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Top 5 Time Management Tips for Business Owners

Time Management Tips

Time is a finite resource, and as a business owner, you need to be the best resource manager you can be.

First, you’re managing your own time, which is quite scarce. As a business owner, you’re the only one who can do some tasks, and if you’re too busy, your enterprise has a serious problem.

Second, you’re in charge of other people’s time, delegations, schedules, and priorities. So, it’s very important that you know what you’re doing. Here are five tips to help business owners manage their time better.

1. Set Realistic Goals

This is incredibly important for two reasons.

First, setting too ambitious goals will always leave you behind, which is why you’ll feel like you’re not achieving enough when it’s really not your fault.

A better organization can help you achieve so much, but try earning a medical degree in three months and see what happens.

This doesn’t seem like the best example because it’s so ambitious that it’s clearly impossible. But what about the tasks that are not that clearly impossible? What about those that are slightly more ambitious?

These tasks will be just barely outside of your reach, impossible to achieve but seemingly achievable. They will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth and a lingering idea that, if only you organized better, you could have pulled it off.

The problem is that this will give you a false impression that your time-management skills are worse than they really are. The thing is that, in order to make things better, you need to know where you stand.

Time is a finite resource, and when you overreach on one side, you’ll be left vulnerable elsewhere. So, your other tasks will suffer, and you won’t be able to complete them. It’s a lose-lose scenario.

2. Delegate Tasks and Look for Help

One reason you can’t seem to finish some tasks in time is that they were never one-person tasks to begin with. So, you might want to find help, delegate some of your tasks, or just learn how to say no.

This is so simple that it’s ingenious.

First, if you’re a professional, you might want to hire a virtual assistant. This is an assistant working remotely, so it’s nothing new or revolutionary for you to worry about. They’ll help you with menial tasks and let you focus on core activities. This is especially the case with scalable tasks since things will only get worse.

If you’re running a project or a team, you need to stop micro-managing things and allow others to pull their own weight. This is generally a good idea and will set a great framework for the future.

Lastly, sometimes, you just have to learn how to say no. Most of the time, your time scramble is due to you being too timid or too nice to refuse something outright.

3. Prioritize

One of the biggest time-killers when managing a project or running a business is the lack of clear prioritization. If you stretch your resources too thin (and time is a resource), you’ll get nothing done.

As a business owner or a leader, you need to be capable of making tough decisions. One of these decisions is regarding prioritization. Ask yourself one thing: If I had three tasks and could finish just one today, which one would I be doing? Then, ask if you could finish two things; which one aren’t you doing? This will give you a priority order.

Sometimes, when you’re not sure if you’ll get it all done, sticking to all three is a risk (of failing at all three). This is why a business owner needs to be courageous enough to “pull the plug” on any of these tasks when it seems like things are getting out of hand.

Also, as a business owner, you’re assigning other people priority tasks. These might need a bit more frequent check-in.

4. Avoid Multitasking (When You Can)

One of the biggest fallacies of time management is the idea that multitasking is saving you time. Even if not, some people believe that if it takes you two hours to do one task and three hours to do another, you can take less than five hours to finish them both by multitasking.

In reality, multitasking objectively slows you down and makes you less productive. Instead of five hours, it could take you six or seven. Also, since your attention is split, you’re more likely to make mistakes. If you notice them in time, this is extra correction and editing (which further slows you down).

So, ideally, you would handle one task at a time. This will also make it easier to improve your focus.

Another challenge of multitasking is that it makes measuring performance and time use near impossible. If you’re doing two tasks simultaneously, how well are you performing those individual tasks?

5. Take Breaks

The first hour of work and the last hour of work are not the same. You’re exhausted and mentally spent, and you’re glancing at your watch every few seconds. It’s important to avoid getting overworked, and the simplest way to do so is to take regular breaks.

Also, while a better work schedule will prevent this entirely, it’s important to alternate between high-productivity days and days on which you do less.

Sure, you can outperform yourself on one day, but expecting to replicate your success every day of the week is simply ludicrous. If this was your norm or average, achieving that level of performance wouldn’t be such an anomaly.

As a business owner, you want to ensure that your team members take breaks, even when they argue against them or claim they don’t need them. This is important but counterintuitive for many entrepreneurs.

Wrap up

Ultimately, time management is a priority. It’s literally the difference between your business making it big and failing spectacularly.

Fortunately, you can implement so many little ideas, fix flaws, and tweak habits. All it takes is the right motivation and, more importantly, the right mindset. Everything else will soon fall into place.