Everyone has suggestions for how to best manage time at work, but not every idea is helpful. Each worker has their own rhythm, their own flow, or their own method for getting things done.
As a small business owner, it’s important to recognize that time management isn’t just about knowing how to get the most amount of work done in the least amount of time; it also means better life management (i.e., work-life balance). If you are missing deadlines or missing out on life events because you’re having a hard time staying on task or disconnecting from work, then these time management techniques just might help put things into perspective.
The first step to effective time management is figuring out where time is wasted. Many online time management systems offer analytics and data, so take advantage of that information.
Are you wasting time using software that isn’t helping you stay on track? Learn more about some options for time management and tech.
A pen and paper (or a spreadsheet) can also work for tracking how your time is spent each day. Whatever tool you use, keep a log of what you do each day for a week and then review the list to see if you can identify what tasks are “gumming up the works” or any trends in the distractions you experience.
We all tend to take on too much. Practice saying “no” when asked to take on new tasks so you can use that time and energy to do what you want to be doing. Others may not be aware of everything you’re working on when they ask you about new projects, so looping them in on your to-do list can help make sure everyone’s on the same page.
There’s already a lot out there on how to manage expectations, so here are just a few of our top picks for quick wins you can implement immediately:
While this may seem counterintuitive, procrastinating is not always a bad thing. Creating a “procrastination list” (a list of things to work on when you are delaying work on other projects) can help you get through projects that might not otherwise get done. This will also likely get you back into your flow and back to work on the projects you really need to work on.
If you find yourself doing a little bit of everything, maybe you need to delegate or outsource some of your tasks to others.
For instance, are you doing HR tasks when you should be focused on your business? Most HR professionals spend nearly three-quarters of their time on tedious administrative tasks.
There are several ways you can make the technology you already have work better for you: Learn keyboard shortcuts that save you time in the long run. Set alarms and timers to remind yourself to stop or start projects. Share your electronic calendars with others so everyone is on the same page.
Similarly, consider consolidating your programs and apps so they fulfill more than one purpose. Single-use programs and multiple passwords require more time than those that achieve multiple goals or have a single sign-on process.
Pay attention to how you organize and share your electronic (and paper) files. Disorganization is one of the key time wasters for many people. Using cloud-based services to store your documents and share them with others will save time, energy, and help the environment.
Here’s the bottom line: The key to time management is to find what works for you and stick to it.
Ready to learn how outsourced HR with G&A can help with your time management? Let’s talk!