One can successfully argue that the most challenging part of being a business owner is wearing multiple hats and overseeing just about every single aspect of your business. Not only is this role-switching stressful, but it’s also incredibly time-consuming, which is why you always feel like there’s never enough time in the day for you to do everything. And that’s true, because small business owners waste as much as 21.8 hours each week, according to research done by Inc Magazine.
Furthermore, entrepreneurs spend 68.1% of their time working on everyday tasks, doing damage control, answering emails, and so on. They typically spend only 39.1% of their time actually working on business development and their long-term goals.
So, the solution to improving your business may not lie in your budget nor your staff, but your ability to manage your time.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at why time management is crucial for every business owner out there, and what you can do to make the most of your time.
1. Setting Clear and Realistic Goals
Knowing where your business is going, but also how and when to implement certain changes should be at the core of your business strategy, and setting goals is the best way to make sure you’re still on track. Without goals, how will you know if you’ve been successful or not?
Being able to measure your progress is key, and you can only do that by managing your time in a smart way. In other words, you need to break down your long-term goals into smaller, short-term goals, and then repeat the process until you are clear on your goals and milestones for every single day, week, month, and year.
2. Using Tools to Work Smarter
While modern technology, such as email and social media, is somewhat to blame for poor time management, there’s a flip side to that coin, because you can utilize apps and tools in order to save time. For instance, you can use time-tracking and productivity apps to monitor yourself and your employees. Or you can turn to project management tools to keep an eye on the entire production. Then there’s also the possibility of setting up automated workflows that can do anything from sending out mass emails and scheduling social media posts to exporting your calendar data into Excel. All of that will help you identify where you’re losing the most time.
3. Knowing Your Priorities
There are only 24 hours in a day, and if you often find yourself not achieving all of your daily goals, then you might want to look into setting your priorities straight.
First of all, realize that it’s normal to leave a few loose ends at the end of the day. You don’t have to read or answer every single email you get or finish up some minor task that can be done at any given moment.
Figure out what your priorities are, and then work on them during your most productive hours. If there is any time left, you can start handling miscellaneous tasks that don’t require a lot of brainpower or decision-making abilities.
4. Learning to Delegate
So, once again: the majority of your day will be spent performing daily tasks, while the remaining time will be dedicated to tackling both short-term and long-term goals. It should be the other way around, and it can be, if you learn to delegate some of your responsibilities.
Delegating well makes for a win-win situation. Your employees will certainly welcome you trusting them with more responsibilities and not micromanaging everything, and you will be able to allocate your time and your resources to where they’re most needed.
5. Reducing Stress
Now, it’s a given that being a business owner is going to be more stressful than working your average desk job, but it’s a price that you pay for taking control of your own career. However, many business owners often begin to feel overwhelmed and exhausted by all the long hours and the stress that comes with making important decisions all the time. Managing your time more effectively and knowing how much time you and your employees need to complete each task or project will eliminate the stress that comes with approaching deadlines.
6. Giving Yourself a Break
Being efficient and productive is important, but it’s even more important to prevent burnout. That way, you’re far less likely to grow to resent your job, or worse, to suffer any damage to your mental health as a result of exhaustion.
So, once your week is over, give yourself a break and don’t think about all the stuff that you haven’t done. Instead, focus on what you have achieved so far and take notice of the fact that you are one step closer to your goal. When you are a business owner, you are your own biggest asset, so take good care of yourself.
Effective time management can not only help you become better at your job, but also to grow your business as a result. What more could you want?