Being your own boss can be a challenge sometimes. You need to work efficiently, yet have the ability to deal with those unforeseen circumstances that always crop up. A balance has to be struck between time spent, efficiency and quality of output. And information has to be managed in a way that makes it both accessible and useful.
Here are five valuable tips from the experts to help manage your time successfully:
1. Give your work day structure by dividing it into a series of concrete tasks.
2. Make a reasonable estimate of how much time is needed for each task and stick to the routine.
3. Keep clear, easily accessible records of each day’s work.
4. Modify and test your daily goals and tweak them to keep up with your changing business.
5. Add padding to deadlines, building in the flexibility to deal with unexpected situations as they arise.
As a self-directed business owner, you are probably adept at seeing the “big picture.” But it’s necessary to look at your business through a closer lens sometimes. Being organized means having the ability to compartmentalize. What is the first thing you do each day? Start there and outline the sequence of actions you take in the course of the day. In your outline, give important tasks the time and attention that they require while also making room for less pressing jobs.
Since human beings are creatures of habit, having a workflow plan helps streamline your day. Setting aside an appropriate amount of time for each task lets you focus on those facets of the working day that are most crucial to revenue. It also helps prevent the problem of getting stuck in one area of the process while neglecting others. Strikingly, one quarter of all small business owners in one survey believe that each hour they work is worth almost $500 in profits. This makes time management an essential part of any business plan.
Having quick and targeted access to information about your business is invaluable. That’s why record keeping is so important. In this computerized age, businesses no longer have to drown in paperwork, but can organize information into digital files that are easy to access.
Consider your hard drive to be a digital filing cabinet. Separate different functions, tasks and data into their own folders and don’t be afraid to create subcategories. The more organized the information is, the faster you will find what you’re looking for.
This is where a good software program can be invaluable. Not everyone is adept at data management and there are programs that not only keep records, but give instant snapshots of the results of your efforts. Nothing is static in the business world, and daily tasks should be continually evaluated to make sure that they are still in step with the goals of the business. Modification and testing, especially with the aid of a top notch virtual assistant, will aid in time management and realization of goals.
As you have probably figured out by now, the tasks you set yourself are not always linear, and sometimes going back to a previous step is unavoidable. Adding extra time to estimates for completing assignments is an effective coping strategy. This gives you the flexibility to step outside the box (or schedule) and deal with contingencies as they arise. If deadlines end up being met ahead of time, that will only make you look good!
The future is bright for entrepreneurs. U.S. census data shows that small businesses have continued to produce the majority of new jobs in the past two decades. The use of data management tools is one of the ways that entrepreneurs can continue to thrive in our economy. Using these five tips as a starting point, running your own business can be an exciting and successful challenge!