Effective time management skills is a cornerstone habit for every small business owner.
Learning how to manage time effectively, especially when feeling overwhelmed, is essential if you want to free up more of your time.
When you have the right time management skills in place, you gain clarity on the value of your time, and ensure it is being spent on the right projects and with the right people.
The importance of managing time
Effective time management is about learning to effectively manage your time, rather than being controlled by time.
If you can leverage time you can achieve more in less time.
When you manage time effectively you have time to:
- Set important goals
- Spend more time with your best clients
- Prioritise effectively
- Create better boundaries
- Plan ahead
To help improve time management skills, plan your day more effectively, download my FREE Daily Productivity Planner to help your stay focused and productive DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PRODUCTIVITY PLANNER
The key to effective time management
These 7 time management tips are actionable for when you’re feeling overwhelmed, so you can start using them in your business today to help you develop effective time management skills.
1. Focus on your most important goals
Don’t create complexity and confusion by having too many goals.
This simply reduces focus and lowers energy.
Having too many goals is just distracting and can actually keep you from achieving the most important of your goals.
Manage time to increase focus
When I coach successful entrepreneurs, I narrow their focus.
This ensures their mindset and focus isn’t spread too thin.
My clients usually have 10 goals for the following 12-month period.
They start by writing down the 20-25 things they want to achieve in the next 12 months and then narrow this list down to only 10 goals to focus on.
This thinking exercise really focuses the mind on exactly what is important.
Their next step is to lay out 5 specific, measurable goals they want to focus on for the next 90 days.
Managing time effectively increases clarity and confidence
My clients gain clarity and are confident in the direction they’re heading.
This insight means they develop effective time management skills.
They gain clarity on:
- Why the goal is important
- The truth about their current situation
- What they want their ideal future to look like
- The available resources and people they can use to help them achieve these goals
It may be that you have a number of big goals in mind.
Spend some time getting clarity on which are the most important so you can start prioritising.
Then prioritise the ones you want to focus on first, to manage time more effectively.
Keeping your focus on these top goals ensures you will stay productive and aren’t taking on too much. When you’ve accomplished these goals, move on to the next.
2. Develop better time management habits
High performing entrepreneurs develop habits and self-control that allows them to stay focused on their biggest opportunities and strengths.
When we manage time effectively and understand what really matters, we bring our highest level of creativity, productivity and energy to the task at hand.
This focus ensures we don’t get distracted or sidetracked to low value projects or people.
When you’re in the flow or the zone, it’s essential to move forward confidently, to tune out the noise and zero in on the task.
3. Be more intentional about your time
Successful entrepreneurs start the day with clarity about what their most important opportunities and projects are.
This ensures they develop effective time management skills, amp up their productively and have clarity on how a specific project or opportunity will get them closer to their goals.
Having a good night’s sleep is always the starting point to setting up a high performance work day.
4. Delegate to increase time freedom
Successful entrepreneurs know that it often quicker to find who’s to do the work rather than working out how to do something.
Sometimes it’s far easier to utilise other people’s skills to get to goals quicker or technology to simplify processes.
Learning how to manage time effectively is often about asking ourselves “Are we the best person to do this work?”
Tasks that are part of a repeatable process can be automated.
Things that you’re not great at or are low value and take up a lot of time can be delegated to a team member or outsourced to a VA or similar expert.
Freeing up more time
Think about where you could be spending your time and what you could achieve if you simply were able to free up 20 hours or more every month.
The key is to make sure you are maximising every opportunity, and you simply don’t have time for everything.
Besides saving time and boosting productivity, the benefits of delegating and outsourcing is simply that you have more time to do what you love and what you do best.
5. Make time for strategic planning
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily whirlwind of simply running a business.
Admin, putting out fires, answering emails, dealing with requests from clients and your team, managing cashflow, trying to get in new clients can take up all of your time.
But, the most successful entrepreneurs I work with know that maximising their productivity, energy and focus in the present moment comes from having time for strategic thinking.
An important time management technique
Successful entrepreneurs know that they must carve out time for defining their vision, strategic thinking and for ongoing review of their business performance and goals.
They set aside fixed blocks of time to allow their mind to think strategically and for reflection.
Many of my clients take a full day out of their business every month to give themselves this focused time.
This time gives them the creative space to make their biggest breakthroughs and make important progress on their goals.
6. Gain back more time by saying no
It’s tempting to seize any and all opportunities that come your way, but that’s not possible.
Rapid growth and effectively managing time often comes from saying no more often than you say yes to projects, people and opportunities.
Trying to take on everything can create overwhelm, a reduction in energy and focus and potentially a loss of credibility if you’re unable to fulfil specific obligations.
Instead, carefully consider which opportunities have the best potential and are the best fit for where you are now and where you want to get to in the future.
Be intentional to manage time
- What is the purpose?
- The difference it could make?
- The ideal outcome if you went ahead
- How the opportunity aligns with your goals?
If the answer doesn’t align with those four questions, it is probably not worth pursuing.
The ability to say no helps effectively manage time and ensures focus stays on the people and projects that matter most.
7. Structure your time to produce bigger results
If there’s one thing that successful entrepreneurs I work with and speak to have in common, it’s that they all structure their day to maximise productivity and results.
This includes setting aside the first few hours of their day to work on their most important projects to working in blocks of time to ensure they stay focused.
Successful people who develop effective time management skills ensure they stay focused on their priority tasks, and end their day by reflecting on the three things they’ve achieved that day.
As well as taking time out of their business for strategic reviews and planning they take time out for rejuvenation.
Focused work on the right projects are key to productivity, but nobody can work 24/7 all the time.
The importance of time management can’t be underestimated. Developing effective time management skills will help you get more focused and productive.
Everyone needs time to recharge their minds and find a sense of peace and quiet.
When you’re feeling worried and stressed, you’re not working as effectively and productively as you could be.
Give yourself space to think, breathe, feel gratitude and achieve more work-life balance.
This is crucial to achieving maximum productivity and achieving your bigger and better goals.
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