Small business owners are most often long on ambition and short on time. So in order to help you achieve the audacious goals you’re out there setting, we took some time to compile the latest advice in the business world about how to manage work time efficiently.
In asking around the office here at Webs and surfing around the internet for small business efficiency and time management tips, four major themes seem to stand out. In the interest of time (see, it’s starting already) we’re going to focus on just those four here today:
1. Stop multitasking immediately. This habit has been put on a pedestal for years in the business world as something to look for in good employees. The phrase “ability to multitask” appears in almost every job description it seems. And while this will certainly be necessary sometimes and it’s good to be able to do it, an important accompanying capacity should be the ability to focus. One skill without the other can mean unfinished work, more mistakes, and a general feeling of being overwhelmed. Studies have shown that multitasking is actually much less efficient than doing single tasks sequentially with better focus.
2. Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize. You’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule. It says that 80% of the profits you’ll see will actually only come from 20% of the products or services that you offer. This philosophy should also be applied to your work in general. There are certain tasks that will give you much more ‘bang for your buck’ in terms of moving things forward than others. The idea is to sit down and identify those products or services (and tasks) that are going to be most profitable for you, and then organize your day such that you are giving more of your energy to those items. There are two benefits to this: you’ll feel more accomplished and see greater profitability, and you know that if something has to fall by the wayside it won’t be one of your most important items.
3. Be Honest With Yourself About Being A Human. David Heinemeier Hansson of 37signals advises to “plan for 4-5 hours of real work per day.” If you consider yourself someone who works an 8-hour day, this may seem like a low estimate. But if you look at the numbers with an eye toward allowing for your own biology to factor in, it’s pretty realistic. Now, nobody is telling you to AIM for 4 hours of work per day, but when you are estimating how much time it will take you to get a project done, be aware of that reality. Why not 8 hours straight? The most science-y stat we found points to the human brain consuming more glucose (energy) to do it’s job than your other organs. It will use up your reserves in approximately 60-90 minutes. So if the work you’re doing depends on your brain, you have to give it breaks, healthy snacks, and time to recharge every hour to hour and a half if you want it to continue performing at its peak.
4. “Done is better than perfect.” If you’re looking for a motto role model for your small business, your could do a lot worse than Facebook. As is implied in their unofficial company motto, if you always expect your first crack at something to be absolutely perfect, you’ll never get off the ground. Take Facebook as an example: The number of iterations of the product we’ve seen are innumerable, but that’s what makes it continue to succeed. They came up with the best they could do at the time, launched it, and made changes as they went based on the learnings they got along the way. Start with the best work you can do at the time, and know that you will make changes and improvements as you go forward. The important thing is that you get moving in the first place. It may sound trite, but it’s true that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
Hopefully these tips will help you have a happier and more productive workday. Have some time management tips and tricks of your own? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below, or on the Webs Facebook Page!
From The Time Management Series:
Real Time Management Strategies From Real People
Spend Less Time on Social Media: Pagemodo Posts
Time Management Tips for Small Business Owners [INFOGRAPHIC]
How To Stay Fit While You Work: Ideas For Small Business Owners
How To Stop Procrastinating: Tips For Getting Unstuck
Don’t Worry, Be Happy: It’s Good For Your Business!
Save Time on Social: Keyboard Shortcuts for Facebook, Google+ and Twitter
4 Big Time Management Tips for Small Business Owners
Improve Your Efficiency Through Total Inbox Zen