Most people struggle with managing their time in some capacity, whether you struggle to get tasks finished on time or you spend too much time on social media. There’s always room to improve your time management to become as efficient as possible, which is invaluable when you’re a business owner. If you feel as though you aren’t making every minute count, here are 13 practical ideas you can implement to manage your time more efficiently.
1. Start with a plan
Michelle from Virtual Hand “Enter every day with a plan for what you would like to achieve for the day. Not only will this motivate you by having clear goals for each day but even just making a to-do list will show you what needs to be done for the day so you can use your time to maximise productivity. “
2. Prioritise your tasks
Sometimes, we approach our to-do lists with an unconscious bias and we start with the tasks we know we will enjoy, therefore procrastinating. Instead, try to approach your to-do list with less bias. Instead, prioritise based on which task is the most important. Complete your most pressing or important task first, to make sure your day starts with efficient time management.
3. Chunk your tasks
If you are working on a particularly daunting project, it can be difficult to know where to start, inevitably leading to overwhelm and procrastination, By dividing your projects into more manageable sub-tasks, you will make more progress, and can also more easily delegate if working as part of a team.
4. Limit Distractions
Limiting distractions can be easier said than done, whether you work in an office, at home or virtually. There are distractions everywhere. Make an effort to limit distractions where possible. Work in a quiet room, turn off the notifications on your phone or limit your social media usage at work. Any of these small changes can help you on your path to becoming a more effective time manager by limiting any procrastination.
5. Stop Multitasking
Multitasking can trick you into thinking that you are being very productive, however it has been proven that the opposite is in fact true. The energy and time used to switch between so many tasks can actually slow you down. Simply stopping multitasking and instead focusing on one task at a time will actually get tasks finished much quicker than switching between multiple in one go.
6. Batch tasks
Instead of multitasking, try to batch your tasks. This involves grouping similar tasks together and completing them in one batch of time. This can get rid of multiple tasks on your to-do list after each batch of time without having to switch focus between each task. This will boost productivity and increase motivation by getting rid of multiple tasks on the to-do list after each batch.
7. Consider a Calendar App
When you are a business owner, finding the time to fit in work around other meetings and appointments can be difficult, which is where an app like Todoist can come in helpful. Todoist allows you to use a calendar but also create specific to-do lists for multiple projects. This can be a helpful way of visualising what you need to do, not only in the short term, but also the longer term.
8. Know when to say no
As simple as it sounds, it can be difficult to know when to say no to meetings. Sometimes, meetings are not the most productive use of time and when you own a business, no doubt the number of meetings you have will skyrocket. However, sometimes just explaining that your schedule is busy can be enough to postpone a less important meeting to a time at which you have less to do.
9. Plan for the future
This may seem obvious, but having both short and long term plans for the future can help you to structure your time so that you are being as efficient as possible to meet deadlines. Taking an occasional step back to see the bigger picture can help to keep you motivated but also see what you have to do next and in what order.
10. Use the Rapid Planning Method
If you are stuck for inspiration for your business, it can be worthwhile to use the Rapid Planning Method (RPM) to make sure you are maximising the potential of your working days. The RPM entails asking 3 questions to create a plan of action-
- What do I really want?
- What’s my purpose?
- What do I need to do?
This should help you determine what it is you need to do in your day in order to meet your longer term goals for your business.
11. Make sure you have a good routine in place
While your working day will undoubtedly change from one day to the next, it is important to keep a routine otherwise to ensure your day can run as smoothly as possible. Whether your routine means exercising in the morning or having a cup of coffee before you leave the house, having a routine can help to prepare you for the day ahead so that you can be productive with less stress.
Part of having a good routine, as mentioned previously, is ensuring you take adequate time at the end of the day to relax. This may seem counter-intuitive when trying to make every minute count, however it is important to give yourself time to unwind and recharge so you can approach the following day with a good attitude to ensure productivity.
If you have tried these tips and are still feeling run like there aren’t enough hours in the day, it could be time to consider outsourcing some of your work. Hiring a Virtual Assistant can be an excellent place to start, because you can determine how much work much involvement a VA would have in your business and how this could help you become a better time manager. Working with a VA to outsource tasks you don’t need to be carrying out personally is an excellent way of reducing your to-do list so that you can focus on other tasks which will help progress your business.
Hopefully, with the help of these 13 practical ideas, you will be able to make every minute count and help your business to flourish as a more efficient time manager. However, if you are struggling to keep on top of your to-do list and would like to hear more about how a Virtual Assistant could help you make every minute count, please do get in touch for a free 30 minute chat with Michelle to discuss your options.