The saying “Time is money” is certainly true for small business owners. Being as productive as you can (and wasting as little time as possible) plays a major role in your success. Whether you work from your home or out of a coworking space with separate meeting rooms, balancing your daily responsibilities is essential.
That’s why it’s important to keep the following time management tips in mind. They’ll help you leverage your most important resource to its full potential.
Log an Entire Day
Time-logging is key to determining how you already use your time as a business owner. However, don’t make the mistake of assuming you only need to keep track of the hours you dedicate to work-related tasks. Spending at least one day tracking every single behavior gives you a more complete view of your overall productivity and efficiency. There may be adjustments you can make to your daily routine to use time more effectively.
Determine How You Waste Your Time
A recent study indicates most business owners waste more than 20 hours per week on non-productive tasks and activities. Whether you’re handling low-value tasks that could be delegated to an employee or spending too much time watching YouTube when you could be working, odds are good you’re not using your time as intelligently as you should be. Review your daily log and find your biggest time-wasters, then determine how you can eliminate them.
Use the 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto Principle) states that approximately 20% of the work you do typically accounts for 80% of your earnings. Business owners who apply this rule find it helps them use time much more productively.
Determine the monetary value of various tasks you might focus on as a business owner. For instance, the work you do for a high-value client may yield twice as much money per hour as work done for a lower-paying client. Once you know which tasks belong to that 20% group, you can focus more attention on them.
Train Your Employees
Delegating work is a big part of saving time as a business owner. That is, as long as the employees to whom you delegate tasks are prepared to handle them. Delegation could actually harm your productivity if you assign an employee a responsibility they haven’t been trained for. By taking the time to train your workers thoroughly, you’ll end up saving a lot more time in the long run (and you’ll enjoy higher employee engagement).
Leave Employees Alone
Once you’ve trained your workers, trust that they’ll come to you if they need immediate help.
The impulse to spend a lot of time with employees is understandable. However, your workers can waste a lot of your time if you’re not careful. Some will simply have too many problems for you to address. Others will try so hard to earn positive attention from you that you don’t have opportunities to focus on other tasks. It’s best to set aside a little bit of time each week to conference with your workers instead of doting on them. Doing so gives you the chance to monitor their progress efficiently.
Don’t Get Distracted
It’s important to seek new clients and opportunities as a small business owner. The problem is, focusing too much on potential opportunities distracts you from the tasks you need to complete right now. Whenever you feel the urge to pursue a new client or project, ask yourself if doing so is a genuinely valuable use of your time.
Understanding how to manage time wisely will boost your odds of growing a successful business. In a world with more distractions than ever, focusing on productivity and efficiency gives you a competitive edge. These tips will help.
About the Author:
Rae Steinbach: Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course. Fueled Collective She can be reached on Twitter @araesininthesun