Manage Time Like a Boss
Managing Time When You Work for Yourself
Whatever your work is or whatever kind of company you own, how you manage your time greatly impacts the outcome of all your investments and your bottom line. It also dictates the balance in your life – work, family, time for yourself and friends. We won't even start on health and stress levels! Take a break!
Common outcomes of poor time management are missing deadlines and important meetings, unmet commitments, and unhappy clients. To avoid livin’ on a slim nickel, it is crucial that business owners handle their time well. Efficiency over the ever-touted "badge of busyness" will not only make you more money but also make you more fun to be around!
Actively Manage Your Team or All Your Roles
If you own a large business with people under you who are well versed in their roles, you still need to know what they’re doing and make decisions for the whole company. If you’re running a smaller business, you might be responsible for multiple roles (or all of them).
- Make good use of tools. From a simple color-coded calendar to a complete work management system, use tools to organize the various aspects of your work. Post-it notes alone won’t run your business!
- Plan for deep work. Failing to work on cognitively challenging tasks without interruptions is what can most put your business at risk. This is the work only you can do and is what makes your business uniquely suited to solve your clients’ problems. Schedule deep work time and consider it non-negotiable.
- Plan for interruptions. It’s just as important to plan margin into your day to handle the unexpected problems and employee questions/concerns, as well as to fix the copier that no one else seems to be able to do. If your schedule is too full, you’ll be stressed and actually less productive.
- Hire someone. Consider hiring an additional employee or contract someone to complete work on a project basis. While you need to monitor this work, you should save time overall because you have delegated this work and can move on to projects that no one else can do.
Prioritize Your Work
Decide which details of your business are worth spending time on and which ones you can do without or delegate.
- Stop doing unnecessary tasks. Do you spend time writing reports no one reads? Honestly assess all the tasks that you do and see if any can be shuttered. (Read the 4-Hour Workweek!)
- Keep track of your time. Even if you don’t have to report the amount of time you work on a timesheet, it’s helpful to track your time for a week to see what you’re actually doing. This will help you determine if you constantly underestimate the amount of time needed to complete a project or if you have pockets of downtime that you could combine into a deep work session. You may discover loads of time you've been spending perusing social media streams or news updates. You have the same amount of time as everyone else, use it wisely.
- Use Key Performance Indicators. This helps you pinpoint where you need to improve. However, if you know you won’t analyze them so you can make changes, then don’t bother (see the unnecessary work point above).
Don’t forget to spend time on yourself too. The health of your business directly depends on your health. Taking time to get to know yourself better, give yourself a pat on the shoulder, and allow yourself a break will help make you be more effective, efficient, and more pleasant. (see previous post about Annoying Coworkers)
- Schedule things at work to run smoothly for you. If you’re not a morning person, then don’t schedule your most important work or meetings right away in the morning. If you hate meetings, then communicate your expectations in a different way, or create a rule that they can be no longer than 20 minutes. This is your business, so make it work for you.
- Draw the line between work and personal life. Your employees will appreciate that your family crisis details are left at home, and your family will appreciate that your work crisis details are left at work. Arrive and leave work on time (yes, that means actually having designated work times!), and ensure that you have a hobby or interest that keeps you from thinking about work all the time.
- Take vacation days. It’s hard to leave work for a week, but you need the space away from it. Downtime can improve mental, physical, and social health, and it can also give you the distance to be more objective about your business. If you give your clients advance notice and can work around their deadlines, they will be more than happy to hear you’re taking time for yourself.
We hope you have enjoyed this reminder that you are important too. Go have some fun, we will all thank you for it!
©Neon Lizard Creative 2021 | Rebecca Rausch | neonlizardcreative.com | 952.452.0168