How To Manage Your Time Effectively As A Small Business Owner
Managing your time is a constant battle as a small business owner. You will be pulled in every direction by distractions, deadlines, and unforeseen challenges to overcome.
As a result, it can be challenging to stick to your daily schedule, stay consistently productive, and assign enough time to the essential tasks on your list. This can lead to problems further down the road as you approach a point of burnout, which could negatively affect the health of your business as a result.
Maintaining strong mental and physical health is essential regardless of your business, so it is crucial not only to manage your time well but reassign it to activities that can boost your energy levels and maintain a strong bill of health.
There are several different approaches you can take to manage your time effectively.
You could rely more heavily on automated software that can take the burden off day-to-day tasks like employee management, hire a virtual assistant to complete administrative jobs, or take a more fundamental approach and become stricter with your time in meetings, replying to emails, or answering phone calls.
Whichever method you use, you must ensure it blends into your existing routine as much as possible. Ruffling feathers and being too disruptive with a new schedule can upset the workflows of others and even insult business partners who feel you are less generous with your spare time.
This is how to manage your free time effectively as a small business owner:
Automate employee management
If you run a small business, then one of your most time-consuming daily duties is the management of your employees. While this is a core part of your role and shouldn’t be avoided altogether, there are certain tools you can implement which will make your life considerably more manageable.
You could, for instance, start using automated timesheet software, which helps you manage everything from payments to the length of an employee’s break period. This saves you from having to spend hours glued to spreadsheets, physically requesting information from employees, or having to dive into complicated databases to manage the payroll.
This software’s usefulness is added to the importance of employing remote workers. Trying to ascertain when certain employees are working and when they clock off is virtually impossible if they don’t stick to a 9-5, so the software allows them to input their specific working hours.
It sounds simple but being stricter with your time can make it far easier to stick to your schedule and reduce unnecessary stress.
Making it clear to colleagues, contractors, and other regular points of contact that you only have a specific window of free time (and nothing more) will help prevent distractions or overly long conversations from derailing your day.
This doesn’t mean you should be rude, but you should demonstrate your seriousness by politely cutting conversations short, holding standing meetings, only answering phone calls during certain hours, or delegating tasks to others.
If you were to dissect your days minute by minute, you would be shocked by the amount of time wasted engaging in small talk or other unnecessary chatter in meetings, on the phone, or when bumping into colleagues in the corridor.
While it is only human to want to catch up with those you work with, you are not there to be your employee’s friend as a business owner. You can overcome this issue by setting a clear target for each meeting and jumping into conversations whenever your team is veering significantly off-topic.
Hire a virtual assistant
If you struggle to process your mountain of admin tasks daily, it might be time to hire a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant fulfills the same role as a personal assistant but works remotely (you often never meet a virtual assistant in person). This makes it easier to delegate tasks even when you are on the move.
Unless you are the only person who is allowed clearance to private data, many of your daily tasks (such as managing meetings, appointments, arranging deliveries, or delivering payments to employees) can be completed by someone else.
While you may be hesitant to pay for an additional person’s salary, you could make the money back twice over if you have more free time to consider corporate strategy, set accurate team targets, or reach out to potential investors.
Whether you hire an assistant or not, you will still have to find time to chair meetings, interact with your team, reply to important emails or make phone calls. This is unavoidable, but it won’t take up much time so long as you are disciplined with your schedule.
Set aside time every day for these tasks, being realistic with the amount of time they are likely to take. You will find that once you have a specific window to complete these jobs, you will still have a surplus of available time during the working day.
Of course, you may have to stray over this allotted time every now and then, but if you stick to a rough time limit, you will find it far easier to avoid procrastinating or being tied down to a specific conversation for longer than is necessary.
Manage time effectively as a small business owner: allocate your time based on priority
The best way to create an efficient schedule is to order it based on what is a priority. By doing this, you almost always ensure that the most important few tasks are completed every day and make the most productive use of your time.
There will inevitably be delays, unexpected obstacles, and emergencies that crop up during a day, but if you start by completing your most urgent jobs, the rest of your day can be much more flexible.