Here’s the thing…When you’re in business for yourself it seems that there are never enough hours in the day. You get up, go to work, work through lunch, work through dinner sometimes, work late into the night, all because you are the company. And then by the time you get home, you are beyond exhausted—and the cycle is only set to start again the next day. It could be that it’s a particularly busy time of year; it could also be that your time management skills require some finetuning.
This is perhaps the number one issue that entrepreneurs face: there simply are not enough hours in the day to get everything done that you need to, and still leave you any sort of life outside of your job. We’ve all heard the term work/life balance…Well, it’s a commonly tossed about the phrase for a reason. We all need this balance. And even on those days or weeks when it seems like there is no end-to-work insight, we still have to find a way to achieve some form of this balance. Again, time management really is key here.
Working 20 hours a day is only going to lead to less productivity and less efficiency overall. So what can you do? What are some steps that you can begin integrating now in order to ensure you have some sort of life beyond just the workplace? In this article, we offer a few time management tips for small business owners.
Time Management in a Hurry
The above seems like an oxymoron, and that’s because it is. Time management when done correctly isn’t about a few fast fixes and/or just taking a couple of minutes a day to breathe and relax before you power through another six or seven hours of work. Time management takes, well, time. And this is what many entrepreneurs really don’t get.
A few stats to keep in mind:
– 15 million people work full-time for their own business
– 90% of small business owners work weekends
– 80% of small business owners work through the night
– On average, small business owners will work over forty hours per week
The above numbers just aren’t sustainable over the long term. Burnout will inevitably set in, and the business endeavor that you once loved will be something you dread doing because it’s consuming every minute of your life. If the above describes you, you have to start making some changes.
Multi-tasking is overrated
Once upon a time, bosses were told if they want to be more productive, they need to be able to multitask, and do it well. The thing is, when multitasking, your attention is divided. So rather than give your complete attention and focus to one key task, you are going from task to task and every one of them is essentially being shortchanged.
One thing you might try is to work in blocks instead. Rather than attempt to juggle four or five things at one time, dedicate an hour to one specific job. After that hour is up, move on to the next, and so on and so forth. This will help you to stay present during that one task and at the same time, keep all jobs that need attending to on your plate.
Delegation is key
The one thing that most small business owners are guilty of is believing they are the only ones that can do a certain job or perform a specific role. You’ve hired a team for a reason—you likely believe in their abilities and trust in their skills otherwise you wouldn’t have hired them. Now use them!
If people are just sitting around while you’re running about trying to get a hundred things done, then a) you’re wasting money on stuff you’re not utilizing and b) you’re just making yourself crazy. Delegation is so important for entrepreneurs. You have to be able to trust your team, and in trusting them, create some time for yourself.
Scheduling time off is okay
This is a very simple piece of advice but a necessary one. For many small business owners, the concept of a vacation is a foreign one. Poll a hundred business owners and odds are less than half have taken a vacation in the last year—possibly even in the last two years.
Vacations are critical for a number of reasons. You get to recharge your battery and come back to work fresh and with new perspectives. You get to make that needed time for your family and loved ones; those relationships are critical to nurturing. And you gain some insights about work and your business that had you not stepped away, you might have never realized.
Minimizing distractions is a must
When you’re at the office, you have things that you absolutely need to attend to and then there are those other things that creep up and that prove largely to be distractions. Phone calls, emails, and texts are among the biggest culprits when it comes to distractions. Unless they are extremely important, schedule them for later. Being able to focus on work without all of this excess noise will enable you to get that work done quicker and more efficiently.
Especially when engaged in an important project, you could always turn the ringer off, have a do-not-disturb notification, or a variety of other things that let people know you are temporarily unavailable as you are focused on a specific task.
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