Managing your time is essential if you want to be a successful small business owner. You have a lot on your plate and seemingly never enough time to tackle it all. Becoming good at time management takes thoughtful planning and intentionality. I thought I would share three simple steps to take in order to gain control of your time that are working for me.
1. Do your planning before you start your day on Friday for the following week.
Now this is what we call being intentional. Instead of going on the fly during your work week, take time to actually plan what you need to do and when you’re going to do it. This will give you more focus in the week ahead. And doing it before you start your Friday workday keeps you from thinking about into the weekend and you are ready to go first thing Monday morning with a Plan of attack for the week.
2. Create blocks of time for different business categories in your calendar.
Just like you carve out time every Friday before your workday to plan for the next week, carve out various blocks each day for different categories of work. For example, each week make sure you have blocks for items like meetings, sales, administration, brand development, etc. Ideally, these blocks will remain the same each week so you can develop habits and stay more organized.
It’s suggested that you don’t completely jam-pack your days because that leaves you little time to deal with unexpected challenges or opportunities. Make sure you leave a little white space on your calendar (approximately 20% of your workday), perhaps an hour in the morning and at the end of the day. Use this time to complete unscheduled tasks such as catching up on emails, reading industry publications, or working on whatever might have come up.
Utilize an effective personal information management system – like one with a calendar, a contact manager, a task list, a notes area and email. These should be able to interact together, giving you the ability to create a calendar appointment or a task from an email, for example. You can use this online calendar to efficiently block out your week, and easy interaction between that calendar and your other management systems makes it easy for you to collect the necessary task items to add to your blocks.
3. Plug in the tasks you need to do and print the calendar to use as a schedule for your week ahead.
Once you have blocks marked out for various categories, now you can fill in the tasks you need to do in their rightful category. For example, input the task ‘interact with at least five other professionals on Twitter’ into your ‘Social Media’ block. Once all your tasks are inputted into the blocks, you can now print out the calendar in a format that lays out your tasks so you can easily see your ‘schedule’ in the next week.
- For tips on how to print in the Agenda view for Google Calendar, use this link: https://support.google.com/calendar/answer/41067?hl=en
- For tips on how to print in the Calendar Details Style for Microsoft Outlook’s calendar, use this link: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Print-a-calendar-showing-appointments-and-meetings-a90860b1-fe45-4a7e-8581-b1d196ccf221
So we’ve learned that in order to manage your time more efficiently, it’s good to be intentional and plan out your week ahead using an online calendar management system, creating blocks to display your workweek tasks. Once that is printed out you have a hard-copy schedule and are ready to hit the ground running on Monday morning with a script you can follow for an efficient week. Put these methods into practice and soon you will be better at managing your time, which is sure to bring growth to your small business.