When it comes to resources, you need to have as much money as possible to ensure your business doesn’t end up failing. However, cash isn’t the only currency worth keeping in your pocket. The Covid-19 pandemic, for example, has highlighted the need to strike a balance between work and life. It's critical that entrepreneurs can master their time at work to achieve overall balance.
Time is another asset that bosses must master if they want to be successful. Time may be all we have, but it ticks by very quickly. Before you know it, you’ve wasted hours, days, or even months without doing anything. As a result, the business could be in a sticky situation where it requires a lot of luck to survive.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be a superhero to master a timepiece. Although Superman can slow things down, he isn’t the only one with the ability to take a deep breath and evaluate the situation. Any leader can do it if they are willing to learn a selection of effective and accessible techniques.
Time-management is an art form, and the more you realize it, the sooner you’ll make inroads professionally. The following ways entrepreneurs can master their time at work won’t make you a part of the Justice League or The Avengers, but they’ll make you feel as if you are!
This retro way of managing time isn’t as old-fashioned as obsolete as you might imagine. Yes, there are more advanced ways to carry a paper schedule around with you, yet there’s nothing wrong with a pen and pad. The key is to have a mechanism that lets you write down what you’re doing and why at any given time.
A simple reason this works is that people often don’t recognize how productive, or unproductive, they are on a daily basis. You might assume you’re killing Monday to Friday and on the weekends, but your schedule could say different. All you need to do is write down everything that comes into your head during this time.
It could be your thoughts, feelings, or conversations - anything that affects your time-management strategy is eligible. That way, you’ll be able to see where you’re spending the majority of your day. Hopefully, it’ll be in important meetings or replying to client emails, yet it could be talking to employees to re-explain a specific task. In this case, it’s essential to work on your communication skills to waste less time.
A clever way to level up is to time your movements as it will give you a clearer view of what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. Of course, a smartphone is an alternative to a pen and piece of paper combination, so as long as it’s accessible and charged, you’ll always have it handy.
Your world is full of distractions that interrupt your productivity levels every day. What’s worse is that you aren’t aware of the triggers, or you are and you can’t be bothered doing anything about it. A cell phone is a prime example because screen time among US adults is on the rise - it’s around four hours a day on average.
Still, even though you’ll spend most of your day staring at a tablet or laptop computer, there will be a temptation to glance at your cell. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s a couple of seconds you’ll never get back. And the minutes add up over a week or a month. Therefore, the key is to leave your device somewhere you can’t play around with it every ten minutes.
Notifications are also bad for your output in many ways. Okay, some are vital and need replying to ASAP, yet most can wait. Even the essential correspondence doesn’t have to be dealt with on the spot. You can leave it until lunchtime and respond while you eat. Or, you can create blocks throughout the day where you reply to important messages.
With that in mind, it is worth switching on the “do not disturb” mode on your device. Alternatively, the handsets you don’t use can be flicked to airplane Mode.
Not every entrepreneur can rely on a team of workers to take care of the small stuff while they deal with the more important aspects of running a successful company. If you can, your life will be ten times easier and wastage won’t be an issue (more on that later). However, part of saving time also means cutting costs because most SMEs don’t have bottomless budgets.
The good news is, automated services are here to help as they kill two birds with one stone. Firstly, they are programmed to pick up the slack when you’re not available. For instance, a virtual assistant will take messages and relay them to you later on when you’re free. A telephone answering service, on the other hand, will answer your calls when you can’t to prevent the customer experience from slipping.
Not only do these solutions maintain a high level of customer service, but they are affordable too. This is because they often come as package deals with lots of important features included in the price. As a result, you can carry on with pressing tasks safe in the knowledge that your automated services have got your back.
As far as prioritizing your workload is concerned, this is a critical element of automation as it lets you put your main responsibilities first.
On the flip side of the coin, bosses with more resources can delegate their duties to their employees. SME leaders can do this too, but it often includes hiring a third-party. Bigger companies have the human resources to pass on responsibilities to those with less to do on a given day.
However, delegation isn’t as straightforward as picking someone you feel is capable and giving them a new job. It’s a skill you must learn to wield correctly if it is going to have an impact on your business. For example, you’ll find your staff is happier and more productive when they know you trust them.
But, this doesn’t mean they are open to taking on tasks out of the blue. Their workload might be chaotic, which means you shouldn’t put them on the spot. Instead, you should inquire whether they have the time to help. If they do, studies suggest you might see a growth rate of 20% by delegating only 10% of your workload.
There are plenty of other features to consider, so please be careful before you proposition anybody. After all, you can do more harm than good by making silly mistakes that you aren’t aware are problematic.
No is a word people use every day without thinking twice. Sadly, it has bigger connotations in a corporate environment. After all, saying no could end a relationship before it even begins. That’s fine if you’re busy and don’t have the time to fulfill the order, but what if things slow down suddenly?
Then, you’ll be desperate for the extra orders and wished you had said yes in the first place. Of course, you can’t predict the future, and hindsight is always 20/20. It’s imperative to analyze your time restraints at the moment, with a look to the short-term future for guidance. Then, you’ll be able to tell if you’re snowed under or can realistically fit in another client.
Remember that saying yes isn’t guaranteed to work in your favor. If you manage the order poorly, the lack of quality will do more damage than if you said no. Word travels fast, and disgruntled customers are happy to inform their peers about mediocre services.
It’s easier to say no later on in your career because you already have a grasp of what you can and cannot do after years of practicing time-management. Yet you are allowed to decline colleagues, clients, and customers. They might be disappointed, but it’s a small price to pay in the long-term.
Clutter is the enemy, and there is research that proves it. For instance, the average employee wastes around 38 hours a year, or five full days annually, searching for items they have lost or misplaced. Two-thirds of these workers then waste even longer trying to find the stuff they have lost.
Bosses aren’t immune to this phenomenon. It’s down to clutter as items are harder to misplace when your desk is organized. With that in mind, the trick to success is to minimalize your environment to prevent it from taking valuable hours away from your professional life.
Start by finding a place for everything to go, from paper to files and personal items. Then, throw away anything you don’t need to free up space for the essentials. Finish by repeating the process regularly to stop the clutter from piling up.
You don’t have to invest much time - five minutes at the start of the day will suffice - yet you get so much back. That’s the power of organization!
Finding ways entrepreneurs can master their time should be as important to you as reducing your expenses and boosting your budget. In many ways, it’s easier because the techniques are available to everyone, and they’ll work all the time as long as you include them within your routine.