How many times a week do you call home to let your family know that you’re going to have to stay late at the office? How often are your weekends ruined because you decided to take work home with you instead of spending quality time with your friends and love ones?
If you’re trying to figure out how to create a healthy work-life balance you have to start with changing your work habits. You’ve learned to stretch your time thin and you can replace this behavior with healthier actions that’ll lead to a happier, more fulfilling life.
Here are some key time management tips for small business owners to get you started in the right direction.
Helpful time management tips for small business owners:
Keep a Strict Work Schedule
It’s going to be difficult to follow at first, but create a work schedule with strict start and stop times. Let’s say you want to start your workday at 9:00 am and you want to end your day at 5:00 pm. Set an alarm on your cellphone for 8:50 am and 4:50 pm. When your alarm goes off, you’ll know that you have 10 minutes to prepare to begin work and 10 minutes to finalize your day’s work. Don’t allow yourself to start earlier or finish later; stick to your schedule.
Next, plan a robust and detailed 8-hour workday that’ll take the guesswork out of what you need to accomplish each day. Since many business owners do a variety of tasks to keep their businesses running, it’s important to know what needs to be done and what order it should be done in. Don’t waste precious time trying to decide what else has to be done, plan your day down to the minute to be as efficient as possible.
To get started, tally up how much time you spend on various tasks. For example, if you spend the majority of your time on the phone speaking with customers or vendors, designate 3 hours a day to making and returning all of your phone calls. Carve out 1 hour for checking your email instead of randomly checking it throughout the day. Devote 1-2 hours a day for inputting data or updating workflow charts. Allow yourself 1 hour to work on highly detailed work and leave yourself some time to work on tasks that have upcoming deadlines.
Give your new schedule a go to see if it’s practical. If you find yourself with downtime during specific time breaks, rearrange and tweak your agenda to properly match your workload.
Set Realistic Deadlines for Projects
If you’re under quoting how long it will take you to finish a project or job, you’ll inevitably have to pull in longer work shifts in order to deliver. Don’t overpromise or commit to a fast turnaround time with your customers and colleagues.
Carefully examine your project and break it down into bite size pieces. Determine how long it will take you to complete each segment of the project and give yourself extra time for unforeseen events or barriers. Create an appointment on your calendar the day before your project is due so you’re constantly aware of the deadline.
As a business owner, remember it’s better to under promise and over deliver than to over promise and under deliver. If you commit to unrealistic deadlines, you’re going to work yourself crazy to try and meet the demanding standards you set out.
Release Perfectionistic Tendencies
Perfectionism defined is a, “Personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.”
Professionally speaking, perfectionists waste a great deal of time. Are you a perfectionist that gets in your own way? Here are 10 signs that all point to being a perfectionist:
1.) You have a very specific manner in which things need to be done.
2.) You have an all-or-nothing approach to completing tasks.
3.) You only focus on the end result.
4.) You’re extremely hard on yourself.
5.) You become depressed when you don’t achieve your goals.
6.) You place enormously high standards on yourself.
7.) You feel that success is never enough.
8.) You often procrastinate and push work back.
9.) You constantly spot mistakes when others don’t.
10.) You spend copious amounts of time to perfect something.
Stop placing additional pressure on yourself to be perfect and you’ll find that your work schedule opens up like a blooming flower.
Outsource Time Consuming Tasks
One of the most popular time management tips for small business ownersis to realize that you can’t do everything on your own. As a business owner you have to learn how to delegate in order to successfully manage and grow your business.
Take account of your most time consuming responsibilities; those tasks that really eat up hours in your workday. Create a list of these tasks and tally up how many hours you spend a month trying to complete them. After you have a clear understanding of how much time you spend on these extensive projects, it’s time to understand the value of your time. Click here to read an informative article that gives you 3 different formulas to arrive at how much an hour of your time is truly worth.
Chances are, it’s costing you a lot of money to complete these time consuming tasks on your own. Shop around to see what tasks you can outsource to save you time, energy and money. You’re not a trained accountant so why are you wasting time trying to handle your company’s books when a professional CPA could complete the task in a fraction of the time it takes you. Do you spend a lot of time handling the administrative work for your business? Consider how much it will cost you to get a data entry clerk, administrative assistant or office intern to help with the more menial tasks you’re shouldering.
Being able to delegate non-revenue or time consuming tasks can free up your schedule tremendously; allowing you to shorten your daily workday.
Work smarter, not harder with these time management tips
One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs are faced with is having enough hours in the day to create a successful business. With these time management tips for small business owners, you’ll be able to free up a considerable part of your work schedule; leaving you with the ability to really enjoy your personal time.
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