With so many responsibilities as a business owner, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and fall short on what you want to accomplish. If you’re a new business owner who formerly worked for someone else, you may have discovered that managing time has become more challenging.
That’s natural. After all, you’ve gone from having your work schedule and priorities set for you to needing to prioritize every project and task related to running your business. Time management doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it’s an essential skill that can be developed with some attention and effort.
Here are some time management tips to help you take control and become more productive.
Believe it or not, multitasking has been proven to accomplish less rather than more. According to Sanjay Gupta, MD, only 2 percent of people are exceptional multitaskers. The rest of us fail at it—and quite miserably, too. Gupta explained that when we “multitask,” we’re not really doing two or more things simultaneously. In reality, we’re diverting our attention from one part of our brain to another, which takes time and brain cells. The other side of our brain views it as starting a brand new activity when we switch back and forth. This makes us slower and less effective than if we were to focus on just one activity at a time.
This goes for your project work, administrative tasks, phone calls, meetings, and even checking and responding to email or text messages. While you may not always stick to your schedule, will be more conscious about staying on task and not wasting time.
Make Email and Text Messages More Manageable
An eMarketer blog post shared that according to Adobe research in July 2015, U.S. business executives spend 3.2 hours daily checking work email on weekdays. In addition, they spend nearly the same amount of time checking personal email — an average of 3.1 hours each day. It is easy to imagine that these numbers have grown with email and text messages since then.
As a small business owner running your company, email and texting will likely demand a good bit of your time, too. Honoring the first two tips above, make sure to schedule time for email and texting, and don’t let them interrupt your other tasks.
Build In Some “Wiggle Room”
In an ideal world, everything would go as planned, but we live in the real world where the unexpected happens on a regular basis. By building some time into your day to accommodate unanticipated phone calls, tasks that run longer than you thought they would, and many other things, you will be less likely to fall behind schedule with everything else.
If your difficulty in getting things done is less rooted in your time management skills and more in the fact that you simply have too much to do, consider delegating and/or outsourcing. If you have employees, consider what responsibilities you might entrust to them. If you’re a solo business owner with no staff, you might consider contracting a virtual assistant who can take on some of your administrative tasks.
Managing a business takes a lot of time, so it’s a good idea to spend your time wisely and use it as efficiently as possible.