Remember the days of being an employee, working for someone else? Did you ever have a day when you were just counting the minutes until the end of your workday? If you are like many small business owners, time ticks away at the same rate as it did back then, but before you know it you look up at the clock and you’ve worked far beyond the time you thought you would once again.
Time Management applications may help you manage your work and your day. First of all let me share a personal pet peeve with you. I do not believe there is such a thing as “time management”. None of us can influence the passing of time, so in my mind we can’t manage it. What we can manage is what we DO with OUR time. In my book that means doing the right thing – the task that will create the greatest value in your business – as often as possible. I call it “the critical path”. If I have something to get done for my business or a client I make a list of the tasks and try to stay focused and avoid distractions. Every time something comes along to take my attention away from the task at hand I stop to check “is it on the critical path?” If not, I make a note to get back to it later and get my focus back on “the critical path”.
Back to Time Management Software….find out what it is that you need to help you manage your time and there is probably an application for it. Many business owners use an electronic calendar and schedule time to do the work they need to get done. For many if it does not get scheduled it does not get done – and time passes by anyway – so start to schedule time to do your work. There is also software to create employee schedules, manage virtual to-do lists, generate customer invoices based on the time you spend on a project, and even programs that will block your email notifications for a period of time so those distracting new email notices won’t appear while you are concentrating on something you need to get done. If you need an application that limits the time you spend on time-wasting websites, there are apps that block your access after you reach a pre-determined daily time limit.
Time Management? No such thing. Personal Time Management, absolutely!
What one critical path item would benefit your business the most if you could concentrate on getting it done without interruption? Does it appear on your to-do list for today? Is there time actually marked off on your calendar to spend working on it? What can you do to minimize distractions while you concentrate on getting it done? Are those things put in place? OK then, what’s keeping you from doing it?
Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below. I look forward to reading them.
The next topic in this series is Social Media. Stay tuned…..