When you devised your business plan, you would have taken into account everything: A business idea, investors, funding, revenue, manpower and all the costs you’d be required to incur. But one thing you probably missed out on was ‘Time management’ and how to keep a tab on your productivity. You have everything but how exactly do you execute it to reap profits “effectively”. Even with the best idea, a business can’t succeed if there’s no productivity. More so, in this world of social media and ever expanding technology, it’s very easy to get distracted adding on to more troubles.
Managing your time properly is one of the most important aspects while kick starting any business. Efficiency, or in other words, getting more done in less time, is the main objective. (Remember, time is money!) So here are some tips that can assist you in managing your time and generate exponential results in shorter frame of time.
1) The ‘One job at a time” mantra
It’s simple. When all your attention is centered on one single task you not just give your 200% to it but the time devoted decreases, making you way more productive. When you’re running a small business, this could mean the difference between success and failure. Discipline yourself to stop multi-tasking and focus on the work at hand, instead of putting your efforts in focusing on the next task.. Put all of your energy and thought into the project, until time is up or it’s complete.
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Focusing on two or three tasks at once, results in loss of energy as well as time. You’ll remain too busy; but at the end of the day, none of your tasks will be accomplished. Working on multiple tasks simultaneously will not only divide your attention, but will also lead to sloppy mistakes.
2) Be Productive, not Busy
It’s vital to learn the difference between just being busy and being productive. Being busy is measured by how long you work, and being productive is measured by the results you achieved in comparison to the overall amount of work. Just because you’re busy all day doesn’t mean you’ve accomplished anything.
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The key here is to be result-oriented and adopt an adaptable approach to work. Since results matter at the end of the day, look out for hacks to getting things faster, but make sure the work quality is not hampered. Change your strategy as soon as you find troubles in generating results.
Tricks of the trade: Follow Productivity blogs which are all about effective time management strategies and career motivation.
3) Turn down all interruptions and distractions
When you work, there has to be only one thing in your mind: Your Work. Remembering that everything else is secondary and can wait but the task in hand, won’t will do the deal for you. So go ahead and silent your phone or take up the practice of not answering the phone just because it’s ringing and E-mails just because they show up. Secondly disconnect the internet, ask people not to disturb you and put your email reminders to silent. Choose to check these things when you have time to be distracted – say, during a lunch break – and work through them together, saving time. Make it a point not to give people your attention unless it’s absolutely crucial in your business to offer an immediate human response.
4) Create a 15-minute list
This is one of the powerful hacks that can help you fight the pull of procrastination and get work done in the micro-segments of your day. Begin your day or week, whichever suits you, by creating and using a 15-minute list. This is a list of tasks that can be done in 15 minutes or less. Keep it with you so you can convert those odd moments of time like waiting in line or waiting at the dentist office into productive micro-segments of work.
This list is also your go-to when you feel the tug of procrastination. You can quickly complete a task which gives you a little boost to your energy levels getting you into your work mode. Once there you can then take up the big tasks, head-on. Basically the 15 min To-do list is a way of getting yourself all set to get done with a more challenging or complex project.
5) Learn to Delegate
A productive leader knows when to seek support from team-mates and when to complete a task solo. This is why delegation is one of the most crucial time management tips for business owners. Can’t find time to make critical business decisions because of your involvement in other everyday tasks? Start delegating tasks, whether marketing or administration, to a capable team member.
Not only will you gain extra time in your day but your team will know you trust in their abilities to get the job done in turn motivating them.
The one thing you should keep in mind while delegation is to avoid “abdicating” — that is, you need to avoid giving employees responsibilities without effectively preparing and training them for the task. This is huge. Part of making this work is hiring the right people, but it also requires investing time training them.
6) Take short breaks and keep a tab on them
Remember the story of Archimedes: tasked by the king with creating a method of discerning real gold from counterfeit.
Archimedes worked tirelessly without coming up with a solution. Ultimately, at his wife’s urging, he decided to take a hot bath as a break. As he stepped into to tub, he saw the water rise and realized the solution to the king’s problem: water displacement.
The moral of the story, of course, is that sometimes taking a break actually saves you time and results in greater productivity. The human brain is an incredible machine capable of generating world class results, subject to the the condition, it is given breaks every once in a while. Without taking a break you’re guaranteeing yourself exhaustion and ultimately diminished returns. So make sure you’re taking a breather because you can only run so fast before you’re out of breath. And while maybe you’re not literally running all day, mental exhaustion can be just as bad as physical exhaustion.
So every time your work starts straining you play your guitar, take a walk into the nature, listen to your favorite music, have a chat with colleagues or just simply meditate. The idea should be to keep it short and highly refreshing.
7) Don’t multitask
According to the Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, only about 2.5% of people are able to effectively multitask and fare well at each activity. Moreover, the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London shows that a person’s IQ falls by as much as 10 points when they’re overly stimulated by emails, texts, and phone calls.
It might just look appealing to save time by cramming as much work as possible into a short amount of time, but it’s likely doing more harm than good. Focusing on one task at a time increases productivity and performance. Conversely, trying to take care of a single task while you answer every new email, respond to every text, and micromanage every issue as it arises means you’re not giving any one thing the attention it deserves. This implies or leads to two direct consequences. One, you’ll likely have to go back and correct careless errors later and two, you’ll end up wasting a significant chunk of time by shifting mental gears. One thing at a time is the best way to go – trust us.
8) Use the pomodoro technique
The pomodoro technique is a popular time management technique that involves setting a timer for 25-minutes while you focus on one specific task, then taking a short 5-minute break before starting the next task. Time logging helps you see where you’re spending too much time and too little time. Then, you can start setting weekly and daily goals for the pomodoros you spend in each category. For example, limit yourself to 10 pomodoros per week checking your email. But set a goal of hitting 30 pomodoros working on your marketing systems.
The quality and the duration of breaks becomes important here. While the breaks have to be short but they’ve got to be highly refreshing. You may play an instrument, have a snack, go for a nature walk or even crack some jocks with fellow employees. Avoid watching television or getting into social media here.
To conclude, we are reminded with an old adage “Time is the greatest wealth you can ever possess.” So kickstart your days with these time management hacks and uncover the greatest wealth you have always possessed.