What is it?
Time is a limited resource for most business owners, so it must be efficiently managed if you want to achieve your objectives or goals within the time frame set. It’s about prioritising your routine and resisting the urge to go off on a tangent and do something that you feel like doing rather than keeping to the plan. Because you can’t touch time and put it in a filing cabinet, it is one of the most difficult resources to manage.
Time management is therefore to do with setting priorities and sticking to them.
Benefits of Time Management
- Performance of tasks are controlled;
- Enables the completion of targets;
- Allows better managing of your business, including management of team and resources;
- Creates less stress and strain within the business and within people’s lives; &
- Contributes to overall increased production and profitability of the business.
One of the most important is psychological. The feeling that one has of being in control of one’s life and destiny, as well as the feeling of achievements through personal discipline.
Suggestions For Managing Your Time
The easiest thing to do is to leave it to another day or “I’ll do it tomorrow”. It’s always easier to put things off than to handle them straight away. So stop procrastinating and get on with what’s important.
Get yourself organised so its easier to perform tasks because everything is in the right place. This will mean clearing your desk so you can see what you are working on and putting everything into files, in their right cabinet etc..
Clean up periodically.
Once a month, go through everything you have on your desk and on your shelves and do a clean up. It’s great to categorise it into four piles: ‘do it’, ‘delegate it’, ‘defer it’, or ‘dump it’. You would be amazed at how you don’t really need to keep some of the old project files and reference materials or business journals that come through your desk. Before you get rid of anything, just ask yourself “what is the worst that can happen if this wasn’t here?” If the answer is ‘nothing’, then dump it.
Prioritise your work daily.
Each day, go through the work you have put onto your “to do” list and prioritise it. Make sure the important things are dealt with urgently and work down your list until all the tasks have been completed for the day. Nothing will help you to organise and manage your time more than a well set out and followed “to do” list.
Once you’ve set out the “to do” list, stick to it. Resist the urge to be distracted and to do other things that you enjoy more. We are only human. We will do that which we enjoy more, than that which we don’t enjoy. Focus on things that have to be done and stay with it. If you find yourself wandering, come right back again to your list and work through the tasks that are set out there.
A lot of people are shy about delegating work. Either they find it difficult to pass on the responsibility or they are embarrassed about asking someone else to do the job. Delegation is part of proper managing of any business. Systemisation will help give you the confidence to delegate. Without the ability or confidence to delegate, you will forever be ‘self-employed’.
Hold your calls.
Advise team members to hold calls when you are busy and don’t wish to be interrupted. Direct your team to put through only calls that are absolutely necessary and the rest to put on a list to call later. It’s amazing how much work you can get done by following this simple technique and focussing on the task at hand rather than being distracted by a phone call, which often appears to be, petty or unimportant.
What type of a person are you?
You are either a morning person or a night person. Each person has a biological clock, which means that at certain times of the day we are most alert and with peak energy levels. At other times we’re not. You will achieve more if you do most of your difficult or demanding work during times of high energy and postpone the other tasks which have low priority, to your down time.
Plan going out.
If you are going to leave the office, plan what you are going to do and time you go out. For example, you may decide that you will call into the dry cleaners and at the same time go across the road to the pharmacy before picking up some office stationery. Try and plan it so you are moving from one destination to the other going forward (that is not reversing) and by the time you get back to the office you will have achieved four or five calls because you will have planned your time.
Learn to say No.
It has been said that the most important two-letter word in business is the single most effective time management tool and that is the word “No”. Business saying no if the situation calls for it.
Some Tips If You’re On The Road
Here are some tips that will help you manage your time better when you are out of the office.
- Always carry business cards.
- Remember to take your mobile phone and use it. There’s nothing more wasteful than driving around doing nothing when you could be touching base with a customer or prospect.
- Make use of the time while driving to listen to educational tapes or CDs. You must grow before your business can grow.
- Always carry a notebook or ‘micro recorder’ for recording messages or for writing down ideas you have while you’re on your trip.
If you spend a lot of time at customers’ premises, or on the road, invest in a notebook (laptop) computer. That way, you can sit in a park and do some work if you find you have time between appointments.
Sometimes having an effective outsider look into how you manage yourself in the business, can benefit you.
Enjoy the application, and see you next month!