Time management – clearing the logjam

Here are three key ways to manage your time effectively:

  • Be organised
  • Keep a list
  • Redefine your role as the business grows

A trap that many business owners fall into is that as their business grows, they seem to have less and less time – despite adding more people, better technology and new systems (see our post on redefining your business culture for more help in this area).

Be organised

Personal time management is all about categorising all the ‘stuff’ that crosses your desk when you’re trying to run a business.

  • Chuck it
  • Delegate it
  • Do it
  • File it (for future action)

You’ll find this immensely helpful. For instance, when you deal with a problem as it comes up, you prevent important decisions from piling up to the point that you feel overwhelmed. Give up the idea of private time during the workday, or at least reduce your expectation to no more than one hour a day. As the head of a business operation, you must be available to handle questions or problems that arise any time. Learn to snatch a little time for your personal priorities by vanishing into an empty room in the office, or down the street to a coffee shop, or the library. It may also be possible to get a little quiet time early in the morning. After business hours in the evening is perfect. And, of course, use your travel time for thinking, writing and reading.

To deal with telephone calls that cause constant interruptions, don’t let them bother you – just keep them as short as possible. When returning calls, you’ll find people less chatty just before lunch or quitting time.

Keep a list

Anyone who runs their own business has what seems like a million projects going on at the same time – some are inside the company, some outside. With so much happening, it’s easy to lose track of how close to completion a particular project is. Nothing is more embarrassing than to have a customer call and ask about some project you’ve forgotten about.

Create a simple projects list with initials of the person responsible, the date it was listed and the deadline. Also, break large or complicated jobs into pieces with benchmarks along the way. Keep a file of the deadline dates, and keep checking it.

Redefine your role

In the beginning, every business owner must take on many tasks, including cleaning the office. But as the operation grows and matures, hiring others to take on responsibilities becomes critical to healthy growth. If you fail to redefine continuously your changing role in the organisation, you end up with much more than you’re able to accomplish efficiently. If the process continues, physical symptoms such as stress, high blood pressure and depression can develop. Take an honest look at your workload and identify tasks that you don’t do well.

You may be digitally gifted but possess little financial savvy. Or you may be an excellent “people person” but hopelessly disorganised. The real measure of a successful business owner is in knowing when to complement his/her own skills by hiring others who can take over certain key roles.

With thanks to Stuart Ross http://highgrowthacademy.com/news/leadership/better-time-management/

Call us on 01865 881056 or email us at info@leaderslab.co.uk if you’d like to discuss any of these issues in more detail.