Before we discuss time management within your business we should discuss the larger picture referred to as “work/life balance”
Pulling yourself away from the gravitational pull of work is extremely difficult. Whether you are making lots money or struggling with your workflow, the one thing that people tend to sacrifice is their personal life.
We can be equally as successful if we work less hours but that can only work well if we work “smart”, to maximise the time we have.
Working “Smart” means managing time.
Time management should be simple to implement but to most of us sounds like a theory that doesn’t work in practice.
So why does it not seem to work?
The answer is that we all know that time management has all got to do with prioritising, and one can’t proritise effectively without rules and disciplines that we always keep to. What inevitably happens is that while we are getting important things done we get interrupted by others or we interrupt our own workflow with something that is more immediately pressing and the result is that work does not get finished.
Every business type and every individual will have a discipline that works for him.
Most of us have some sort of rule system by default. For instance; when we schedule or get an appointment, we write the appointments in a diary or our phone to-do list or calendar.
If we are more organised we will list the items in order of priority. These are very important basics but why then do tasks not get fulfilled?
Here are some answers that can help :
Email management is big issue. A study by Adobe in August of this year found that on average people spend as much as 6 hours a day on average checking their email.
Emails have become much more than just another commutation method. Many of us work off our emails.
The problem with that is as highlighted by the Adbove study just checking emails wastes a massive amount of time but also reading irrelevant emails take up time and distracts us.
There are two ways to deal with that issue: Firstly don’t repeatedly check your email try to discipline yourself to only check your emails at 2 or 3 set times in the day. Secondly unsubscribe immediacy from emails that are of no use to use and delete ones that are not useful to you.
You can then label your email or organise them into folders so that they can be found afterwards.
Besides emails, a big time waster in business is looking for things. Project files could be stored inside 3 levels of folders in the D drive, or worse still; everything is simply dropped into the “my documents” folder. In these cases you are bound to spend a lot of time simply finding your files when you need them, and a small interruption in the middle will throw you off and require you to do the same process again.
Some thasks will be things that have to be done but don’t necessarily have any connection to making money or they are simply not important to be done today.
So try to list all your tasks are with two priority labels “urgent” and “non urgent”
and closer to making money. That was the things that matter with get done at the expense of the less urgent or less important tasks.
A task that is nor urgent and doesn’t vene pay so well but could be a first job for an important clisnt who can recommend you further clients could be classed as being close to money
Another issue is multitasking. If it takes you fifteen minutes to get orientated to a new task if you try to do the second task in parallel to it, you can be sure that that fifteen minutes will become 30 minutes
Lastly If your process works even if it is seems old fashioned don’t discard it for a piece of software just because it is a more “modern system”.
Sometimes people fall into the trap of doing things like upgrading computer systems or a new piece of software and they think that this is what is going to improve their business when in actual fact the best thing to do is stick with disciplines that work for you and organise your processes and files