Many business owners struggle with the concept of time. The conflict lies, more specifically, in the lack of available time. It is an all too familiar story: the business day starts and, before you know it, the time has gone and you haven't managed to complete half of the tasks on your 'to do' list.
This scenario is to blame for much work-related stress. The cause? Well, it really comes down to a lack of time control. Manage your time effectively and you will find that much of your work stress melts away.
Here are are five key tips to help you to make the most of your time.
You know better than anyone how to tackle the key tasks in your own business. However, it is just as important to know how long each of these tasks takes to complete. The best way to find out is to time yourself actually doing the work. You should do this both for the work you do for your customers as well as the work you do within your own business.
For example, a business owner wants to publish blogs on a regular basis. How long should she allocate per week to this task? Well, the best way for her to know how much time writing, editing, finding an image, and publishing a blog will take is for her to time herself actually doing it.
Indeed, in order to get a truly accurate time picture, she should time herself doing this task on several occasions so that she can get an average and then allocate the necessary amount of time each week.
In order to control your time, you have to be strict with yourself. Using the example above, the business owner could easily spend hours thinking about, researching and writing blog posts. However, this will not help her business to thrive.So, instead, she should set herself a tight time frame within which she can write and publish a high quality article. It is amazing how productive you can be when you have a looming deadline - it can really focus the mind!
In a similar vein to the point above, effective time management means removing distractions. Once you have set yourself time to complete a piece of work you should focus on that work.Try not to succumb to distractions such as Internet searches or email correspondence. These really are time black holes and can easily double the time you need to complete a task. If you can, turn off all devices that will bleep, ring and flash messages at you; they can and should wait their turn.
The time boxing technique is particularly effective when you know how long tasks take to complete. At the beginning of the day, work out what jobs you need to complete and how long each task will take. Then look at how much time you have available and slot the tasks into the relevant time boxes.This can really help you to focus on the jobs that you want to complete.
It can also prevent you from taking too long on any one job and stop you from becoming distracted.In addition, time boxing also encourages you to be realistic regarding your 'to do' list. After all, if you have unrealistic expectations as to what work you can finish in any given day you just end up feeling stressed.
Allow A Contingency
When you allocate time boxes to your work, always allow a period of time for contingencies. As much as you don't want time to get away from you, you also don't want to become completely imprisoned by your time management technique!
If you follow the tips above you will discover that you can find more hours in the day. In addition to that, the hours that you do spend at work will be far less stressful.