As a business owner, you may feel like you never have enough time, perhaps even to the point of being too stressed in your day-to-day, and now, things are falling through the cracks. Almost all self-starters know the importance of smart time management and what it means to success – but we also know that sometimes, it can be a challenge to prioritize properly.
So, if you’re looking for a better way to work, here is how you can maximize your precious time as a business owner.
Optimizing Your Schedule
The first thing you need to do to maximize your time as a business owner is to audit and improve your schedule. How many times have you gotten home from work, and although the day was hectic and stressful, you can’t say what you’ve accomplished? That problem stems from a lack of prioritization.
The first thing you need to do is keep track of how your time is currently being spent. Carry a pocket-book around with you for a week, and diligently record your thoughts, conversations and activities. This will help shed light on how productive (or unproductive) you actually are. Once you narrow down how you’re spending your time, you can take the appropriate steps to optimize your schedule.
There are plenty of scheduling tools and apps out there on the market, both free and paid. These will let you assess how you are spending your workday and can help you make the necessary changes to become more productive. It may take time to narrow down the right one for you, but we recommend giving the popular options below a try first:
- Todoist – this task management app lets you assign to-do items with due dates and tag them with different project labels. You can add tasks from your desktop or phone. As a fun added bonus, you can rack up “karma points” by completing tasks consistently.
- Focus Booster – this app uses the “Pomodoro Technique” (breaking work into timed intervals with short breaks in between) for tracking work. It also provides a deeper look into exactly where your time is going. You can track revenue, meetings and projects so you gain a wider view of your progress.
- Trello – whether you’re looking for a way to track the progress of big projects or organize your latest brainstorming session, Trello can be customized to fit your needs. A flexible project management web app, Trello visualizes your projects as lists pinned to digital bulletin boards. Each list is made up of individual posts called cards. They can represent anything from tasks to ideas to goals. You can add comments, attachments, checklists and custom labels to cards, keeping everything organized.
Setting Priorities to Reach Your Goals
Now that you have your schedule under control, it’s time to set priorities. To be successful, you must set priorities that reflect the goals laid out in your business plan. So, what priorities can you set on a day-to-day basis that will help you accomplish your goals and ultimately attain success?
Goal setting should always direct what you do with your daily to-do list as well as your calendar and other goal setting tools so that you will always be on track to meet the goals that mean the most to you.
This is the essence of planning and setting priorities. Keep this saying in mind the next time you’re developing your to-do list: “if you do not plan your day, your day will plan you.” Many successful business people create to-do lists that contain three to five of their most important tasks to check off before they finish work. In the morning, tackle the most important and hardest task first. Once that task is finished, they check the box and move on to the next item of importance.
Remember this when you are populating your calendar to ensure that you’re focusing on the most important things that will lead to increases productivity and revenue and get you closer to achieving your goals. If you don’t cross-off all of your items in the time you gave yourself, then transfer them to your list for tomorrow. You’ll feel better knowing that at least your most important task has been checked off the list.
Finding the Right Help
If you’ve audited your schedule and realized you just don’t have the capacity to accomplish all the goals you’ve set out, it may be time to look for help. This could be in the form of a virtual assistant, contractor or full-time employee. After all, you can’t do everything yourself—and most of the time, things like administrative tasks will only hinder your ability to focus on what’s more important for the success of your business.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask others for help. At some point, you have to learn to give up a little bit of control and put your faith in others. You can try outsourcing specific tasks, such as your accounting and bookkeeping tasks. Or try hiring a contractor through a site like Upwork.com to do take control of website updates.
Another way you can try to shore up some stressors in your life is to ask a friend or family member to hang-out with your kids when you just have too much to do. Ask your spouse to mow the lawn or help with cooking dinner. You’ll be surprised at how much more time you’ll have and how much more you’ll get accomplished, once you figure out how to properly delegate your work.
Beyond delegating tasks, there are several other ways to save time as a business owner. Almost everyone who works for themselves knows how quickly time seems to escape, and before you know it, the week is over and you still have a backlog of emails, calls and tasks to deal with.
Don’t be afraid to say “No”
It’s one of the toughest things to do in the professional world – say, “No.” However, it’s an essential skill to develop if you want to save time. Saying yes to everything only increases the amount of work on your to-do list and raises your stress level. The work is likely to suffer as well since your attention is already divided between so many other tasks. If you don’t have the time or desire to do whatever is being asked of you, politely decline to take on the work. The other party may be disappointed, but it’s not the end of the world, and any professional should be understanding of your position.
Use your Down Time to Your Advantage
If you’ve delegated properly, you may actually end up having some downtime, or at least some extra time to focus on things that are important. While a 15-20 minute window of time may seem too short to get anything useful accomplished, the truth is that these short time blocks can help you be more productive in many ways, especially when you add them up throughout the week, month or year. So instead of browsing Facebook or Instagram, use this time to complete small tasks or contribute to ongoing tasks, such as brainstorming article ideas for your blog, reworking aspects of your calendar, sending a thank you note or making a quick phone call.
Save Time on Your Business Trips
With a pilot’s license, you can get to out-of-town business meetings at a moment’s notice, saving you time, money and hassle. Flying yourself carries many time-saving advantages for business owners, for instance, you can:
- Cover more ground in less time
- Reach clients in remote areas without driving
- Bring your associates or co-workers along
- And plenty more – take a look at how learning to fly can make your business more successful!
Are you interested in learning how to fly? Get in touch with the team at Inflight Pilot Training today!
Inflight is the leading pilot training company in Minneapolis/St. Paul. With a reputable training program and an extensive roster of highly skilled, certified flight instructors, we can help you reach your goals when it comes to flying – get in touch with our team today to find out more.
For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us now or call (952) 698-3000.