Being a small business owner comes with a slew of work. Being your own boss is so rewarding and can grant you so much freedom. However, that freedom comes with a lot of hard work, long nights, and maybe even some stress-related tears. One of the best ways to manage all of the stress and responsibility that comes with being a small business owner is to utilize your time management skills. Learning how to manage time efficiently is going to be a life-saver.
In this article, we will give you some real and effective ways you can manage your time more efficiently so you can focus on making your business successful.
We all get caught up on tasks that take longer than we planned in our day-to-day lives. However, getting stuck on tasks pertaining to your small business can put you behind and keep you from accomplishing other tasks. For example, let’s say you spend about two hours a day packaging orders. Then, one day, you have more orders than usual to pack. Instead of stopping at your two-hour mark, you decide to just finish them that day. Instead of the two hours you normally spend, you now have spent four hours on packaging orders.
Next thing you know, you’re behind on making your products. You’re faced with the choice of working an extra two hours or pushing off another task. See what the problem is here? The scheduled time for order packaging was not respected. Therefore, another aspect of the business gets neglected. That, or you’re going to spend two hours of your personal time catching up.
Being a small business owner does not mean that the rest of your life and your well-being get shoved to the side. When you don’t set scheduled times and respect those boundaries you have created for yourself, it is easy to get burned out, overworked, and frustrated.
You need to remember that at the end of the day, you are only one person. Sometimes it is impossible to get everything done without intruding on your well-being and life.
That brings us to the second tip. If your business starts growing to a point where you are barely keeping up, it is time to ask for some help. To effectively manage your time, you can delegate tasks to someone else. For example, let’s go back to our packaging dilemma in tip number one. If you become overwhelmed and start spending excessive time on the packaging, how will you make new products? How will you track inventory? How will you manage the creative aspects of your business?
The answer is that you probably won’t. When your business starts to grow past the capabilities you, as one person have, you must start delegating those mundane, time-consuming tasks to someone else. You can hire someone to take care of tasks like packaging orders, or written communication, like communicating with customers and vendors. You can hire an assistant to help you organize your business or train someone to help you produce products if you hand-make your products.
It can become overwhelming trying to manage everything yourself, and there is absolutely no shame in asking for help if you need it. Remember, you’re the boss!
As a small business owner, the best way to learn how to manage your time efficiently will come from learning to plan ahead. Tons of unforeseen circumstances can pop up when you are running the show on your own.
Have a plan on how to deal with these things, and plan for things like late vendor shipping or extra orders on certain weeks in advance. When you plan ahead, you will be prepared when these things happen and won’t fall behind or struggle to deal with them. Think about your weeks ahead of time. Ask yourself questions like these.
What personal things going on might get in the way of the time you intend to spend working on your small business? Do you need to place any new orders for items running low in stock? Is there a holiday coming up that may increase the number of orders you get? Do you have any tasks left over from the previous week that you need to complete?
Getting ahead of the game will keep you from going into crisis mode when things get extra busy.
The best way to make sure you achieve all your tasks and goals is to set deadlines for yourself and stick to them as best you can. I’m not just talking about big monster-sized deadlines either, make deadlines building up to the end goal deadline. For example, let’s say you are planning on launching a new product for your store. Don’t just set a deadline for July tenth. How are you going to reach your goal without a guide to getting there?
Instead, make short deadlines leading up to July tenth. Set a deadline for creatively developing your product, doing a trial mock-up, testing it out, working out kinks, and then launching your product.
Giving each specific task a deadline is not only going to make your goal more achievable, it will also make the process a lot more smooth and a lot less stressful.
Not every task is going to be as important as the next. When learning how to manage time efficiently, learn how to prioritize your tasks. When you make your list of to-dos for each workday, make sure you organize things by priority. You can put off some tasks if you run out of time. However, the things that you must complete that day need to take priority in your schedule.
Our surroundings impact our focus and our mindset. All of that impacts our efficiency. Give yourself the gift of a workspace that feels comfortable and welcoming to you. Free from distractions and anything that will negatively impact your workflow.
If you work better with some calm music in the background, play it. If lighting a scented candle is more your thing, go for it. Whatever it is that gives you those feel-good feelings. Make the space feel good to you.
This one is super important! When you are a small business owner, it becomes very easy to mix business and personal life together. Do not make the mistake of doing this! Keep a separate planner for work and a separate planner for your personal affairs. Especially if you run your small business from home, it can feel like you are at work twenty-four seven.
Separating your work life from your personal life will help give you a healthy work-life balance and make you manage your time more efficiently.
Remember, you are a human being, not a robot. Nobody is capable of being productive constantly. You’re going to have an off day and get less work done. You’re going to have to take a break during your workday. It is inevitable.
Instead of pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion or burnout, schedule breaks for yourself throughout the workday. Take time to enjoy your lunch break instead of cramming your food down while working. If you start feeling stressed, take a few minutes to recenter your mind by taking a walk, meditating, or simply focusing your attention elsewhere.
When you aren’t in your best mindset, your work is going to suffer. Take the time you need to regroup before you need it. This also means that you need to take days off. You wouldn’t accept a job with an employer that gave you no days off, would you? Working for yourself is the same thing. Set your days off, and respect those boundaries.
Healthy, focused, and rested minds manage their time more efficiently. Respecting your boundaries will make your business even better because you are doing it with the best you.
Learning how to manage your time efficiently as a small business owner can be incredibly challenging. It also is not something you will be able to do perfectly right off the bat. Give yourself time and patience to get in your work groove.
If you can’t get it right away, don’t worry. The more you practice these tips, the more efficiently you will work. Remember to set boundaries for yourself and follow through with them. You can’t plan out every day perfectly, but the more you plan, the more efficient you will become at completing your daily tasks.
Another friendly reminder: treat yourself as kindly as you would wish to be treated by an employer. Take breaks, give yourself vacation days and time off. The point of being a small business owner is to take control of your time and give yourself more freedom, not less.
Eventually, after implementing these tips, you’ll find that you become a more efficient, more happy small business owner.
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