Have you ever thought that there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done? You’re not alone. Yet some people can do much more than others within the same time frame because they know how to manage their time effectively. In business, every minute on the clock represents dollars either earned or wasted. Time is easy to waste, and unless you determine how you’ll spend it, it will go by before you know it. Effective time management helps increase productivity, build your professional reputation, create opportunities for advancement, and reduce your stress level.
Create a schedule
One of the most important ways to manage your time is scheduling. At the end of each workday, prepare a to-do list for the next day, then prioritize that list and set times for each activity. Be consistent: do this every single day and soon it will become part of your routine. Creating a schedule will give you a greater feeling of control, clear your mind, help you get a good night’s sleep, and even increase your productivity throughout the next workday. Be realistic with your schedule, as each day offers various distractions, and you may not always finish what you’d planned. Before writing your list for tomorrow, take the time to review your actual activities today. If you wasted time, recognize it, learn from it, and try to do better.
Consider what to spend your time working on. An effective way to determine how you should spend your time is the 80/20 rule. This rule basically says that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your efforts. So increasing the amount of time you spend each day in that 20 percent category will ensure the best results for your business. To determine which tasks fall in that 20 percent, you need to compare the results of your activities to the strategic goals you set out for your business. This will allow you to work smarter so that you get more done in less time.
Leverage your prime time
Think about when you complete an activity. Each of us has an internal clock with a certain time of the day, or prime time, when you are the most alert and productive. Some people are more productive in the morning, others in the evening. Knowing when you are most productive means you can schedule your time so that you’re working on the most important activities when you are at your very best, alert and creative.
Multi-tasking is the enemy of time management. Very few people are able to multi-task and still do well at each activity. By focusing on one activity at a time, you could double your productivity. This is extremely important in business, as you can potentially complete double the number of activities in the amount of time it previously took you to complete one activity. If you’re used to multi-tasking, though, focusing on one activity at a time will take some practice. Begin practising by setting aside a small amount of time each day to focus on only one activity. Increase the time you spend focusing on a single task each day and soon you will find that you have doubled your productivity!
Organization is key to effective time management, and this includes an organized work space. It is difficult to work in a timely manner when everything around you is a mess. As much as 30 percent of work time is spent looking for misplaced items. If your workspace is organized, consider where that 30 percent can be put to good use. To organize your workspace, create a filing system that works for you. The simplest of all filing systems is an alphabetical system. Once you have implemented your filing system, create a master list of all your files and where they are located, and keep this master list easily accessible.
As you grow your business, you will find that you have less and less time in the day, making effective time management a priority. Pay attention to how you are spending your time and soon you’ll see an impact on your bottom line!