We received another question this week via our Business Advice Clinic from Gina Marie Sierra-Scacalossi, who asked:
“Do you have any advice on time management? How I can manage my time and get more done. When there’s a million things to do it’s easy to just focus on the tasks that interest me, rather than other important tasks (like marketing, business development etc) that I should be working on. I keep trying to improve my workflow so I get to everything, but I almost always drop the ball when it comes to certain aspects of the business.”
This is a common problem for entrepreneurs, especially for those that work by themselves, as they are unable to delegate or share their to-do-list. There is so much that needs to be done, but at the end of the day you can be left wondering what you’ve actually spent the last 8 hours doing, because the things that you had planned on doing, have not been done. Then you start feeling overwhelmed and like you’re not making any progress or driving your business forward. We’ve all been there.
There are 3 tips that we have learnt to help us get more out of our day. We hope you also find them useful.
Get clear about what’s holding you back. A good way to do this is to make a note of what you are doing every hour throughout the day and how long you have spent on each task. Big time sucks are answering emails, surfing the web, and spending lots of time working on the things you enjoy doing – the problem with this being you end up working in your business and not on your business. If you want to grow your business it’s important to learn how to manage yourself better and balance the ‘doing’ part with the ‘leading’ part.
Recognise where your time is being lost and look at ways you can manage this. For example, the world isn’t going to crumble if you don’t answer emails as soon as they come in. Close down your email so you won’t get distracted from incoming messages and only respond to them at the end of the day. Schedule your calls for first thing in the morning and schedule all of your business meetings on say a Monday, so that you are only out of the office for one day.
From your Facebook page I see you run a photography business and have a small studio open by appointment only. Perhaps this means you could schedule your photography work over 4 days of the week, answering emails and doing any paperwork in the evenings, then schedule two days a week where you are just focusing on the business side of things.
Make a plan of what you want to achieve at the beginning of each week as well as writing a priority list of things that need to get done at the start of each day, numbering them in order of importance. Then try to qualify them to determine exactly how important they are and if you really need to do them. Figure out how much time you think you realistically need to allocate to each task then create a schedule and stick it on your wall. Get the most important tasks done first then work through your list in order. Throughout the day make sure you are working to your schedule and side track anything else. At the end of each day tick off everything you have accomplished and look to see if anything needs to be moved over to the following day – although anything carried over should be top of your priority list the next day.
Give yourself time off to relax, potter and do the things you enjoy – give yourself at least one full day off to go and reconnect with what energises and fulfils you.
You may also like to read our other Business Advice Clinic features:
If you would like help with a business problem, all you have to do is ‘Like’ our Facebook page then post your question within our comments. Each week our experts will choose one person to help and will respond by posting their advice on our website the following Wednesday.