Business owners don’t have time to do everything. That makes time your most valuable asset. And yet, too many things steal your productivity. Interruptions, schedules, meetings, both necessary and unnecessary, vie for your time.
Sooner or later, this struggle can overwhelm you. When this happens, you shift from trying to run a business and turn a profit to just trying to catch up. But, if that becomes your focus, you end up falling further behind. So, what can you do? Well, to start with, implement these vital Time Control Tips.
Track Your Time
The biggest reason people feel behind the hour hand most of the day is that they don’t realize how much time they’re investing doing Stuff That Isn’t Work. You know what makes you money, and you know the tasks that are necessary to make that possible. Then there’s everything else.
But what, exactly, is that “everything else?” The only way to know is to make a log. Over the next week, write down literally everything you do throughout your day, as well as the amount of time it took to do it. Then, each evening, total up the amount of time you spent not doing the things that make you money or the tasks that make that possible.
Eliminate Time Wasters
At the end of the week, take out your log, and make a list of all the things you’re doing that are just time sinks. Too many calls, too many meetings, too much time checking email or social media. Whatever it is that’s stealing your time, regulate it or eliminate it.
For tasks that take time but must be done, like checking messages or texts, set aside specific times during the day to do this. Avoid the temptation to check and recheck. And, if you have a job that requires supplies or tools, get in the habit of making a list of everything you need for that task, so you don’t waste time making multiple supply runs.
In fact, you might consider assigning certain team members to complete some of those tasks as well, and that brings us to our next time-saving tip.
Learn to Delegate
Next, make a list of all the tasks you’re doing that someone else can do. Begin delegating those tasks. As the business owner, your goal here is to, eventually, only be doing the stuff that only you can do.
The reason this is important, is that, as the owner, you should operate as the big picture person, the vision carrier, not just another task completer. Unfortunately, too many business owners invest in what they see as an opportunity only to find they, essentially, bought themselves a job rather than a business.
Focus on One Task at a Time
This one’s tough, but it is possible. These days, it feels like we have more interruptions in our day than we have actual work time. That can be regulated, though. Get in the habit of setting aside at least 25 to 30 minutes for each task, and insist on not being interrupted – by yourself or others – unless it’s an absolute necessity.
Close everything else on your computer desktop, and put your phone in a desk drawer. Or, if you’re on a job site, your pocket. Then, don’t take it out. Put all your energy and focus on the task at hand for at least 25 minutes.
Then take a five-minute break before moving on to the next task. You may also consider taking five minutes to read and answer emails between your break time and starting the next task. Make this a habit and you will begin to find time you never knew you had.