Running a small business is hard, no doubt. The pressure of meeting demands and deadlines can cause stress and even sleep loss. Time management is a skill that is hard to master for most, if not all, business owners. There are added difficulties for those who run internet-based businesses, digital nomads, and those who work from home. How do you get it all done? Sometimes it may feel as if there are not enough hours in the day. But others seem to be more productive! How do they do things differently? There has to be a trick to it, right?
There are many different tricks, tips, applications, and professionals to help you master time management. It’s a matter of what works best for you.
Limit Tech Distractions
Let’s be honest, sometimes it feels as if our number one time suck is our inability to say no. Not just to new tasks or new business opportunities. Also to technology designed to distract you and keep your attention. In order to decompress from a difficult meeting, we may turn to Facebook for relaxation. At the end of a long day at work, we may turn to Netflix before tending to the home, only to get wrapped into a TV-watching binge.
Things like that may make you feel like your lack of time management is your own fault. Take in consideration that in truth, these applications were developed to help you in the beginning. Unfortunately, with thirst for higher profit, they have been modified to ensure that they’ll keep your attention longer and longer.
There’s a solution.
Don’t worry, there are many apps you can use to limit your time on these programs on your phone or on your desktop. Many people have found themselves wrapped up in tech. In fact, it’s still up for debate as to whether internet addiction can be considered a psychiatric disorder. For tools to limit your internet surfing on your phone or desktop, check out this Guide to Better Internet and Computer Use.
Limit Phone Distractions
Another way small business owners frequently get distracted from efficient time management is by receiving too many phone calls. Regardless of what industry your company is in, there is almost always an influx of calls that revolve around some of the same questions and tasks. Fortunately, every industry can benefit from hiring an answering service.
Whether you’re beginning to feel bogged down by constant calls or you just want to maximize the time that you have, you should consider that it may be time to hire an answering service. Hiring an answering service and allowing them to take calls, respond to inquiries, and will certainly be a step forward in optimizing your time.
Time Management Apps
There are other time management apps you can use to help increase productivity other than ones that are designed to limit online distractions. These apps can help with a variety of different aspects of small business ownership, from meetings to collaborative document creation, and project management.
We’ve told you before some of our favorite apps to keep your small business competitive, including utilizing the gig economy and expediting the payroll process. But, depending on your needs, you may want to use things like GoToMeeting for remote meetings, Slack for communicating within your team, and Asana for managing tasks.
Depending on your business needs, you may find this list of the best productivity apps very helpful.
Again, the most effective way that to go about scheduling your tasks may vary. It depends on your preferences. Through researching some of the greatest minds, you’ll find that much of their days were structured rigidly so they would be able to be more effective in their output. As novelist Gustave Flaubert put it,
“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
There are several very effective methods for scheduling your time effectively. Some of these methods include blocking off time in chunks in order to get things done, having a hierarchy of tasks within your to-do list, and using a timer to commit yourself to intervals of focused work.
For full descriptions of five of the most highly recommended task scheduling tips for time management, read this article on mastering productivity.
Alter your Environment
Some may find that having a dirty office disallows the kind of concentration needed for productive time management. The items that a small business owner needs can get lost in the clutter. Noisy offices could be just fine for one employee, while another needs headphones and brown noise for for extreme focus. Your energy level at a given time of day can affect your ability to get things done as well. It can take some experimenting and consideration to find your optimal environment.
And remember, environments don’t just consist of what it looks and sounds like around your desk. Some argue that your life is made up of nine environments and they are either adding to or subjecting from your energy levels. It’s become a pretty widely accepted method of thought that if you’d like to change your habits, you should start with your environment, and if you want better time management, that could be the place for you to start.
This may seem like a silly suggestion. But, for some people, the act of getting started is the hardest part of any task. Sometimes it’s all just a matter of getting over the pressure of how to do things perfectly, and beginning. A task finished imperfectly is always better than something unfinished. So, quit procrastinating and begin right now.
Sound easier said than done? Learn about the science behind procrastination in order to better understand how to overcome it.
Apply this to your small business
Whether you’re looking to grow your business more rapidly or you’d just like to spend more time with family, there are many ways to make the most of your time. One way is to use technology or hire an answering service to minimize distractions. One can also change their work environment or implement task scheduling plans.
Now, give these a try:
- Consider what is taking up most of your time as a small business owner. Is it too many phone calls? Lack of prioritizing? Find out which aspect of your business would benefit most from some changes being implemented.
- Do more research on tools that you can use to improve your time management. We suggest looking into The Complete Introduction to Time Management. If you work remotely, there are unique struggles with scheduling and focus, so we suggest reading 23 Productivity Tips for Digital Nomads.
- Contact an answering service that has been delighting clients for over 50 years