Successful entrepreneurs and managers possess a lot of useful skills but the ability to manage time is probably on top of the list of their qualities. Modern technologies made the business a never-ending process, which means that senior executives can hardly ever keep their minds off of work.
In such circumstances, it is crucial for you as a manager to prepare for the demanding regime. You need to learn how to deal with everyday duties and complete all tasks as planned. In this article, I will show you 7 ways to make time played on your side.
7 steps to the outstanding time management
There are many ways to boost your productivity and utilize every spare second you get on a daily basis. However, I believe that these 7 methods can give you by far the best results in terms of time management, so let’s check them out one by one.
1. Make a plan
No matter what you do for a living, you need to create a good and sustainable plan to be successful. This is also crucial for time management. The best way to prepare is to determine three sets of goals:
- Short-term goals: These are your daily or weekly responsibilities which you need to take into account before you start working. They include big meetings and important tasks but also small and boring duties like writing emails and checking documents. You can create short-term goals each week.
- Medium-term goals: You will always have a few major issues to deal within the next few months, so take them into account and start working on it as early as possible. Medium-term goals will usually take you three to six months to complete.
- Long-term goals: Sometimes you want to achieve certain objectives in a year or two, which probably seems like a too distant future from this perspective. However, don’t forget that time flies by quickly, especially if you neglect the magnitude of your big objective.
Once you determine all these goals, you could make a calendar of duties to remind you about the things that you were supposed but did not complete yet.
2. Work hard
If you want to stay in control of your business and handle everything on time, don’t expect it to come easily to you. Instead, you better be ready to work hard and give your best to succeed. In order to do so, you have to learn a few things.
First of all, you need to sleep well if you want to be productive throughout the whole day. A study revealed that sleep deprivation is now costing U.S. companies more than $63 billion a year in lost productivity. You probably won’t lose so much money but it will surely cost you a lot if you don’t sleep enough during the night.
Secondly, you should get used to starting early each day. This is the period of the day when your mind is fresh and full of energy, so make use of it and do the difficult staff as early as possible. According to the analysis, employees do the hardest work between 9 AM and 12 PM, while productivity tends to decrease afterward.
As your energy level drops, you have to accept the fact that you need an occasional break. Take some rest whenever you feel like your mind is empty and unable to function properly. It doesn’t have to be a two-hour rest – 15 minutes is more than enough to keep you going again.
3. Delegate some duties to your employees
Perhaps you think that you can manage all duties by yourself on time but this is not a feasible strategy in the long run. No one is able to conduct all work alone and you need to rely on your employees if you want to see the business grow steadily.
You should delegate a significant portion of duties to the team members. This way, you will get a lot of responsibilities off your back but also build a group of reliable professionals around you. After all, they will report to you directly and you will keep an eye on them constantly, but the point remains that you have to utilize an entire workforce in the company.
Of course, you still get to do the most important tasks on your own. You will be in charge of the things that you consider the most difficult and delicate but the others will accept a fair share of responsibility, too. This is exactly the point of teamwork and the reason people keep saying that a chain is no stronger than its weakest link.
4. Avoid multitasking
Multitasking is your best chance to mess things up and waste a lot of time. No matter how big or small your current activity might be, make sure to complete it before switching to another one. Some studies even proved that shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40% of the worker’s productive time.
Always try to concentrate on one thing at the time, however minor it may seem. Namely, even the smallest and simplest things like writing emails or SMS messages can cause a big problem if you don’t pay attention to it. Just imagine sending a financial report to the wrong person and you will get my point immediately.
This is why you need to follow your work schedule and dedicate to each activity with full focus. And if you feel exhausted and unable to concentrate, bear in mind what I wrote earlier in this article: take a quick break and you will do just fine soon enough.
5. Determine priorities
The capability to distinguish between what is relevant and what is less important is one of the basic traits of a successful entrepreneur. It is also a focal point in time management. If you want to stay productive on a daily basis, you have to determine your priorities.
Some time management experts believe that it is good to divide all duties into four categories. For instance, you can do it like this:
- Urgent and crucial: These are the must-do tasks that you have to solve immediately. They have an absolute priority in this hierarchy.
- Crucial but not urgent: You should do such tasks as soon as possible but not instantly. They come as the second most important duty in your schedule.
- Urgent but not crucial: These are little goals that you want to achieve but it wouldn’t hurt you too much to neglect a few of them.
- Not urgent and not crucial: You probably don’t have too many of these but if you do, don’t hesitate to leave it to someone else from your team.
6. Don’t procrastinate
Procrastination is the biggest enemy of productivity in business nowadays. With all those means of communication, social networks, and the Internet in general, it is easy to lose focus and time, consequently. According to one study, more than a quarter of all employees are believed to be chronic procrastinators.
This is very dangerous if your business depends on time management – and it always does. Bearing it in mind, you have to stay away from social media during work. Don’t answer personal messages and stop checking out your favorite websites every once in a while. Fortunately, there are some digital tools that you could use in that regard.
You can download one of the anti-procrastination apps such as StayFocusd. As the app developers explained it, the goal of this tool is to increase your productivity by limiting the amount of time that you can spend on time-wasting websites.
Besides that, you should embrace a few anti-procrastination techniques. For instance, don’t look at your duties as a pile of tasks that takes 15 hours of work. Instead, focus on each task individually and solve them one by one. With this type of work, you will soon realize that the pile is getting smaller quickly.
At the same time, you can promise yourself a reward when the job is done. Most people do their best when they have a clear goal in mind and you can avoid procrastination thinking about the prize that comes with some great work.
Sometimes it helps to change your work space – simply go to the bookstore or a coffee shop to break the routine. You can also remove everything that distracts you from the office, things like the ticking clock or a disturbing yellow poster from the wall. Do whatever makes you feel more relaxed and comfortable and you will overcome the hurdle of procrastination.
7. Stay healthy
The last tip on my list is also the most important: you need to stay healthy because it is the basic precondition of time management. If you behave responsibly, you can minimize the potential even for the little and most casual illnesses.
First of all, you need to eat healthy food with a lot of fruits and vegetables. Don’t burden your body with too much red meat and try to replace it with fish dishes whenever possible. At the same time, you should have four to six smaller meals throughout the day instead of one or two large portions.
Besides food, it is crucial to exercise at least two or three days a week. All it takes to stay physically fresh is to run for a few miles. But if you don’t enjoy jogging, you can always try with tennis lessons, cross fit training, or even yoga. All these activities are very good for your health and they can save you tons of time in the long run.
Time management is an essence of successful business nowadays. With so many duties in your daily schedule, you need to learn how to prioritize and handle the most important tasks in a timely manner. This is why I described 7 ways to make time played on your side. Keep these suggestions in mind and let me know in comments if you have more useful suggestions to share with other readers.