15 Time Management Hacks for Small Business Owners
Time is money. You’ve heard it a million times and it’s still true now. Time management truly is your most precious commodity. However, as a small business owner you never seem to have enough. Would it shock you to learn that you do? That you have just as much time as anyone else? That you have as much time as your competitor—who is out there killing it?
When it feels like you don’t have enough time to get everything done, what’s really happening is you’re failing to make effective use of the time you have.
These 15 time hacks for small business owners while help you make the most of every hour you’re given and turn that time you’ve lost into the money you know you need.
- Make a To-Do List
It seems a bit foolish in a modern tech-driven world to hold onto an old paper to-do list but keeping a physical copy of all your tasks will inevitably help you manage your time more effectively. Why not use your mobile device? Tech gadgets can be (and often are) distractions. Maybe you’re checking off an item you’ve done when you get a text message or a Facebook notification. Next thing you know you’ve spent 20 valuable minutes looking at photos of your friends and family’s food.
- Prioritize that List
It’s not enough just to have a list. You need to prioritize the items on that list so you know what needs to get done first. Many times small business owners fall into the trap of accomplishing all the easy things on their to-do list first. It’s great that you’ve got those tasks done but do you still have time to do those harder (and possibly more important) tasks you’ve put off until now?
- Set Deadlines (and Stick to Them)
Hard deadlines will help you avoid allowing tasks to drag and suck up your valuable time. Reached your deadline and the task still isn’t done? Reevaluate how important it is and if it’s not essential move on to the next item on your list.
- Delegate (When You Can)
You can’t do everything yourself. That’s a hard truth to learn when you’re just building your business from the ground up but it’s an essential one. You need to know what (and when) you can pass off to someone else in order to free up your time for more important things.
- Organize Your Workspace
Clutter kills productivity. It’s worth the time to organize your workspace—whether it’s a home office or the front seat of your car. Toss out everything that’s not essential and give everything you need a home.
- Refine Your Infrastructure
Similar to organizing your workspace, organizing your small business infrastructure will help your team work more effectively. This reorganization includes team members, job titles and positions, as well as the software you’re currently using. Any upgrades you make here (like downloading the SendWork project manager app) will pay for themselves. Just don’t get distracted by shiny things that keep you perpetually upgrading and failing to actually accomplish anything.
- Avoid “Multitasking”
Multitasking is a myth. When you try to do two (or more) things at once all you’re really doing is halving the effort you’re putting into one task. Accomplish one thing and move on to the next.
- Streamline Backend Tasks
Automate as much of your bookkeeping as you can. SendWork lets you streamline time tracking, billing and invoicing, communication, and project management all with a few pushes of buttons. Don’t give your backend more time than it warrants.
- Create a Regular Schedule
Your brain (and body) craves routine. While small business owners have the freedom to create their own schedules and work around life and family obligations, the more you can stick to a steady schedule, the more you’ll be able to get done in a day.
- Don’t Procrastinate
Procrastination is insidious. Don’t succumb to its siren call. Start your to-do list now and don’t put tasks off until tomorrow.
- Schedule Breaks
Breaks are essential. They let you recharge physically and mentally. Working full-tilt for too long with harm your productivity and decrease the quality (and quantity) of the work you’re putting in.
- Know When Good Enough is Good Enough
Don’t allow perfectionism to sideline your workflow. Sometimes good enough really is good enough. Learning when to put the lid on a task will help you stay on track and keep from throwing time away on minute improvements.
- Start Early
The early bird might get the worm but if you start your workday early you can maximize the amount of time you have to dedicate to each task. Plus, if you’re working with other people (employees, contractors, service providers, etc.), you can get in touch with them before other clients and customers so your tasks are always first on the list.
- Do the Hardest Tasks First
Getting the big jobs out of the way first will help you streamline your workflow. Plus, it’s these tasks that are likely to require unplanned for resources (and time) so you can adjust your schedule and time management accordingly.
- Monitor Your Progress (and Tweak)
Any system can be improved. Actively monitor your workflow and constantly look for ways to improve your productivity. Don’t be afraid to change things that aren’t working or look for new tools to help you make the most of your time.