7 Time Management Tips for Small Businesses
There aren’t enough hours in the day for small business owners. Arriving at your metal building early and staying late is your life, sometimes seven days a week. Don’t you wish you could hit the “pause” button on your day? We can help you master the technique of time management. The following are all practices we use at Armstrong Steel to increase our efficiency. Here’s seven ways you can improve while squeezing more productive moments out of your workday.
1. Identify your big time wasters
The first step to fixing a problem is realizing you have one. Reading this blog is half the battle. You’re here to grow! Ask yourself what takes you away from your customers the most? Do you find you focus on unproductive tasks more often? Take too many breaks? Do you waste away in meetings you know should only last half the time? These can slowly eat away at your output. Also, leave some “white space” on your calendar. Leave time for the unexpected. Budgeting time for unforeseen events will reduce your stress levels and keep you ready for anything.
2. Know your priorities
Once you have your list, write out your day from start to finish. Evaluate what’s important and what you consider to be minor. A daily plan gives you a great overview of how you think the day will pan out. This is called “time logging.” Give yourself at least 20 minutes of every day to plan your day. Plug in the important tasks when you feel you will be the most productive, and work backwards.
3. Use technology with moderation
Nowadays, we’re all connected with each other thanks to email and social media. But take time to put the phone back into your pocket or purse. We have become so dependent on new technology, constantly checking email and corresponding with clients. Every time you refresh your inbox, it wastes valuable business hours. Instead, trying checking email at certain preset times of the day. Don’t be under or over attached to that smartphone! Find a good balance. Social media can be a great marketing asset for your company, but can also be a major distraction. Set aside 30 minutes of your day dedicated to responding to questions, orders, reviews and comments on the web.
4. Forget the To-Do List
While there are many advantages to using a traditional To-Do list, it’s becoming more popular to ditch it in today’s busy work environment. Most small business owners agree being organized is a direct benefit of their commercial success, so why are we telling you to get rid of it? Unless you can use them effectively, they’ll leave you more stressed than before. To-do lists can’t account for all your open-ended projects, and leads you to try to cross off the easiest objectives first. Those less important items get pushed to the forefront and consume your time, while the bigger, more significant responsibilities take a back seat.
5. Realize its OK to say “N-O”
One of the biggest problems we hear about comes from the reason you’re a successful entrepreneur in the first place: initiative and drive. You’ve gained the mental fortitude of the Little Engine That Could. You tell yourself everyday “I think I can, I think I can.” Sometimes reality gets in the way, and you can’t accomplish what you want to accomplish that day, hour or minute, and that’s OK. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was your small business. Be realistic, or you’ll stretch yourself too thin.
6. Delegate your responsibilities
This is the best part! Most likely you’ve had to wear many hats to keep your small business running on all cylinders, but you can’t do it all alone. Ever heard of the phrase “If you want it done right, then do it yourself?” This cannot be you. Dedicate the time to train and teach your employees how to do specific jobs around your workplace. Then let them work. If you had the confidence to hire them, trust that they can perform on a level you expect. Sure, you’ll be their safety net to assist when necessary or answer questions, but the weight is off your shoulders, letting you focus on managing them and other key tasks.
7. Set aside time for yourself
Seems simple enough, right? However, it’s usually the one thing people forget to do. Don’t let your small business consume you, or you will burn out quickly. Leave your work AT your metal building. Down time keeps you refreshed and ready to return to work and serve your customers to the best of your ability.
When it comes to time management, remember it’s all in your head. Don’t sabotage yourself and focus on getting better. They say, “Time is money.” Hopefully you’ll be able to cash in on both with these helpful tips to help your small business.Photo courtesy: Phil and Pam,