When you started your business you had a passion. You wanted to accomplish something, something that was unique and important to you. Your business was going to support you, your family. It was going to provide you with the money and status you needed to live a certain way, in a certain place. What did you do that started your business successfully and do you still have the time to do those things? Is your business providing you the monetary, emotional and physical things you hoped it would? Or, are you experiencing the pain and cost of not enough time to do what is important?
Few small business owners will publicly admit that their business is not providing them with the “monetary, emotional and physical things they hoped it would.” In fact, most small business owners are experiencing pain from their business. What kind of pain? Usually one of the following:
The pain of:
- Not enough time to run the business,
- Not enough time to do the work of the business,
- Not enough time to spend doing the non-business things I want
The common theme here is time. Regardless of what you do, what you make, produce, provide or sell it all involves one key element – time. What I am going to do now is begin to give you the gift of time.
Have a plan, a Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Yearly plan.
I’m all about keeping things simple, so let us look at a simple process for managing your time more effectively. Managing it so you have time to take care of business and time for yourself and family. A few simple things that can make your time management more effective.
– Make and use lists. There is not a single time management discipline or system on earth that doesn’t revolve around making and using lists. We all forget things and this helps us remember: So make a list of the important things; your schedule, what you need to do, follow-ups and other calls. Prioritize things in each section by urgent, important and other.
– Set aside time. Plan all of your time, every day. Don’t leave blank time that gets used for unnecessary activities like staring at the phone or unproductive work. Fill your day with important appointments, planning time, productive work projects, etc. If you use the phone a lot, plan a phone morning or afternoon, whichever works best. Mix your day up to avoid going through the motions just to get things done. Don’t forget the paperwork either, plan for your administrative time. Then, work your plan.
– Limit Meetings. I dislike meetings. They are time wasters more often than not. If you must have them insist on an agenda and that everyone comes prepared. That means sharing the agenda in advance. No meeting of any value ever lasted more than 60 minutes and you can even shorten that with planning.
– Make organized files. This can be simple, use different colored folders to identify time frames. Time frames like today or urgent, Next week, next month and so on. Organize your notes into these folders so that you can ensure that you are doing what needs to be done. At the end of each day simply review the folder. Today’s should be empty. Look at the other folders and move things as needed. Don’t forget to refill Today so that you can work on it next day.
– Prepare for the unexpected. Let us be honest, it happens. By planning for the unexpected we ensure we have the time to address it. Be cautious about time thieves too. That interesting conversation you overhear and have to engage in, playing on Social Media and other things.
Use your time wisely
Using your time wisely is the key to success. A variety of tools can be used to manage your time. Something simple like a Daily Planner. I see more and more people using those instead of the wide variety of technology tools that are available. The simplicity of having everything there and not concerning yourself with an Internet Connection, or whether or not you remembered to refresh your battery on your Smartphone makes your daily planning easier. The tool doesn’t have to be modern, fancy or sophisticated. The only requirement it needs is that it must work.
Without a plan, your day is unorganized and mismanaged. Your time is valuable and we all know time is money. Don’t waste your time, the time of others and money. Have a plan, a Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Yearly plan. After all, it’s your business. Be successful with it.