Time. We know how precious time is every day in our lives. We are always looking for more time in our day to meet the demands of running a small business. We always want to maximize the time we have in our day to be more productive as we never want to fall behind and have to play catch up. Our time is valuable to us and finding extra time to catch up is sometimes impossible. Just as running a business is a learning process year after year with growth, managing time is also a learning process. It is essential to learn new ways to manage our time so that we can be more productive.
We all run out of time. The New York Jets needed just a little bit more time and we could have beat the Steelers. We got late start and while we were extremely effective in the second half, the clock kept ticking and we missed some opportunities to score. In our business we do not look at the day ending as missing out on a chance to score, but more so missed opportunities to help someone, gain awareness, visibility, etc. While for the JETS the goal is to win every game, the goal of a business is to acquire new leads and convert them into customers. I do not meet many people who say that they were able to get everything done in a day that they really would have liked. There is always a blog to read, to write, a comment we want to make, answer a question on LinkedIn we want to answer, so we pretty much run out of time each day in what we really want to get done. Sure, we may accomplish all that is on our “to do” list but our list is endless.
1. Create an Activity Log. Write down each task/activity you perform and how much time you spend on the task. At the end of your work day, caculate how much time you spent on each task collectively.
2. Create Time Schedule. The activity log will give you the time spent so that you can create a time schedule. This is extremely important so that you can see how much time you are spending on email, twitter, LinkedIn, phone calls, etc and allot that time each day.
3. Determine Time vs Money Ratio. How much money do you make per minute? When you break it down to this level, you can see where how much you are losing on spending time on some tasks that are not the best use of time.,
4. Wasting Time. The activity log will provide show where you are wasting time. Make the most of your time by focusing your efforts on tasks that make sense and further your business goals.
5. Prioritize Each Day. No day is the same as the one before. We have to be able to easily adjust while not falling behind. The time schedule plays a big role here as we know how much time we need to account for to complete each task.
6. Avoid Multi-Tasking. We love to think that we are the best multi-taskers but we know really that we are not focusing on any of the tasks we are performing at the same time. Best bet, finish one so that you can give each your undivided attention to complete and move on to the next one.
7. Delegate/Outsource. This is hard sometimes but when we invest in our own time, it is beneficial. Training a staff member or sending the task out to someone who can complete it quickly only increases the time in your day.
8. Tools/Software. Is the software and/or tools that you are using the most productive for your business? Time matters as well as productivity. Are you keeping up with technology to ensure that you are the most productive?
9. Best Time of Day. What time of day is best for you to perform certain tasks? Look at that and schedule tasks in the time that is most comfortable and efficient for you.
10. Make Use of Dead Time. Dead time is the time we spend waiting. This is not to be ignored and treated as wasted time. Dead time is valuable time and we can get a lot done in just a few minutes … your activity log will show you that.
What has worked for you? What can you add to increase others’ productivity?