If you are an entrepreneur starting a business, it may seem as though there are not enough hours in the day to complete all of your tasks. To complicate matters even more, every second that ticks on a clock represents money. So, the question is, are you earning money in your business or wasting it?
Does that sound scary? Well it should. Per Microsoft, it was discovered that small business owners only used around 60% of their day actually completing tasks to improve their profit margin. This means that if they worked a standard five-day week, they were only working on their business three days out of five. Take that information and apply it to your small business. How would you feel if you only made money 60% of the time while working on your business?
In reality, it is quite simple to waste time when you own a small business. Unless you have a plan in place for how you will spend your work hours, the time will go by quickly. The good news is that there are several tips you can use for better time management.
The easiest thing that you can do is keep your work space organized. It can be challenging to manage your time when your work space is chaotic. Recent studies have shown that over 40% of Americans consider themselves to be unorganized. This inorganization leads to them remaining at work late, at least one night a week. The good news is that there is something that can be done to eliminate it.
Organize Your Space
Experts agree the first step a person can take to increase productivity and time management is organize and clear the space. You should remove anything that is unnecessary. After that, you can devise a system for the items that you need.
For example, you can use color coded folders to organize paperwork. A certain colored folder can be used for paperwork that is urgent, and another colored folder can be used for items that can wait until later.
There are also devices and software that you can use to make your space clutter free. A scanner can be used to make copies of important documents, and you can install voice recognition software on your laptop instead of using a traditional tape recorder for dictation.
You will need to not only organize your space, you will also need to organize your time. There are several online tools you can use for time management, or you can use a traditional tool like an egg timer that can alert you when time is up. If you are competitive, it may actually be fun for you to see if you can complete a task before time is over.
Do Not Check Your EmailThis may be easier said than done, especially if you are used to checking your email every 10 minutes. However, if you calculate the time you spend checking your emails and sending replies, you will see how much of your time you waste doing that one task every day.
You do not have to be tied to your email. Instead, make your email box conform to the time constraints of your business. Set two time periods aside every day to check your email. During this time, you will also respond to emails and delete those that you do not want to keep.
This will take some motivation and discipline on your part. However, you will be able to focus on other important tasks that may not have otherwise been completed if you checked your email several times a day.
If someone has an issue with your delayed email responses, simply explain to them your system and those are the hours that you respond to email messages. You can also set up autoresponders to inform people how long it will take for you to respond to their email.
Stop MultitaskingAlthough it may seem like you could get more accomplished by multitasking, research has shown that less than 3% of small business owners can effectively multitask and complete multiple goals during the day. Other research has shown that an individual’s IQ can drop several points when they are overstimulated.
When you focus on one activity at a time, you will increase work performance, productivity and output. As a small business owner, this can mean the difference between a successful business and a failed one. A clock or timer will also be useful in this case because you can focus on one task until the timer informs you time is up.
The old saying, time is money, is very true. The easiest way for small business owners to increase their bottom line is to pay close attention to how they spend their time.