We’ve all heard the old saying “time is money”. But the fact is that if you don’t manage yours properly there’s a danger that other people will spend it for you!
Fighting distractions is a big challenge in any service-related business. Inevitably, you will be pulled in several directions by clients, contractors and colleagues on any given day, often at the sacrifice of your own agenda for your business. So it’s up to you to set some ground rules to help you manage your time effectively. Here are some tips:
1. Determine what’s valuable to you.
You know that feeling of satisfaction you get when you complete a particular project or task? One that’s been sitting on your to-do list for weeks, or is particularly challenging? It’s a great feeling isn’t it! Prioritise these tasks and treat them like goals – I guarantee you will feel much better about your progress day to day. And the more satisfied you feel, the more productive you will be, the more you will accomplish and the happier you will be at work – it’s a positive cycle!
2. Avoid “switching.”
Switching is definitely the thief of time and productivity. This is the act of moving from one task to another, whether productive or unproductive. The time you spend winding down your thoughts and attention in relation to one task and gearing up for the next before being fully engaged with it is dead time and totally unproductive. The next time you find yourself doing this, try and calculate the amount of dead time involved and put a value on it – it will scare you. Eliminate distractions, turn off instant messages, put your phone on silent and close down your e-mail program. This way you can focus on the task in hand and keep that switching monster at bay!
3. Use the best tools available to you.
Are you really being efficient if you just scribble some notes down on the desk diary, or even worse try to plot your way through any given day in your head? There are so many great tools available in the cloud these days, such as Evernote. Find one that works for you and they will help you to plan, prioritise and execute.
4. Delegate as much as you can.
Even though you’re a service provider to your clients, it doesn’t mean that you, in turn, can’t outsource some of your tasks to others. Have you considered working with a virtual assistant? Determine the tasks that are the biggest drain on your time and productivity as a business owner and don’t be afraid to bring others into the mix.
5. Set appointments for yourself.
Allow time in your calendar for “me.” You have to look after yourself and your family. You have to enjoy some rest and relaxation time. It’s not all about work by any means and by achieving a balance in your life you’re more likely to be more productive on the job as well.
These are just some helpful hints for improving productivity! What do you think? Please leave a comment.