Most small-business owners and startup entrepreneurs hate wasting time. They know from experience that starting and growing an enterprise takes head-down, get-it-done dedication and efficiency. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to waste them.
But even the most focused business owners can struggle in the day-to-day world with all of the little things that can sabotage efforts to spend time effectively. Whether your business is facing a challenge, or growing like gangbusters, it’s important to get the time-management thing right. Your good organization and time-management skills are essential to the success of your business.
Here are time-saving tips that you can put to work in your business right away:
• Discover the power of priority. Every business owner makes dozens or more choices daily about what to focus on first. This is setting priorities. But most of us tend to put out the fires first, and then move to more productive endeavors. If you want to tap into your productivity’s full capacity, however, you need to balance being a firefighter and being a builder. Try this: List all tasks you face, from big to mundane. Determine which are “A-list” tasks that must definitely be done today. Divide others into B, C and D-level tasks.
• Try the 80/20 rule. About 20 percent of the things you spend time on produce 80 percent of your results. To maximize your productivity, identify the 20 percent activities and prioritize them. Look at how you currently spend time. How many things on your to-do list get checked off? Identify what you’d like your 80 percent – your results – to look like. Now you can reorder your priorities for best results.
• Beware of time invaders. Interruptions are inevitable, so you need to control them. Be on guard against people and situations that pull you away from your objectives and schedule. Be proactive in choosing the ground on which you engage others. Reach out to others so they don’t drop in on you. Schedule meetings ahead of time. Discipline yourself to check email once every hour (if realistic) instead of every five minutes.