Did you know that on average, an owner of a startup or small business will work between 60-80 hours a week? Even with that amount of time, business owners are consistently saying they need more time during the week. And because time is such an issue, owners will tend to do the more "fun" things first, often times forgetting the more "boring" important things. As a leader in your business, you must manage your time better and allow yourself opportunity to do the important strategic objectives. So how do you free up time and manage your day better as a business owner?
1. Identify Your Time Wasters
Have you ever made a list of all the things that you waste time on during your day? Social media might be on your list, as well as TV or video games. Do you struggle with any of these time wasters?
- Being tired (too little or too much sleep)
- Waiting on people
- Talking on the phone
- Lack of motivation
- Interruptions at work
- Lose or misplace things
- Unclear goals
- Not keeping lists
The biggest time waster I see is procrastination. How often do you put off doing something just because you cannot bring yourself to sit down and do the task? And then that process snowballs and repeats itself over and over and over and over again. If you have identified procrastination as a time waster for you, try breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces. My favorite trick is to get the more difficult or boring tasks done the first thing when you walk into the office in the morning. Procrastination can kill so much of your time, but identifying it is the first step in the process to tackle this monster time waster.
2. Identify Your Time Savers
The best way to identify time savers are to think about the processes you have streamlined to get things done. This can be an email system, phone system, goal organization system, etc. Identify the things that you currently do that have you save time. But do NOT be content with the status quo; implement new time savers into your work environment and business. The best time savers are those processes that are solutions to your time wasters. Choose one time waster and think of one time saver solution. Once you have solved that problem, tackle the next time waster. This helps to not overwhelm you and it sets reasonable goals. Here are a few time saver tips:
- Complete difficult tasks during your most productive time
- Set priorities
- Keep lists, check and cross out items as you complete them
- Use a calendar and keep it in eye sight
- Reward yourself when you accomplish difficult tasks
- Learn to say no
- Ask for help from co-workers, family, or friends
- Be on time and be professional
Time is your most precious commodity as a business owner. With it, you can make strategic decisions that will directly impact the health and future of your company. Do not take this lightly; think long and hard about ways to free up time. Do not just free up time and replace it with another time waster. Remove the time wasters and replace them with time savers, and you will have saved yourself financial, moral, and physical headaches.