According to Nav.com, the small business lender, OnDeck, published a study (Main Street Pulse Report) analyzing the input from 348 small business owners regarding time management and running a business. OnDeck found that 49% of the respondents give up their personal time to work on improving their business. Additionally, a whopping 86% of business owners list time management as a key to being successful in small business. (See The Main Street Pulse infographic here.)
Here are a few things you might consider to get more from your time:
Understand the value of time – As entrepreneurs we undervalue our time. We work 60+ hours a week and only charge for 20 of them. Then we stress over trying to sell our time for a higher hourly rate because that’s what we need to meet our goals. If you don’t know and understand what an hour of your time is actually worth, stop what you are doing and figure it out. (Need help? Contact your nearest SBDC.) Chances are, you will come to the realization that you need to charge more for your time or charge FOR MORE of your time. Once you understand the value of an hour, you won’t be so quick to squander that valuable resource. After-all, time truly is priceless.
Schedules are made to be kept – including scheduled down-time – We all keep schedules and have busy schedules but take a look at yours right now. Go ahead, look at it. How many personal, fun, relaxing, family oriented events do you see? Chances are the work far outweighs the personal. We all need to work on changing that. Not just say we are going to do it but actually schedule it and do it. (See Enforcer below!)
Put it back where you got it. Everything has a place. – My dad must have told me this a thousand times. Lean Six Sigma and Kaizen had nothing on him. If you breathed on a screwdriver in his toolbox, he knew it. I’m not sure if his extreme organizational tendencies came from his Marine Corps training or years of being a business manager but it’s a known fact that an organized person is more efficient and therefore uses his/her time more effectively. Dad was a great example of organization in action.
Decisive prioritization – The more you are on the fence about when or how something will get done, the more likely it will take more time to schedule around it than to just do it. Keep a to-do list and set priorities for the things you can realistically get done in the time you have to work with. Allow some flexibility for the small fires that inevitably crop up and you should have a workable schedule. Without a prioritized plan for the day, you will waste time.
Hire an Enforcer – Even if it is just an annoying alarm that reminds you it’s time to walk the dog or leave for your daughter’s dance class, do something or empower someone to keep you on task. Nothing should get you away from the desk more effectively than your child’s big brown eyes staring up at you asking you to come out and play.
Have a time saving idea? Add them to the comments and we may have you guest blog for us in the future.