advance
Do your least favorite task first
Save mornings for the most important tasks
Group similar tasks together
Remove unnecessary items from your to-do list + delegate
Don’t get caught in the details
Utilize waiting time
Learn to say no
Find purpose in meetings
Create productive habits
01. Rise early
Mornings are a valuable time to plan the day, eat a slow breakfast, stretch and exercise, or catch up on some of your over spilled work from the previous day. Before you start getting hammered with emails and the unavoidable daily to-dos, use this precious quiet time to pursue your own initiatives and start your day with less stress and more joy.
02. Plan your time in advance
Both daily and weekly, it’s important to sit down and create to-do lists ahead of time. This is because if you don’t start out your days with a plan, someone else will be able to do that for you. So write out what you need to get done the night before or shortly after waking up in the morning.
One habit we do is plan out the following week right before heading into the weekend on Friday afternoon. This takes some of the pressure off of those tiring Monday mornings where no amount of coffee can seem to motivate anyone.
03. Do your least favorite task first
If there is something on your to-do list that just causes you some sort of resentment, it’s best to get rid of it right away. You’ll be more likely to work fast to get it done by starting your day out with this, and you won’t have to look at your to-do list despising it any longer. It’s one simple time management skill that will undoubtedly bring you joy once you check it off.
04. Save mornings for the most important tasks
When you set up your daily checklist of tasks, prioritize the most important things. Begin your day by checking these items off first thing in the morning (as well as your least favorite task) while you’re full of energy after a night of rest. Getting the biggest things out of the way will help you to feel accomplished early on and reduce the chances of burnout.
05. Group similar tasks together
Rather than switching between multiple different tasks and wondering why you can’t focus, try batching together things which require the same level of concentration and time. For example, after lunch do your five minute check-ins on analyzing stats, reading emails, and updating other small things. This will help you stay present and productive throughout your days.
06. Remove unnecessary items from your to-do list + delegate
Make a comprehensive list of your to-dos to see what you can cross out that’s not truly significant or vital for progressing with your job or business. In a world of busyness and consumerism, we can often get wrapped up in doing things or buying things that don’t actually matter or need to be tended to at this very moment.
Be honest with yourself: do you simply have too much work in your day to even feasibly finish your tasks at hand? If so, it’s completely acceptable to pass off some of your work to others qualified to do it. Of course, don’t choose someone you’ll need to train unless the time spent doing that is valuable to you in the long run. You might even want to consider hiring one of my freelancers or personal assistants to assist you with day-to-day operations. Rachel or Becky would happy to review your needs. You can reach out here with your request and we'll contact you within 24-hours.
07. Don’t get caught in the details
Many of us have a bit of perfectionism, which is often a huge contributor to our endlessly busy lives. Try tuning out that inner critic that has to get every detail right by focusing solely on the bigger picture. Get the most important bulk of the work done first, then come back to these small details later on if you have the time.
08. Eliminate distractions
Knowing how you spend your time will surely help you recognize distractions. Even so, it doesn’t make them less tempting. This includes things like checking your Instagram feed throughout the day or responding to messages on Facebook. If you find that you can’t control yourself from these distractions alone, turn to an app that can do that for you. RescueTime and Freedom are two apps that work great for blocking distracting websites and applications.
09. Utilize waiting time
Whether you’re waiting for a doctor, a meeting, or the next bus, waiting times can be the best moments to get things done. Use them to work on quick tasks like answering emails or chat messages from coworkers. You might also want to consider using this time to focus on your personal hobbies (reading, writing, etc.) or de-stressing exercises (meditating, stretching, breathing).
10. Learn to say no
Being a people pleaser and saying yes to everyone and everything is simply self-destructive. There is no better way to put it. Rather, you should be the one taking the lead on how you spend your time by choosing to work on tasks which directly align with your job and your personal goals. It’s okay to not respond immediately with a yes if you aren’t sure whether or not you want to do something. Instead, take your time deciding by responding to requests with something along the lines of “I’ll check my schedule and get back to you.”
11. Find purpose in meetings
Meetings are often viewed as “wasted time.” You can do something about this though, especially if you’re the host. When scheduling a meeting, you should set clear intentions, include an agenda and action items, and read up on this guide to hosting more effective meetings.
12. Create productive habits
Habits are tasks which we do no matter what kind of mood we are in that day, such as getting up and brushing our teeth or checking our email immediately when we arrive to work each morning. Take this concept into your job more consistently. For example, if you’re a writer, make yourself write for the first hour each day before moving on to any other task. This will ensure that you make progress every day and easily avoid things like procrastination and distractions.
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