By Stephanie Evans, Virtual Moneypenny
Everyone’s idea of the best use of their time is different, however regardless of industry, most small to medium sized businesses have the same goals and challenges. For example, when first starting out, you need to do pretty much everything from sales and marketing to accounts and admin. Therefore, pretty early on in building your business you will find good time management key to success.
Here are our top tips for being more productive and managing your time in the most effective way:
As with all successful processes, the key is in the planning. The easier a process looks, the more likely a lot of work has gone in to setting it up. Planning your time is no different. Keep a diary and ensure you’re realistic about what you can achieve. Similarly, block out time in your diary for content creation, business planning and exercise alongside appointments and calls. For instance, if you’re having an intro Zoom call, book it for half an hour. This will save any confusion, clarify expectations and save you time. Likewise, inviting meetings to be booked in specified meeting slots via a calendar, such as Calendly on your website means no to’ing and fro’ing on dates. Additionally, it leads your contact to where you want everyone to be – your website!
2. To Do List
Some sort of to do list is crucial in ensuring nothing gets forgotten. However, it’s equally important to be clear on what you intend to do with the list. For example, if you’re just going to add more and more tasks to the list and not tick anything off, the result will be only one thing – stress! There are so many programmes and apps to keep you on track with your tasks and projects such as Trello, Todoist, Slack and Asana, just try out a few and see what works best for you. Equally, if something pops in your head, write it down and let it leave your mind. Even at night, having a list by your bed to jot down a note can really reduce anxiety levels.
It’s crucial to prioritise every task on your to do list. For instance, if you have an ever-increasing list, just starting at the top doesn’t maximise productivity. Take a moment each day to be sensible about what is the most important task to get done. There’s a phrase, ‘eat the frog’ following the idea that if you get the worst task done early in the day, you don’t spend time thinking and stressing about it. However, it’s also critical to get that sales invoice done and submitted before you pore over some tricky content creation. So, it’s about using logic and being sensible too.
4. Stop Procrastination and Distraction
Procrastination is the worst thing for good time management. Thinking about all the reasons why you need to delay completing a task means you achieve nothing. Much better to fail at something, learn from it and do it again than do nothing at all! Similarly, another issue which can have a disastrous effect on time management is that of distraction. I love the term, ‘shiny things syndrome’, whereby you start a task and then get distracted by something completely different and it is very common. Those who suffer with this habit like to feel they’re multi-tasking but the truth is multi-tasking isn’t great for effective time management. Self-discipline with a good focus is the solution.
In order to ensure your tasks are done in the minimum amount of time and therefore at minimal cost, the art of delegation comes into its own. Delegating and outsourcing tasks such as bookkeeping, social media management, and other more administrative tasks is a great way to make sure you focus on what you do best. Working on your business to bring the money in whilst you delegate the more routine tasks is a great way to grow your business and keep on top of your time management.
Stephanie Evans offers freelance business support and set up Virtual Moneypenny in January 2019. Having started her career as a PA and subsequently worked for many years in marketing and business development, Stephanie takes great pride in making a real difference to business owners struggling with the amount of time spent on back-office tasks.