A Guide to Better Management

There is one resource that small business owners desperately need, and that is time. If you run at a loss, you can often recover from that if you get a good contract. If you lose a client you can likely replace them. Bad PR can be forgotten over time. That asset, time, however, is irretrievable.

That’s why it’s so important for managers to protect their time – it is genuinely the most important asset that they have.  Here are a few ideas for way to make the most efficient use of your time.

  1. Log Everything You Do

From the moment that you wake up, until the moment that you go to bed, start logging your time. Track every moment of your day, listing the tasks that you did and the amount of time that they took.

Track everything, even things that you don’t think of as relevant. For that one day, make sure that you behave as normal other than the tracking – don’t try to be more productive, or to change anything. You are trying to get an accurate reflection of how you spend your time.

  1. Work Out What You are Wasting Time On

Now that you have a clear and realistic idea of how you usually spend your time you can start working on being more efficient. Do some calculations to determine how much time you are spending on various activities, and then try to limit the things that are not productive. You will probably find that emails, phone calls, breaks, meetings, errands and social media are taking up a lot of your time. Now, some email use is un-avoidable, as are phone calls and meetings – but if you can cut down on those things then you will get a lot more done. You will likely find that you are happier and less stressed if you spend time on social media too. If you rely on social media for your job, then try to cut down on the amount of time you spend on there by using tools to schedule posts and reply to messages.

  1. Try the pomdoro timer

Pomdoro timers help you to focus on one task for 25 minutes at a time, giving you a few minute’s break before you start the next task. The pomdoro timer helps you to work in productive bursts, and you can even limit your time so you can say “I will spend 10 pomdoro units on social media per week, and 30 on customer service”. This will help you to focus on the most important things, and could hugely increase your productivity. Pomdoro timers help you to remember to take breaks too, which can be just as important for your overall productivity.

  1. Remember the 80/20 rule.

There is an old saying that 80% of your results will come from 20% of the work that you do. The idea with time efficiency and management is to make sure that you’re focusing your efforts in the right place. It is a long process, and something that will take a lot of refining, but it is great when it pays off. Time tracking will have a huge impact on ensuring that you actually get good results from the work that you do, instead of frittering time away on things that won’t pay off.

  1. Delegate wisely.

Small businesses often struggle with finding people to do the jobs that really need done. It is a good idea to delegate responsibility to people, but only if those people are properly prepared and ready for the task. Don’t abdicate responsibility to people who cannot get the job done – because this will leave you worse off than you were when you started. Invest time in growing the right people for your business. Here are some good management tips from Marks Sattin

  1. Try not to micromanage.

Make sure that you train your employees well, and then set them off to work on the jobs that you want them to do. Try not to spend too much time supervising, and get your employees into the habit of working efficiently. If you can, try to set your office up out of the main work area so that your employees don’t feel tempted to interrupt you constantly. Your job is to keep the business ticking over, not to have to do every small task that comes the way of the business. Once you get into the swing of things and have an efficient team, you should notice how well things run.

  1. Stop chasing the next big thing.

While it’s a good idea to always have new goals, it’s easy to fall victim to ‘shiny object syndrome’ – new opportunities can be good as long as they do not detract from your core business. Always be critical, and make sure that you know what you are working towards and whether it will really benefit you.