Small Business Strategies: 6 Tips to Maximizing Your Time
(Originally posted on LinkedIn.com)
As a small business owner, how do you maximize your time and get the most out of everything you do for your business? Are you doing too much, or feel stuck sometimes; are you very organized that you have little problems reaching your goals? I think we all have moments in our business where we are either one or the other or behind the gate.
I cannot tell you how many times I had to just stop, sit and think about what do I need to focus on next and how am I going to get it all done. As a business owner, this is an on-going thing; and it is not always easy to determine how you are going to maximize your time to get it all done. So, I thought it would be a great idea to take a few minutes of my time to figure out what would be the best way I could maximize my time through using effective time management and critical thinking skills. Here is what worked for me. I am sure you will have your own way but it’s always a great to share what you know.
So, if you have any tips to add to this list, please comment below. I would hear from you!
Stop, Sit and Think! When I feel like things are all over the place, this is when I need to Stop, Sit, and Think! Doing this if forces me to look at my current situation and come up with a solution to the problem and get back on track.
Develop a plan of action: Now that I am sitting and thinking, this is when I realized that I may be doing too many things at once. I have to remember there is an order to things and I have to realign my order of operations so I can stay on track. This is when I take a piece of paper and write down a plan of action for the task at hand. This helps me determine the very next step, and then I develop a plan of action around this. My plan of action may include breaking down one task into subtasks so I can see exactly how I am going to implement what I am trying to do. Each subtask should have a dependency upon the task before it like you would using project management methods. Just document it in a way that makes scene to you.
Assign a timeframe: I found if I assign a dedicated date/time and stick to it, I can maximize my time and get more done as opposed to just trying to do too many tasks at random days or times. Now that I have my subtasks, I can use Microsoft Excel or MS Word to create a spreadsheet/table to track my progress. Sometimes, I may use MS Project as well. This way I can measure where I am spending my time on a particular task. You can use whatever method easiest to you to measure your goal. These are options I like to use.
Review your progress: This is a must! For my business, take 30 to 1 hour or more sometimes several times per month and really review my progress and how far I have come. This help me gauge the performance of my business or the goals I am trying to reach. Once I do my review, I will have the ability to implement certain tasks more efficiently and yield good results. This is also a good opportunity for me to update my business plan, mission, goals or vision for my business as well.
Set Your Priorities: As a small business owner, I have to split my time between my family, friends, and outside activities. Therefore, knowing what my priorities are is another major factor to consider if I plan when running my business. It is hard planning time for one or the other; so determining how to plan my day, week or month is key. I usually plan my day so that I am not too overwhelmed with the business but yet have time to spend with my family. Other family members, friends, or outside activities that are not normally within my routine of daily activities are usually secondary and up for discretion when deciding when or where I will spend my time. Let’s be real, I am not saying they do not have priority in my life; however, I know they are not the ones helping me run my business on a regular basis. Therefore, I make the determination on where they may fit within my planning process.
Invest in those who invest in you: I have to be realistic in that not everyone is going to see my vision. Therefore, I will invest my time and energy into individuals and companies who will see my vision, mission, and goal. While it is not easy to find them, I maximize my time by first doing my research on the organization and taking the time to locate the “right person” within the organization to speak with. This may involve phone calls, scheduling appointments, or follow-up emails. If it does not work out, I will not spend the time chasing them down. It could be that this is not right time yet for either party. In the end, I will proceed with looking for other opportunities where my chances are greater.
These are just a few tips I wanted to share on how to maximize your time. I look forward to seeing what others post below on this topic.
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