Indispensable Time Management Hacks to Get More Out of Your Work Day
How many times have you complained about not having enough hours in a day?
Today, society as a whole is feeling pressed for time: not enough time to work out, not enough time to get work done, not enough time to spend time with family, and not enough time for sleep. Sound familiar? As a small business owner, you are juggling many tasks and know better than anyone how precious a little extra time can be. By tweaking your schedule a little, and incorporating some of the time management hacks below, we are hoping that you’ll be able to work more productively and begin doing new things with your extra time.
The Early Bird Gets The Worm
How you start your morning can have an impact on your productivity for the whole day. The morning is your time to get down to business and start making a plan for the idea. Ideally, these are the things you should be including in your morning to routine to ensure productivity and have a better handle on your time management.
- Create at least one goal. This goal can be related to any aspect of your life. Whatever it is you want to work on just set a goal and stick to it. This could be a goal to step away from your computer five minutes every hour or promising to hit a workout class when you’re done for the day. We often overwhelm ourselves with setting too many goals, which is why starting with just one goal for the day is ideal.
- Make and prioritize your to-do list. Have you ever created a to-do list so long you don’t even know where to begin? Or you create it, but then everything feels like a top priority, so you’re especially lost? Changing your thinking can help you get more in a day. Instead of vowing to do everything on your list, pick the top three priority tasks for the day. Once you get through these, then you can work on adding in other tasks. There is conflicting advice on starting your day with easy tasks or difficult tasks. Some people believe that handling the easiest tasks first gives you the pep in your step to crush the harder tasks, while others say starting with the hardest gives you room to breathe and feel relaxed the rest of the day. The pros and cons of each approach can be found in this article from Lifehack.
- Avoid multitasking. Everybody multitasks, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best approach to tackling your work. When you give yourself a set block of time to work on a task, you will find that you get more done instead of jumping between several tasks at once. When you’re working on a high priority item, try to limit distractions like email and text notifications so you can focus on the task at hand.
Crush The Afternoon Slump
Due to our bodies natural rhythms, it’s quite common to hit that afternoon slump where you want to nap or do anything work-related. To beat this tired feeling, there are some ways to continue your productivity.
- Take a break. After a morning of crushing your to-do list, taking a break is more than necessary. Without proper rest time, your brain is going to get bogged down, and you may move more slowly through your tasks. Get a coffee, take a walk, watch some funny internet videos, or meditate. However you spend this break, just make sure it’s something that will take your mind off your tasks at hand and leave you rejuvenated.
- Consider the rule of 52 and 17. Did you know that there is a productivity rule that says the most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a 17-minute break? People who give their all to a task for 52 minutes, and then have a recovery period before the next task find themselves getting more done. By scheduling your time this way, you can work smarter, not harder, and find yourself getting more done.
- Find 30 minutes for your hustle. Today the term hustle gets thrown around a lot, whether it’s a side hustle or just your hustle to get work done. The idea behind your “hustle” is simple – spend 30 minutes each day focusing on what matters to your business. Alternatively, if you’re currently side-hustling but want that side job to become full-time, focus that 30 minutes on how to make those goals a reality. Thirty minutes a day may not sound like much, which is what makes it so reasonable, but if you add up that time over the week, you will have spent 2.5 hours working towards this goal. To further optimize the time, write down what you achieved during that time so you can back and reflect on the progress you’re making.
Wrap It Up For The Day
At last, you’ve reached the end of the workday. However, the path to increased productivity doesn’t end here.
- Tie up loose ends. During the last hour of the day, your brain is tapped out (we get it). That’s why the end of the day is the perfect time to focus on mindless, but still important tasks. This could be backing up files, organizing your emails, or even cleaning your office area.
- Reflect on your progress. Some days no matter how hard you tried, you’re just not going to get everything that you wanted to be accomplished. Those days can feel discouraging, which is why you need to sit down and reflect on at least one thing you got accomplished. Remember that one goal you set for yourself in the morning? In our book, as long as that’s completed, you did what you sought out to do for the day. And if you didn’t, we all have those days so don’t be too hard on yourself.
- Plan for a new day. Similar to the point above, sometimes your head is not in the game first thing in the morning, which is why laying out a game plan the night before can be helpful, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Knowing if you have several meetings or looming deadlines can help you be prepared, so you’re not caught off guard.
Know When to Ask For Help
As a small business owner, there are going to be times when you can’t keep all of the balls in the air. With the help of technology, it’s easier than ever to get some help on the tasks you just don’t have time for. On the flip side, there are plenty of tools that can help you stay on track as well.
- Know when to outsource. If you operate a very small business, you may be doing things completely on your own, or only have a few employees. Outsourcing doesn’t have to be hard. For tasks you can’t (or don’t want to) handle paying somebody else can be valuable. One area that small business owners typically outsource is payroll. Payroll and taxes are complicated, which is why an online payroll service can be beneficial.
- There’s an app for that. From storing your files on Google Drive, managing your tasks on ToDoist, or having a Slack channel for your team to communicate, technology has made it easier than ever to manage your time. Since everybody wants to be productive, it’s easy to find various productivity apps based on the goals you are specifically trying to reach.
Becoming more productive and crushing your small business goals doesn’t have to be hard. By implementing a few of the tips above, your time management skills are going to be great, and soon you’ll have time to do the things you always dreamed of when you wished for more time in the day.