By Stephen Jeske
Every business owner struggles with the same issue: How to make the most of that finite resource known as time. Everyone has 1,440 minutes at their disposal every day. In reality, we don’t manage time, but rather manage what we do during the time available.
Whether you’re an established SMB or just starting a business, assign other people in your organization with tasks appropriate to their abilities. As the business leader, your job is to focus on strategy and tactics while leaving others to implement.
Find Your Most Productive Time
Everyone has their own capacity for work and, likewise, specific times of the day when they are most productive. As the owner of an SMB, you have the luxury of planning your time to leverage those productive hours. Reserve the most important actions of each day for the period in which you are most prolific.
Plan Your Day
Failing to plan is akin to planning to fail, so ensure you take at least 15 to 30 minutes to plan the day ahead. Do this first thing in the morning, or make it your last task of the evening, just make sure it gets done. It’s too important to leave to chance.
Schedule Important Activities First and Fill in the Rest
Regardless of how long an activity requires, make sure to schedule the most important activities first. These events don’t need to fill up your agenda in sequential order, but they do need to have their place. The rest of the available time can be filled with activities of less importance.
Don’t Confuse Urgence with Importance
Most SMB owners find they make better decisions when not under pressure. Making certain that important matters are completed in a timely manner will reduce the chance they reach a critical stage. Delegate issues that are not important to your staff in order to reduce the likelihood they become critical while also lessening your need for involvement.
Do Not Disturb
While an “open door” policy sounds nice, there are times when you simply need to get things done. Use a “Do Not Disturb” sign for these critical moments. Many SMB owners find that multitasking simply isn’t the most productive use of their time. If it’s important enough for you to do, it probably needs your undivided attention.
Forget Your To-Do List and Schedule Instead
The problem with lists is that, as items are continually added, they eventually reach a point where they become unmanageable. Because they have no time requirement, they’re essentially a “wish list.”
Turn these items into actions by scheduling them on a calendar with a start time and end time, and make sure to keep these commitments.
Collect Your Ideas
Great ideas often come at the most inopportune times. We always think we’ll remember but often forget. Solve this time-waster by carrying a small notepad or using an app like Evernote to keep track of your thoughts.
Use Collaboration Tools
SMBs of all size and budgets can benefit from collaboration tools. Whether using free apps like Google Docs or any of the premium alternatives, collaboration tools reduce time wasted in back-and-forth communication. These tools keep people and files in sync, while boosting productivity.
Use Mobile Apps
Mobile apps are invaluable to SMB owners looking to save time because they allow business to be conducted anywhere and at any time. Turn wasted time waiting in line into productive time getting work done.
As an SMB owner, there will always be issues that require your attention. There are only 24 hours in a day, so make the most of those minutes.
Stephen Jeske is an avid outdoor enthusiast with a passion for coffee. He frequently writes about personal branding, online reputation, and small business issues.