Time is a finite resource. Those who use it better get to do more in a single workday. As a small business owner, you’ll often face a situation where your days seem too short. Even if you didn’t have to sleep, it’s questionable whether you would do everything you planned in just 24 hours.
However, this is just your impression. The truth is that you have plenty of time if you use it right. Here are some time-management tips to help you achieve this.
Hours and work hours are not the same things. Two people working for an hour are two work hours. You can speed up the process by getting more people on certain tasks.
Just make sure to keep in mind that time efficiency is not always linear. Two people on the same task can be faster than 100%. If they’re performing parts of the same task, the increase in speed can be huge.
In practice, you also need to account for proficiency. Someone is better at a specific task, meaning they perform it faster with the same accuracy rate. This is why delegating tasks takes so much skill. Also, if you let specific team members specialize, the performance difference will be even greater.
The problem with this is that specialized employees are harder to replace. If a specialist takes a sick day, productivity will take a more significant bump than if a random employee took a day off.
By delegating, you can also focus on more pressing matters. For instance, you can outsource tasks to virtual assistants and spend more time working on your core assignments.
- Don’t waste time
Without a proper structure, you will always waste time. Fortunately, there are a few ways to help you avoid doing so. First of all, you need to learn how to make a schedule. Even if you deviate from it a bit, you’ll make progress in the right direction.
Second, you need to learn how to prioritize. What if you can’t really do all on your schedule? Some days are just slower than others. You need to know which tasks are must-do. This way, you’ll make great progress if you do just them.
Another great trick is that you start with the harder tasks. There’s no easier way to procrastinate than to invent smaller tasks to postpone hard work. This is one of the most common time-wasting practices out there.
Lastly, you need to be realistic about your possibilities. Setting the bar too high will always leave you demoralized. This will also reduce the chance that you will perform well tomorrow. Also, try not to cheat. This is your personal schedule, and deluding yourself that you’ve done more than you have led to nothing good.
- Don’t multitask
Multitasking sounds like an amazing idea. After all, you’re doing two or more things simultaneously. The problem is that you’re taking the focus off both of these tasks. This makes mistakes more likely, and time efficiency is less than you think.
When working on two tasks, you’re not 50/50 present in both of them. It’s not like if you did one one-hour and another one-hour task, you would be done in two hours. Switching from one task to another is exhausting and more time-consuming than you think. It also increases the likelihood of distraction and causes a mental blockade.
While some see getting dual monitors as similar, nothing can be further from the truth. If anything, dual monitors prevent you from switching from one tab/material to another. According to some estimates, adding a new monitor boosts your productivity.
Lastly, multi-tasking is not great for your mental health. So, it might come with a toll in the long run.
Focus on one thing at a time, and you’ll be done more quickly and with a more impressive result.
- Use tools and apps
There are instances in which the biggest problem actually comes from the lack of transparency. It would be much easier to save time if you knew exactly how you’re wasting it. A time-management app can notify you when you’re spending too much time doing a specific task and even send a warning as a notification.
In some enterprises, remote team management apps are used by the manager/employer to check the performance of their staff members. After all, idling on company time is a form of corporate time theft.
Previously, we’ve talked about scheduling. This can become a lot easier with the right app or tool.
- Get some rest too
Rest is not a waste of time, especially if you do it right. A timely break will make a world of difference in your productivity. The problem can come from the fact that you may use breaks to procrastinate.
One of the best examples of how and why breaks are important is the concept of intermittent work. The Pomodoro Technique, for instance, is a method where you work for 25 minutes and rest for 5. Every fourth break is a bit longer (15 minutes).
The thing is that by having scheduled breaks, you have a better-structured work day. For instance, you work and notice you’ve gotten a DM on your Instagram. Instead of opening it immediately, you know your next break is seven minutes from now. In that scenario, you power through your work and wait for the break.
From a medical standpoint, a break is needed for your focus and cognitive power to recover. By taking regular breaks, you avoid getting burned out, which means your productivity will remain at its peak for much longer.
You need to find a way to delegate and make schedules. This will allow you to spend time working on tasks where you are most impactful, as well as avoid procrastination and burnout. The key to making a balanced schedule is being realistic about how much work is too much and never setting a bar so high that you can’t reach it. This way, you’ll always be on track, and your subjective impression will be that your day really lasts longer.