Time Management Skills: Allocation of Time and How to Honour It
Aug 19, 2020
Time is the perceived enemy of most small business owners. The fear of ‘not enough time’ to complete tasks can lead to a feeling of overwhelm which, in turn, creates higher stress levels for owners, staff and customers.
Improving your time management practices will result in:
- Reduced stress levels
- Increased professionalism
- Less procrastination
- Improved workflow efficiencies
- Better quality work
- Deadlines met
- A better work/life balance
Discipline is the key to creating effective time management strategies for your business. While this, in itself, can feel daunting, it’s worth making the effort to recognise old habits and create new ones that will better serve both you, and your business.
Follow these seven basic steps to improve your time management skills
- Be realistic with your time allocation. No-one can do five days’ work in one, so assess your projects and commitments, then create a manageable schedule for each day. Communicate your plan with staff and clients so that expectations on both sides are clear, and advise if anything changes that may delay completion.
- Focus on completing small ‘pieces of pie’. Think about it - eating an entire pie will be daunting and make you feel sick… so start with small pieces at a time. Break down larger projects into smaller ‘bite size’ pieces and steadily work your way through then until the project is completed. Recognise your achievements as you go.
- Honour the time you have allocated. It’s easy to set times in our calendars, but doing the work is the most important part of the process.
- Allocate the time in short sharp bursts. This is cool, handy and actually works! Known as the Pomodoro Technique, it basically involves working for 25 minutes, and then taking a five minute break between tasks to rejuvenate. Give it a go – it is a highly effective tool to maintain focus.
- Remove distractions. During the short, sharp allocated 25-minute bursts of time, turn off your phone and other electronic alerts. Where possible, make your family or work colleagues aware that you are not to be disturbed during these times.
- Lighten the load by clearing out smaller tasks. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, set aside time to complete those small, niggly tasks that pile up when you’re not looking. They may seem insignificant but they can certainly add to your stress levels. Keep taking those small bites and tick them off your to-do list as you go.
- Set a time to check your email. It’s very easy to lose time and focus when reading and responding to emails, so allocate specific times to do those jobs. Then forget about them while you are focussed on completing other tasks. If you will be spending significant time away from your email, set a simple ‘Out of Office’ response to let people know when to expect your ‘return’.
Working through these steps of effective time allocation will help you develop a healthier time management routine. While they may sound simple, putting them into practise will help relieve the overwhelming feeling of ‘not enough time’ and will significantly improve your business practices and productivity.