and your sanity
Many business owners struggle with time management. This is especially true with those who are just starting out, or even for those like Tommy Mello who have so much on their plate time really becomes the enemy.
In this article I am going to discuss some of the top tips out there to better your time management, pinpoint some of the best tools on the market to use for time management, and explain why being able to manage our time wisely will save your business.
Many writers have provided evidence on the internet that time management is the key to controlling your success. There are 6 recurring concepts that I would like to share with you others have found to be valuable in this area.
- Make sure that everything you are doing is for your business during the time you have allotted for your business or working hours. If the task you are working on is not for the betterment of your business or considered a time waster, or even something that can be delegated to someone other than yourself, attend to that first. You are the business owner, and in all reality should only be handling what you need to. Remember you have employees who have been trained to handle their own tasks and operations set to keep them accountable.
- Identify your attention span when it comes to business. This may sound childlike, but hear me out. Follow your train of thought when completing a task for your business that you despise or are uninterested in. It should be a task after step one that you yourself must complete. Set a timer, work on the task, and watch how long your attention stays focused without being forced on this task. Once you have that time, 20 minutes, 25 minutes, or more, use that as the starting point. Take this amount of time, and set a timer or just watch the clock. Every 20, 25, or more minutes take a 5-10 min break and do something simple that you love. It can be to browse the web for a new vacation spot, read a few pages in a book, take a short walk, talk to a loved one, etc. Just make sure that it is something different and you only take that 5-10 minutes and return to what you were working on. Keep doing this every 20, 25, or more minutes throughout your day. You can retest your attention at a later date and adjust accordingly.
- Do not improvise. Set a schedule and stick to it. I received some amazing advice recently. I was told to take all of the immovable items, the Dr appointments, the meetings, the deadlines, and apply them first to my schedule for the week. Next apply the times that I am willing to put towards my job, my work hours. Scheduling time with your family and ensuring that you actually get to live your life is very important. What time you are left with is your “free flow” time. This is the time that you can work on all of the other parts of your business or have open to focus on any other items not already scheduled. Creating your schedule this way will make sure that you always complete those tasks that need to be completed on time while still leaving you time that is flexible. If you have a big project to accomplish, figure out how many hours it will take on your part to accomplish. Take that time and divide it between the
amountof days you have to complete it. This will allow you to spend a small amount of time on it over a number of days making it easier to keep focused but not letting it take over everything.
- Do not multitask. Studies have shown that while multitasking seems to help you accomplish more in a shorter time, do not do it. Multitasking causes more stress while keeping you from being able to give each of the tasks your full attention. This goes back again to number 2. If you find you can only keep your focus for 30 minutes and hate meetings, schedule that meeting to only last 30 minutes. If it needs to run longer or you have more to discuss, break it up into two or more meetings over a few days or different meetings within the same day. If having a very long meeting is unavoidable, have the meeting in a room that allows you to walk around while still being able to focus. If you still find yourself trying to multitask, write on a piece of paper the tasks you are combining and find a way to merge them as one thing if possible, otherwise move your focus solely to one task and schedule the other (if it is important) to another time slot.
- Enhance your organizational skills. This step you can either do yourself or have your assistant do for you. Having an organized work place is very important. When physical space is organized, it leads to organized mental space and more efficiency at work. Go through your office or work area and mark all that you actually use on a daily basis. Things you need while working on the computer place closer to the computer, items used more at the desk place on the desk, etc. Color code things that go together, properly label files and organize your books. Take things away that are distractions and only add clutter. Add a few pictures or knickknacks that may make it feel more comfortable. After all of this is accomplished, your work area will be much more conducive to focus and efficient workflow.
One study found that 43% of Americans count themselves as among the unorganized, and stay late at the office twice a week as a result.—
- Some of you may have heard of the 80/20 rule. This relates back to number one. Make sure that you determine what is actually important and is not just being used as a time filler. If it isn’t relevant and isn’t urgent, toss it out.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower once famously said, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” 80% of results come from 20% of the
Two facts I would like to add to the 6 concepts above are trying to use automation whenever possible, technology is always changing, and learn balance.
According to a study in McKinsey Quarterly, the majority of managers who are dissatisfied with their time management skills have one thing in common: a lack of balance.
The top 5 time management tools for our business are:
- Trello: most popular project management tools that
allowsyou to create projects, tasks, have centralized conversations with your team,and schedule the deadlines
- Wunderlist: a task management app that can be used for both personal and professional prioritization that allows you to collaborate on tasks with others while managing your projects; as a personal app it allows you to schedule events, make grocery lists, and set reminders.
- Unlike other project management tools, it is designed to tick off the tasks as you schedule them with dates and deadlines.
- Harvest: one of the best time tracking apps for teams and individuals that
helpsyou schedule your projects and track time on completion with many other features
- GSuite: the collection of Google apps specifically designed for businesses from Gmail for business and Google Calendar to apps like Google Keep, you can integrate them all together for seamless productivity
- Focus Booster: this tool would work well with those of you attempting number 2 on the list above. In short, you set a task, a timer, and work in blocks of time (set to that above 20, 25 min or more). This tool is among the best apps to manage that. You can even look back over your day and see what you have accomplished and what still needs work.
The values and work ethic displayed by a company's decision makers have a direct influence on company culture, and many times, on a business' profitability.
Good time management is more crucial to your business than you may think.
Taking the steps above, or any for that matter, to better your time management is vital to the survival and proper growth of your company. If you are all over the place, your business will be as well. If you are focused and heading in the direction of your end goal, your business will be as well. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get on top of your time management skills, implement new tactics, and gain control of your own schedule NOW.
Good time management also means that a business is able to solve problems that arise without it significantly impacting day-to-day operations.
Time management is the key to efficient working. Take control and move forward.
For more great advice from many of the Home Service Industry’s finest, head over to Tommy Mello’s podcast at: