We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘time is money’ and although cliché, it is true.
As business owners our time is our most valuable resource and yet so often, we invest it in the wrong things and find ourselves overwhelmed, overworked, and just wishing we had more hours in the day.
Even if your to do list is endless and you’re constantly working, this doesn’t always mean you’re being productive – or profitable!
As Zig Ziglar said, “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four-hour days.”
To make the most of the time in your business and ensure you’re doing what you can to move things forward and maximise sales, you need to make sure you’re spending your time in the most effective ways.
Implementing certain techniques and time management tools can make a huge difference and to help, I’ve pulled together a few of the best ways to manage your time so you can be a more efficient, productive, and profitable business owner!
1. Find out where you’re wasting your time
With so many distractions around us it’s easy to lose our focus. The first step to making the most of your time is identifying where you’re spending it… and then whether or not it’s the most productive use.
Social media, phone calls, and emails are all necessary when running a business. But, if replying to an email breaks your focus from another task or creating a post results in you deep in the Facebook scroll an hour later, it’s only going to make your to do list even longer than it has to be.
Once you’ve figured out these triggers you can schedule set times throughout the day to deal with them, so they don’t take your attention away from other, more important tasks.
2. Prioritise your workload
You should take the time to regularly prioritise your workload. As business owners we juggle so many balls in the air, it can be hard to determine what needs doing first. It’s even harder to figure out if you’re making the most efficient use of your time.
The Urgent vs. Important Matrix is an invaluable tool that lets you claim back your time by ranking your tasks based on their urgency and importance. It helps you to prioritise your workload so you’re investing time in the tasks that will make you money, rather than the ones that waste your time or are just an excuse to procrastinate.
3. Time blocking
Like I mentioned above, setting aside scheduled times in your diary to work on specific tasks helps you to be more focused and finish everything you need to – rather than getting distracted by an email that just landed in your inbox or the message you just got on LinkedIn!
A popular time blocking approach is the Pomodoro Technique. This basically involves tracking your time for specific tasks and batching similar jobs together.
Instead of trying to multitask and continuously jumping from one task to another, you’re planning out time blocks for efficiency. By minimising the need to refocus and adjust to new types of tasks, you’re making better use of your time.
It’s suggested you block 25 minutes per task and then take 5 minutes break to allow you to mentally recover, prepare for the next block and ensure you don’t lose your concentration as you work.
I’ll admit it’s not the technique for everyone, but it can increase your productivity and make sure you’re spending your time efficiently, and, more importantly, profitably!
4. Track your time
Track your time for everything – even when you login your socials for a quick scroll. By having a clear indication of where you’re spending your time it’s easier to spot those distractions that slow us down. You can even get a clear idea of those jobs that are taking up too much of your time, even though they could be automated, outsourced or completely ditched for good!
There are so many apps available (Toggl, Clockify and Harvest – to name just a few!) that make it as simple as possible to track your time. From this you can see whether you’re more focussed on the jobs that will help your business grow and increase your profits or on timewasters that are just leaving you overworked and working all hours of the day just to get by.
If you’d like some support in your small online business and have been thinking about hiring a VA, then drop me a message here and we can discuss your needs further.