For a business owner, time management is closely related to project management and your project, is your business. In business, productivity is essential to growth and strong time management will directly increase your productivity. Effective time management also creates routines, which help manage the sheer volume of information you process on a daily basis.
So let’s not waste time and get straight down to the three best time management tips for increased productivity.
Time management tip 1: Make a list
The list is the ‘what’: what needs to be done today, tomorrow, next week and beyond.
For a business owner, making a list is where you plan and schedule your time. Creating a list makes you set goals and helps you feel less overwhelmed by breaking things into smaller, comprehensible units. Putting deadlines on a timeline can help you get an overview of the needs of your business and you can create your list from this map of deadlines.
Business coach David Guest says, “Time management demands that one knows exactly what needs to be done.”
The traditional way to make a list is to hand write it with pen on a piece of paper or notepad. In today’s world of keyboards and computer screens it’s an approach worth considering given you get to physically cross out or tick a task when you have finished it. This small ‘closure’ enables you to go onto the next task with a small sense of achievement.
Time management tip 2: Prioritise the list
Prioritising the list is putting tasks in order of importance.
David Guest explains making a list by saying that, “Time management does not necessarily mean how fast one can complete all the work but how quickly one can take care of the most important things first.”’ He also says making a list helps you eliminate tasks that don’t provide value to the business.
Alan Lakein, an early time management theorist, was an early advocate of ABC prioritisation. In his system ‘A’ is the most important tasks with A1 and so forth ranked from most to least important in the group. ‘B’ is the next important group and C is the least important tasks to be done. Another way to approach the ABC prioritisation is that ‘A’ are tasks to be done in a day, ‘B’ tasks to be done in a week and ‘C’ for tasks to be done in a month.
Time management tip 3: Adjust the list
Where necessary review and update the list according to the changing needs of the business. “There might be situations when something low on the list needs to be moved up,” advises Guest.
When drawing up your list, bear in mind that a list is not rigid map but a flexible document that responds to the needs of the business and should be reviewed on a regular basis.
A simple list is a modest but vital tool for a business owner. It will help you manage your time and the results in increased productivity will become quickly apparent. I’d say it was time to write that list.