We have 24 hours each day (168 hours per week), with an ideal work day of 8 hours per day for five days. How often do you wish you had more hours in a day?! Do you know how to get the most out of every minute of your work day? Effective planning and time management is the backbone of productivity for you and your business. Have you investigated where you are losing time? Do a time audit by tracking time to identify time thieves. If for example you think you are only using 30 minutes to read and respond to emails, yet it is in fact eating up an hour of your day, that is an area that shows room for improvement in time management. Once you have figured out how long your typical daily work tasks take, I recommend incorporating the following 3 quick tips on effective time management.
1. Choose a system that serves your needs
To reach your goals and be successful, you must learn how to take control of your time. Successful people use a system that helps them enhance their productivity through better managing their time. A time management system combines processes, time management tools, techniques, and methods which create structure and accountability. Choosing the right system that serves your needs is the key. You should feel your chosen system empowers you rather than causes you anxiety because it is forcing you to do things differently. In choosing a system here are some aspects to look for, so ask yourself does this system do the following things for me?
- Set time limits for tasks
- Use software tools for time limits (time tracking)
- Create to-do lists
- Plan ahead through a calendar system
- Prioritize tasks
- Concentrate on one task at a time (no multitasking)
- Delegate and outsource where appropriate
- Set up an internal review process with your team
2. Flexibility AND discipline create effectiveness
So often one of the biggest mistakes I see as a business coach is inflexibility and a lack of adaptability with my clients. Something is written so they feel they must do it in a particular order and in a particular way because it has always been done that way. Strategies for time management only work if they serve you by helping you become more efficient. In business, time sensitive things will come up that need to be prioritized, so deviating by being flexible is essential to be an effective business. Here are some reasons that your strategies for time management must be flexible:
- Life happens
- Priorities change
- Every good plan can be improved
- You may finish a task quicker than anticipated and have more time available
- You may finish a task slower than anticipated and have less time available
- A team member may need help so you may need to jump in to assist them
In my business coaching services, I always advise clients that we do not want to completely abandon our chosen system. When we deviate from it, we need to reflect afterwards on why we deviated and whether that was the right decision for effectiveness. Consistency over time yields results so the long term goal is to have a system that creates structure that we can stick to but also builds in flexibility along the way.
3. Continuously improve your system
“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good” – Voltaire
There is no perfect system so stop trying to find it. You will get in your own way by trying to achieve perfection. You need to choose a system that works best for you and then continuously improve that system over time to fit your unique business needs. Some of the main ways I help businesses continuously improve their time management is through the following:
- Delegating tasks
- Prioritizing work
- Creating a schedule
- Setting deadlines
- Stopping procrastinating (also exploring why certain tasks are being avoided)
- Enhancing stress management techniques
- Stopping multitasking
- Learning to say no
- Incorporating breaks to avoid burnt out and enhance productivity
While there are many executive coaching companies out there, my advice to those seeking a business coach is to find the right fit for you personally. It is about hiring someone who has experience in the business world and who you feel comfortable having tough conversations with. Business coaching companies should help you take a system, adjust it to fit your business and help you continue to improve that system over time.
Ken Kilday, CEO/founder of Leader’s Cut: The Ken Kilday Coaching Experience, is an Executive Business Coach and EOS Implementer®. He works with business owners in companies of all sizes to implement actions, evaluate success, and adjust to new, improved habits and actions to produce repeatable and predictable outcomes independent of changing business cycles. Ken is an entrepreneur himself who has designed, built, launched, and rejuvenated successful businesses. Wondering how hiring a small business coach can help you in 2021? Contact Ken to schedule a 15-minute Meet & Greet and discover how small business coaching services can best help you and your business.