One thing is for certain when trying to start a business and that is that there is not enough time in the day.Â With that being the case, having the ability to effectively management time could sometimes be the difference that leads to success.Â Here are a few very clear and practical time management tips that can not only improve productivity, but can also help to decrease stress at the same time.
Compartmentalize the Calendar
Whether you are a business owner of a small organization or one that is more established, it is likely that you are in charge of many different functional areas and have to wear many different hats.Â It may be the case that you are not only in charge of sales, but you are also in charge of accounting, finance, HR, legal, engineering, etc.Â Even if you have resources to help with some of the tactical duties, at the end of the day the buck will likely stop with you and with that being the case there will be some level of duties and responsibilities that are on your plate in each of these areas.
One thing to help with this challenge is to compartmentalize the week to break it up into segments and then align the individual segment with different functional areas.Â For example, you may have a lot of tasks to do in both areas of sales and accounting.Â Not only does it take 100% of your attention to be successful while working in one of these areas, they also require you to be in a very different gear in terms of skills and mindset and it might not be productive to try to perform tasks for both at the same time.
As a result, if we block out Monday morning each week to focus solely on accounting and block out Tuesday morning to focus on sales, we can improve our productivity in each individual area.
As an entrepreneur, the business that we build becomes our baby.Â And while we know our baby better than anybody else, in order to be successful and to more effectively manage our time, we must learn how to delegate responsibilities to other team members.Â If we don't delegate enough, too much of our valuable time will be spent on tactical activities and this can have a negative impact on the growth of the business.
Taking delegation one step further, we can use the option of outsourcing to free up time which can have a positive impact on our ability to manage time.Â For example, by shifting IT software from being hosted and managed by internal systems to being managed by a service provider or shifted to the cloud, we may increase our recurring expenses but we will likely free up time.
It is amazing how much we can use different forms of technology to automate and streamline business processes.Â Whether it has to do with our communications with customers, our communications with our employees, or the way we process transactions and fill orders, we can benefit tremendously from a time perspective by always improving our ability to automate.
One Personal Item per Day
It is probably safe to assume that most entrepreneurs focus all or most of their time on building their business.Â And when that is the case, we can easily create a backlog of personal "to do's".Â For example, personal items like calls that need to be made, items that need to be mailed or faxed, appointment to schedule, etc. will naturally require attention as we flow through our lives and entrepreneurs can often put these items at a lower priority than the business.
Why this area can use some attention is that when a backlog of personal items occurs, not only can it create issues in terms of responsiveness, but more importantly it can cause unneeded stress on an already full plate that comes with starting a business.
One tactic to balance work and life "to do's" is to make it a goal to handle one open personal item per day if there a backlog.Â For example, place attention on identifying one personal item to take care of and make an effort to stop working on the business at some point during the day and get it knocked out.Â There could be a huge backlog that is causing stress and problems and with this process, it could be worked away in a matter of a few weeks without causing too much distraction from the business.
Michael Halper is Founder and CEO of Launch Pad Solutions, LLC, a sales consulting and outsourcing firm that helps businesses to take off and get to the next level. Read more about Michael here.