In Part One of Starting Your Own Business, we talked about settling on a business idea and creating a plan of action. The next step is all about time management. Even with the best idea, a business can’t succeed if there’s no productivity. In this world of social media and ever expanding technology, it’s very easy to get distracted.
Managing your time properly is one of the most important aspects of any business plan. Efficiency, or in other words, getting more done in less time, is the main objective. (Remember, time is money!) As a blogger and entrepreneur, I’ve learned some valuable time management tips and tricks to help any new business.
5 Time Management Tips For Starting Your Own Business
1. Learn to be productive instead of busy
It’s important to learn the difference between just being busy and being productive. Being busy is measured by how long you work, and being productive is measured by the results you achieved in comparison to the overall amount of work. Just because you’re busy all day doesn’t mean you’ve accomplished anything.
Tricks of the trade: Follow the blog Time Management Ninja, which is all about effective time management strategies and career motivation.
2. Focus on the job at hand and stop multi-tasking
Many time management experts state that focusing on one task at a time will double productivity, output and overall performance. When you’re running a small business, this could mean the difference between success and failure. Discipline yourself to stop multi-tasking and focus on the work at hand, by setting a clock or timer. Put all of your energy and thought into the project, until time is up or it’s complete.
Tricks of the trade: Use an online countdown like E.ggTimer.com to keep track of your time.
3. Start each day with fresh goals and new to-do lists
Some people like to keep a running list of task and errands, but I prefer to start each day with a new list and new set of daily goals. This gives me motivation to complete more items on my checklist today, so I don’t have to put them on tomorrow’s to-do list. Break up your day into more attainable chunks, by setting goals for before lunch and after lunch, with the more important ones slated before lunch.
Tricks of the trade: Some experts believe it’s better to create a list the night before. That way you can start the next day fully prepared, rather than wasting time deciding which projects and tasks need attention.
4. Reduce the amount of interruptions and distractions
Limiting the amount of distractions can be difficult; there is always something that needs our attention. Don’t check your email until you’ve done your most important task of the day. I give myself two hours before I even look at my inbox, because once I do, my agenda is no longer my own. It’s all about answering emails, doing tasks others need and following up on projects.
Tricks of the trade: Close all social media and Internet browsers. You can also place a “limit” on the amount of Internet browsing by installing an extension plug-in.
5. Always use simple but effective accounting programs (for free)
As a small business accountant, one of the most time consuming things I’ve seen for business owners is the lack of proper accounting. Having the proper accounting program can save you a lot of extra money, but most importantly it can save you time and headaches.
Tricks of the trade: Use Outright Accounting, Wave Accounting or Freshbooks, all of which are free.