Time is of the essence, especially for business owners. It can often feel like there are never enough hours in the week to cram everything in, which is where a good time management strategy is essential.

Follow our 7 tips for effective time management to ensure that your business is running smoothly.

1. Plan Ahead

It’s like to the old saying ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail’ and it may seem obvious, but devising a daily or weekly plan really is the key to success in business.  Whether you write down a list of tasks to be completed for the day or by the end of the week, or whether you schedule everything in your diary/calendar look at everything you need to achieve within that week or month.  Also look at what you need to complete yourself and what tasks you need to delegate or outsource.

2. Prioritise your workload

Look at your list of tasks to be completed and prioritise the tasks.  When looking at your tasks you will find that they fall into 1 of 4 categories: (1) Urgent and Important, (2) Important but Not Urgent, (3) Urgent but Not Important or (4) No Important or Urgent.  You may find that you are working largely on those tasks in the first box and these tasks will demand your immediate attention.  However, over time aim to reduce the tasks in this box and work in the second box where you are working on tasks in good time so they are not yet urgent.  Different tasks may have to be carried out to complete one larger project, and therefore, you should also prioritise these.

3. Keep to deadlines

Be realistic about how long a task should take, schedule in that time and stick to it.  If you are doing something for the first time, overestimate how long it will take.  It is better to give yourself more time that you need, finish early and have time to take a short break or start something else.  If you go over the time allocated, look at why this happened?  Were you unrealistic when considering how long it would take and as a result you gave yourself an insufficient period of time to complete it?  Or should it have been completed in that time because you were procrastinating or along phone call and emails to get in the way?  If it is the latter, what you are you going to put in place to make sure this doesn’t happen in the future.

4. Schedule deadlines and appointments

Make sure that you are noting down all deadlines and appointments. If you are finding that you are working too much and neglecting yourself, your family or friends, why not schedule some time to do something for yourself or spend time with friends and family?

Also use email or mobile phone reminders to ensure you keep to your schedule.  Missing a deadline can set back every project and task you have in your plan.  If appointments or client deadlines are missed, could have a detrimental effect on your business and the good reputation you have taken so long to build.

5. Productivity Levels

Determine when you are at your most productive in the day. If you can identify when your motivation to work is highest, this is when you should try to complete your highest priority, complex or lengthy tasks. Many people feel more productive first thing in the morning but lag slightly in the middle of the day. Others work better in the evenings. Determine when you are at your best and use this to your advantage.

6. Keep time free

Keeping some time free in your schedule where you will not be working on anything can allow for any unexpected circumstances. You may have to take an unplanned phone call, speak to an employee or you may even be given another task to complete at short notice. You should be ready for anything and having some free time will allow you to deal with unplanned events.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you are struggling and feel that you need a little more support that the 6 tips above provide, seek support from a mentoring or business coach. As they are wholly objective they can help you to identify areas that you are unable to see yourself. They can also provide that much needed accountability partner to keep you on track until you get into the swing of a new way of working and great those much needed good habits.

If you would like to discuss how Delphinium Business Coaching can provide you with time management coaching skills to help your business become a success, contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

Gemma Rolstone

Gemma Rolstone

Helping good managers to become great leaders