Being a small business owner has its due challenges, and you must keep on your toes to achieve your goals. It might sound like a challenging ride but at the end of the day, running a business takes you to promising positions in entrepreneurship.
Besides, managing time has been vital for most business owners, with numerous tasks awaiting quick responses. And team leaders cannot ignore any of those tasks, so we have compiled a list of 11 practical time management tips for small business owners that could help you enhance your productivity and keep you in a stable mental state.
Before we begin, let’s go through an exciting excerpt from a book titled No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs by Dan Kennedy. He said:
“I think the important thing is, to be honest with yourself. If you are putting something off, don’t pretend otherwise. And it’s also important to keep controlling, setting, and addressing your priorities rather than reacting to others. Too many overloaded entrepreneurs still operate on the “squeaky wheel gets the grease” basis. Although that is understandable and can provide survival, that philosophy cannot produce peak productivity. You want to be the one making very deliberate decisions about how you invest.”
If you have read this far, you have been looking for tips and tricks to learn time management and apply it in your business journey. After all, time is money, and we can never get it back once it’s gone. That is why we need to manage our time well for our sanity and business growth.
Business is all about managing and achieving deadlines. It might be a mix of estimating and predicting the total time you would require, then keeping a blocker on that time, delegating tasks, seeking help, and being self-disciplined to complete the assigned task.
If you skip a deadline, you have to decide on doing the right thing quickly.
1. Get clarity on your tasks & goals
While talking about time and how we can manage it effectively, we come across two essential aspects to categorize our task lists and responsibilities: operational assignments and business aims. Assignments are everyday obligations, repetitive but necessary, that occur without a break daily or weekly.
Billings, meetings, inventory management, emails, etc., constitute vital assignments for a business’ growth. Once you target and define them, you get good chances to manage them productively as you build up your time management plan.
2. Pause, Prioritize & Cluster
Once you develop a to-do list, you get clarity on prioritising, managing, and clustering assignments. Prioritizing tasks helps you identify which tasks and goals are at your day’s most active hour. You can pick similar assignments and complete them by managing and clustering rather than extending them all day long, denying organized productivity.
3. Time Scheduling
Time scheduling might sound like an obligatory practice, but you gain more productivity once your time is thoughtfully organized towards specific tasks or assignments. Scheduling time helps you squeeze out time for urgent goals and everyday tasks.
Although schedules are beneficial, you must be prepared for unexpected tasks. You must have a flexible approach to scheduling a task. A super hectic schedule with never-ending tasks and business goals is disappointing. You must keep a space for unexpected happenings.
4. It’s Okay to Take a Break
We often ignore this essential practice of giving ourselves a break from the daily hustle and countless responsibilities on our shoulders. Even a 15-minute time off your devices and everyday grind could be a mood booster and give you a relaxing feeling.
Taking breaks might include going out for a quick lunch apart from work premises, pausing between work clusters so that you could refresh your mind and body, and starting over with clear thoughts. That little break freshens your mind and enhances your productivity levels better than you’d have while glued to your screens, phones, or desks.
One good idea while taking a break is to reflect and strategize. Think of other work or life domains to let your brain focus on other thoughts, which helps to create better solutions. Besides, business owners or entrepreneurs cannot work like a maniac; they must interact and socialize with other people. This practice fosters essential relationships we require both in the workplace and private lives.
5. Delegate More Often
Business owners in the early phase of establishing their operations might find it tricky to delegate tasks due to certain factors. However, once you have a dedicated team of skilled workers and get a hold of running business operations, you can find better ways to delegate tasks. Let your team members manage them, and you can dedicate your time and attention to other vital projects.
Delegating tasks is not only a specific practice for business owners; it is a crucial trait that one must learn to grab free time in his schedule and dedicate it to vital tasks. We must note that delegation is about allowing others to take hold and giving feedback and support when or as needed.
How to Excel in Delegating Tasks?
You should excel in this tricky skill. To delegate effectively, here’s the seven-step process:
- Define what action is required.
