Small Business Saturday Blog

5 Ideas to Improve your Time Management

Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 09:00

“The bad news is time flies.  The good news is you’re the pilot.” 
Always running out of time?  It’s a problem many of us have, and small businesses owners often lack staff to delegate to, so find themselves taking on every task single-handedly.  It’s a juggling act, but there are techniques you can use to manage your time more effectively, and while this won’t necessarily lighten the load, it will help you focus on the most important tasks to make the best use of the time you have each day. 
Here are a few tried and tested methods for time management: 
This method is designed to provide you with maximum focus and creative freshness, enabling you to get projects created faster, with less mental fatigue. 
You work for 25 minutes, then break for 5 minutes.   Each 25 minute period is called a “pomodoro” (Italian for ‘tomato’) because the inventor used his kitchen timer which was shaped like a tomato – but you could use your phone instead! 
After 4 pomodoros have passed (100 minutes of work with 15 minutes of break time), you then take a 15-20 minute break. 
The periods of focussed work with frequent short breaks helps avoid distractions such as Facebook, checking your email, making a cup of tea etc breaking into your flow of work…you save those for the 5 minute breaks! 
Time boxing is simply fixing a time period to work on a task or group of tasks. 
If you are procrastinating a task, don’t try to complete it, time box it – allow a set period to get some of it done, then if you’ve not completed it you can set another time box for the rest of the job.  If you have a series of little, annoying tasks, set a time slot to get a number done. 
Time boxing works if you are an expert in perfectionism.  If you consistently carry on with tasks, redoing over and over, and wonder where all your time goes, then time boxing is for you – you set the deadline. 
  1. Eat the frog! 
If you had to eat a live frog every day, you could be pretty sure that nothing you did for the rest of the day would be as bad. 
Do you find yourself putting off your least favourite task?  Make a to-do list each day, and circle the ‘frog’ – the job you’re most likely to procrastinate:  maybe it’s the most unpleasant, difficult or just very time consuming – then tackle that task first. 
It’s tempting to do the smaller or simpler activities first, but by doing this you risk running out of time for the larger more complex tasks, and they just get put off to the next day.  Start each day by eating a frog and you’ll find yourself energised by having accomplished a major task. 
  1. The Pareto Principle (80:20 rule) 
This states that 80% of results will come from 20% of your efforts – use this idea to identify which 20% of your workload is going to produce the most gain, and focus your time on that. 
  1. Outsource 
If you’ve employed all these techniques and are still struggling, consider outsourcing some tasks.  Entrepreneurs have to be ‘jacks of all trades’ to run their own businesses, but you may find that for certain tasks, a specialist can do the job in half the time.  When considering the cost, think about what your own time is worth and factor in the value of other things you could be doing in that time. 
“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” 
Guest blog by: Michelle Collins. 
Michelle Collins owns Pink Spaghetti Chester and North Wales. Dedicated to going the extra mile for her clients Michelle quickly earned a great reputation and is now in her third year of trading and is growing her own team.
Proactive, flexible and a strong ability to problem solve Michelle undertakes a variety of work for a wide range of business sectors. Research, admin, invoicing, social media campaigns and decluttering are regular tasks on her to-do list which help her clients find time to further develop their business or spend more time pursuing a more leisurely lifestyle.  If your business or home “to do” list seems never ending, Michelle will be delighted to help you gain control.Organised, friendly and discreet, Pink Spaghetti Chester and North Wales is the ideal company to provide you with PA services in Chester and North Wales or to get help from a virtual personal assistant.
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