Learn 7 practical ways to effectively manage your time as a small business owner, and discover how relying on others is an essential part of the process.
Dec 22, 2020
6 min read
Dec 22, 2020
6 min read
“I wish I knew that a healthy work-life balance stems from always prioritizing time management and staying organized” -Stephanie Fatta Founder, Beauty Brite
The Oxford Dictionary defines time management as “the ability to use one’s time effectively or productively, especially at work.”
Denotatively, time management is vital to an efficient and constructive work experience. For small business owners especially, this concept is often a lot easier said than done.
Whether you’re just getting your business off the ground or are in the scaling stage, having a good grasp of proper time management will undoubtedly serve you well.
To help you out, here are seven pointers for effectively planning, organizing, and managing your work life.
1. Delegate, Delegate, and Delegate
Your business is your baby. You’ve been with it since its creation and have nurtured it into the success it is today.
It’s no wonder why sharing this responsibility is a hard thing to do. It’s also one of the most important factors of effective time management.
Being a great leader—and business owner—involves delegating responsibilities and tasks to those you work with, and having the confidence that they’ll be successful. Not only does this foster a more confident team and positive work environment, but it allows your business to grow.
If you’re struggling to decide which tasks to delegate, try using the 70% method as a common rule of thumb; delegate tasks to a team member when you believe they’ll be able to accomplish it at least 70% as well as you can.
Remember, running a business isn’t about perfection—it’s about progress, and delegation helps you get there.
2. Befriend To-Do Lists
To-do lists have stood the test of time—for good reason. Psychologically speaking, to-do lists help us feel better about the work we’ve accomplished while easing the stress of upcoming tasks.
Checking off a completed item allows you to visualize your progress. You’re actively getting things done and can easily see what to focus on next.
Your To-Do List:
Acknowledge that lists help me remember upcoming assignments.
Write a to-do list today because it helps me create a plan and stick to it.
Prioritize my duties by organizing them into my list.
To-do lists are also extremely easy to implement. Use an app, desktop software, or simply a piece of paper to get yourself going.
3. Factor in Breaks
We take work breaks for the same reason we sleep at night: to recharge. People are less stressed and more efficient when they allot time for breaks throughout the day.
Having good time management skills involves recognizing that breaks allow a person to be more productive, rather than less productive, which many falsely assume.
Breaks should be factored into your day-to-day. Try not to skip them.
Blocking off 10-15 minutes in your daily schedule.
Investing in your physical health by exercising a few times a week.
Doing something you love during your breaks.
4. Work at Work, Not at Home
“Setting boundaries is vital to being productive and making the most of working from home” -Ahmed Mir Founder, Sip Coffee House
Perhaps the greatest entrepreneurial fallacy is that people need to work all hours of the day to start or run a business.
In reality, bringing a lot of work home can prove detrimental to your mental health, family life, and business. Here are a few reasons why:
At-home work isn’t a bad thing. In fact, many people are doing it now and proving wildly successful.
Just remember, it’s important to set boundaries and manage your time appropriately to account for downtime and personal affairs.
5. Write Things Down
How many times have you thought of a great idea or an important task and said “I’ll remember that,” only to later forget?
Probably many times—we all do it.
That being said, the fifth tip for practicing good time management is to write things down. Whether you’re an avid fan of to-do lists or enjoy journaling your thoughts, writing things down is incredibly beneficial.
Try investing in a digital or physical planner or notebook to help you organize and keep track of all that you have going on.
6. Prioritize Your Tasks and Commit to Them
Decide what’s most important and get it done first. Sounds easy, right?
If it was that easy to do, it probably wouldn’t be a reminder on this list. What many small business owners struggle with is first deciding what is most important.
Start by working off of due dates. Time is usually a constraint with work tasks, so when deciding what to work on first, it helps to figure out what needs to be finished first.
Another way to prioritize is based on project importance. If a large assignment isn’t due for a while, but is a significant task, it should be prioritized. (Note: this is where proper planning comes into play. Allot a little bit of time each day to chip away at it.)
Another trick is to ask yourself, “If I was only allowed to work on one of these tasks for the rest of the day, which would it be?” This will help you narrow your list down to one, two, or maybe a few items.
Lastly, remember to commit to your tasks. You’ll prove a lot more productive—and feel a larger sense of accomplishment—if you finish what you set out to complete on a given day.
7. Make Time for People
This tip applies to in-office and out-of-office experiences.
You’re an entrepreneur, not a one-man band. In other words, you can’t do it all alone! Making time for those you work with goes a long way. It gives you an opportunity to teach others, learn from them, and strike up a positive company culture.
Work’s more impactful with a team you enjoy working with and can confidently rely on.
Meanwhile, it’s also important to make time for people outside of work. Family and friends will surely be there through your entrepreneurial highs and lows, but they’re also there to keep you grounded.
Spending personal time with others is a crucial part of time management that will make you more relaxed and well balanced. After all, a happy entrepreneur makes for a successful small business!