- Be sure the delegate understands what is to be done.
- Explain why it has to be done and how you identify it.
- Teach how to do it without micro-micro-managing.
- Set the deadline for completion or progress report.
- Be sure you agree on the date, time, and method.
6. Avoid Distractions and Time Blockers
Distractions are a part of business; everyone needs your attention in the workplace. The earlier you accept this fact, the better it is to prioritize and focus on more essential tasks. It becomes impossible to say no to distractions in a digitally connected ecosystem, but we have covered you.
Take a quiet space and dedicate walking office hours, keep your phone on mute and stay disconnected to complete more work in lesser time. If you think you can’t avoid internet browsing or social media scrolling, take help from apps that let you stay organized and away from digital noise.
7. Use a Business App For Everything
It’s about time business owners consider automation instead of multitasking. If you are unsure which tasks to automate, then let’s discuss below:
- Organize your monthly bills, invoices, and continuous expenditures, and go for an app that could save you time and bucks.
- To automate calls, meetings, and events, you can install a calendar app and let it schedule meetings according to everyone’s availability.
- Asana is a powerful app that automates tasks to work more productively with team members or clients.
- Add connected devices that help with supplies, grocery ordering, and other mundane tasks.
Check Google Play Store or iTunes to discover new automation apps to organize your time.
8. Keep Plans A, B, and C
Having a hectic week while running a small business is normal, but you shouldn’t neglect to keep plans. Making Plan A allows you to curate a set of important tasks, schedule meetings, and mark significant events on the calendar. When you have a plan for everything, you clearly understand your time allocation for each task, meeting, or event. Avoid dedicating unnecessary time to a particular task.
But another prominent factor is that things might not turn out as we plan. So having a plan B enables us to take action without hesitating about the unexpected glitches of life.
Consider the following points while making a plan B:
- You might not need to list it down, so don’t make an effort to write down several lists. Plan in your mind what tasks you would need to complete urgently.
- Having a Plan B keeps your priority list organized if an unexpected event occurs.
Last but not least, take out Plan C from your brain’s storage, where you list down the disaster management list if a crucial task appears.
9. Divide Work into Blocks – Don’t Multitask
Multitasking is a good practice but not the best approach, as it lets you do lesser work in more time. Since your time and attention are divided across multiple tasks, it affects your efficiency and causes you to make mistakes. Eventually, you would require more time to compensate for those errors.
In such situations, time-blocking tricks work best, which is explained below:
- Pick out the first task on your to-do list. Then mark the timings for 25 minutes and perform the task within that time frame to complete it. It implies that you should not check your phone, scroll social media, or read emails.
- When the time is over for that task, leave it and take a quick break.
- Move towards the next task on your priority list, or reset the timer to complete the pending task.
This sharp focus enables you to tick off tasks quicker and more energetically.
10. Demand Work-Life Balance
We must think differently today and consider our life events an essential part of life rather than distractions. Focus on the person more and organize your tasks, considering family, friends, and self-care. We can create a practical work-life balance by prioritizing self-care and family as much as we focus on our work.
Our brain also needs a break from the continuous workload to act faster when assigning tasks. So use it wisely.
11. Take help whenever you need
Asking someone for assistance is normal while working in a team. Do not hesitate to take help from your team members, friends, or family if you seek guidance on a particular subject. Starting conversations clarifies many confusions and helps us collect different input on a particular situation.
Delegate your operational tasks to distribute your workload. Having a part-time resource can help you finish several pending tasks. Besides, you can always pay someone to get help if your family is unavailable. Hiring a house-help might cost you less than doing all chores yourself.
Remember that you don’t owe anyone a ‘yes’ all the time; learn to say no to things that don’t align with your goals. The most important thing you must focus on is that it’s your time, and you are its master. It’s solely your decision on how you plan to spend it. Practical time management is more about utilizing that instead of how much time you have. These practical time management tips for small business owners could help you improve your business operations and personal and family life.