BizTips from SCORE – Be Intentional about Time Management
The key to managing your time is separating what is Urgent from what is just Important and casting aside or delegating anything that doesn’t fit into either of those categories. It is all about “concentration where it counts” and what counts is what is Urgent. Being in a seasonal market makes controlling time even more difficult since everything is compressed into a 12-week period. Even if you are open year-round time management is a must. Since time is your most limited resource, it is the one thing that must be managed effectively since it cannot be increased by purchasing or borrowing more.
One approach is to be “intentional” about time management. That means that you identify what is Urgent and Important in the day-to-day life of your business and create a plan for addressing each element. Being productive in time management is being less busy and slowing down the pace of the activities you decide to focus on. Some elements of “intentional” time management might be:
Purposeless social media and email scrolling. Social media is an important part of outreach marketing, both incoming and outgoing, but just scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn does nothing to add to either your knowledge base or provide competitive intelligence.
Having a to-do list. There are many ways to create to-do lists today. There are even apps that can be employed. Whatever technique you use, do it and make it visible. Use a technique that allows you to organize the activities based on their Urgency to be accomplished on a daily basis. Having a to-do list prevents wasting time working on what is not Urgent or not even Important at all, but is easy to do. Procrastination is another time waster since nothing of import is being done while you are considering what to do next. Face it. Some activities are just more difficult or arduous and need your attention NOW, not tomorrow or the next day. Having a to-do list also prevents being easily distracted. However, it is really easy to get distracted with someone saying, “do you have a minute?” while you are working on entering data into QuickBooks which is Urgent. You can avoid these distractions by learning to “say NO by saying YES”. “I can talk with you in 15 minutes when I am finished with this task”.
Avoid multitasking. It is a myth that multitasking adds to your productivity. You cannot concentrate fully on two tasks at the same time. If you plan your time to do one activity at a time you will find your time management more efficient.
Plan in advance. When you layout all of your activities and categorize them as Urgent or Important you can plan what gets your concentration first. You have a plan against which you check off the elements as they are finished. You are not wondering, “what’s next?”. When planning time, you might think about “chunking” your time. If you think you need an hour to input data into QB, then allocate that amount of time. If you think it will take 30 minutes to make follow-up customer calls, allocate that amount of concentrated time in your plan.
Reduce Clutter. One sure way to increase your productivity, increase your efficiency and reduce the amount of wasted time is to declutter your workspace. Having an organized workspace allows you to focus on the work at hand and not have distractions within reach or view. This allows for focus and concentration on what counts.
Contributed by Marc L. Goldberg, Certified Mentor
Source: Balance Through Simplicity, 20 Things that Waste Time During the Day; For FREE and confidential mentoring, contact SCORE Cape Cod & the Islands. www.score.org/capecod, [email protected] or 508/775-4884. .