3 key time management tactics

Effective time management is a key to success for all entrepreneurs


Background

In a multimedia world we are all expected to be able to respond faster and handle more responsibilities than ever before. None of us are much more than a push of a button away and while advances in IT can lead to increased productivity it can also lead to an increase in distractions as a constant deluge of emails and phone call can pull us away from focusing on our goals. Entrepreneurs need to be good time managers or they risk losing sight of what is important, working the clock or even failure. Thankfully good time management is not some high art form which is unfathomable to the average man. It is a logical but personalised method which can be understood and practiced by anyone.

The To Do List

Never go to bed without knowing what you are doing the next day is a maxim that many successful entrepreneurs would adhere to. A simple ‘to do’ list for your day is a basic but good way or setting daily goals be it recorded on a desk diary, outlook calendar or PDA. Key to compiling your list is to make sure it is comprised of things which you can actually get done that day. Bigger over-arching aims need to be broken up into smaller manageable tasks. For instance, the goal of ‘hire new accountant’ could include the following tasks: write job ad, speak to recruitment consultant, first interviews, second interview, check references and make offer. Obviously, all of these tasks couldn’t be fitted into one day, but by breaking them up into manageable tasks you can plan more efficiently and make step-by-step progress.

Prioritising

There are two types of priority: urgent and important. Urgent things need to be done now, important things must be done well but can wait. Of course, things which are both should be placed at the top of your list. Work on the urgent things until there are none left and then set about the important stuff and you’ll find your time management really improves.  

Avoiding distractions

Be assertive in how you deal with those who distract you but never rude. There’s a reason we have out of email out of office assistants and voicemail, so use them when you want to focus on an urgent or important task. Some business managers loath the idea of not answering the phone straight away as they imagine business will go elsewhere if they don’t. However, it is more likely that you will retain business if you grow your company in a way which prioritises on what is urgent and important.

Tips for time management

Always plan your ‘to do list’ at the same time each day – it isn’t important when but using the same time helps instil a sense of method about it.

Find a method that makes sense to you. Some people use numbers, others use symbols, it doesn’t matter as long as you understand it. The simplest methods are typically the best.

Delegate where possible – you’re the boss, so give them something to do.

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