7 Time Management Tips To Enhance Your Business

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on April 06, 2010 in: Time Management Strategies

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Last time I checked, there were only 24 hours in a day. Clients and employees and administration can each demand all of those hours. It takes bold and confident time management to run your business successfully. Here are a few tips to help you:

1.    Pick a time management system and run with it. Sometimes one system might come along and seem better – and it could be better – but it could also be a grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side situation. Try it out for a week or two first and run both systems concurrently to see if the new one is actually the superior one.

2.    Ruthlessly plug holes. Every system has holes where projects fall off. One problem I see all the time among GTD users is too many inboxes. Another problem I see is when someone crosses off an entire project as being complete even though they haven’t yet finished a final step or two. Figure out where these holes are for you and address them. Limit your inboxes. Keep a master list that only gets crossed off when you receive confirmation from the bank that the client’s check cleared, etc.

3.    Build systems. Build systems, build systems, build systems. Make this your daily mantra. If you’re doing something today and you do the same thing tomorrow, you need a system. It could be as simple as a prescheduled reminder email or it could be that you have a specific number of programs that open on your computer when you start it up in the morning or it could be a list or a spreadsheet or a flowchart. Whatever. I have a big wall calendar that I use for everything. My friend has his 4-step sales funnel printed on his wall with his daily tasks in each section. These are systems, workflows, and checklists that make sure we get everything done in the day.

4.    If you find yourself with too many things to do in one day, but you’re always finding more great ideas to try (join the club – that’s me!) then don’t adopt everything at once. Keep a big list of things that you want to do and slowly add new actions or ideas into your business. But do them one at a time and make each one a habit before you go on to the next one.

5.    On the subject of habits, identify yours and eliminate the bad ones. If you’re the kind of person who procrastinates, figure out what you need to do to stop. A client of mine has the right idea: She admits that she used to be a terrible procrastinator and the only way she can keep it from happening is by offering insanely fast turnaround times on her work for clients. She ends up being so busy that she doesn’t have time to procrastinate!

6.    Know your peak times and work towards those. If you slump in the afternoons, as most of us do, don’t schedule your most important work for that time. Find the times when you are at your best and expect to work on your most important work at those times. I know the theory that says you should work on the least enjoyable project first, but I tend to subscribe to the theory that you need to work on whatever is most important for your mental state at the time.

7.    If you work online and tend to get distracted by interesting stuff (ahem: Woot, Ebay, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter), write it down instead of looking it up. Keep a distractions page and when you think “I wonder what’s on Woot right now”, write it down and look it up later during a time-limited browse-the-web reward-for-hard-work session.

There isn’t a great, magical time management technique that will give you hours of time. But if you pick a few winning best practices to control the chaos in life, you’ll gain back a few minutes here and a few minutes there and that adds up!

Happy Blogging!

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