As a time-strapped business leader, the early stages of shaping your organisation and gradually turning your dream into a reality are incredibly exciting — but they can also be equally demanding and sometimes a little overwhelming.
From building your company’s reputation in the marketplace, to recruiting a strong team of hardworking and reliable comrades to help drive your vision forward, an entrepreneur’s day is often varied and fast-paced.
Being savvy with time management is a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to maximising productivity, keeping a cool head, and allowing your workforce to build their knowledge and confidence in your industry.
So, here are a few pointers to effectively organise your schedule, and be a strong leader for your growing SME.
In this article:
- Prioritise according to urgency
- Set boundaries
- Separate your personal life from work
- Factor in distractions
- Enlist the help of technology
1. Prioritise according to urgency
At the beginning of each working day, try to set out a plan with a list of jobs in order of priority.
Popular methods for ordering your work are:
- The ABC method, which involves ranking work with ‘a’, ‘b’, or ‘c’ labels according to importance.
- The Pareto analysis which dictates you prioritise the 20% of your workload that will generate the biggest returns
- Eisenhower method, tackling urgent and important tasks first, followed by less important challenges.
2. Set boundaries
Although there’s a temptation to accommodate everyone and be available to your team at all times — setting limits and rules is a time management skill that pays off in the long run.
Block out portions of the day that will be ‘meeting free’ so you can tackle meatier or time-consuming tasks like responding to emails or completing paperwork. If you find that employees are regularly coming to you for advice and breaking you off from your tasks, schedule in ‘drop in’ times when you can answer their queries without disrupting your flow.
3. Separate your personal life from work
Many working professionals feel joined at the hip to their electronic devices and would be reluctant to be parted from them for any extended period.
It’s important as a business leader, to establish a healthy divide between your personal and professional life, which can be aided by switching off and stepping away from your tech when you need a bit of ‘you time’. If possible, delete access or snooze notifications to work applications on personal devices.
4. Factor in distractions
While it might feel wonderful to plan out a day with back-to-back tasks in the hope of checking them off seamlessly throughout, it’s a little unrealistic.
Anticipate distractions coming in and factor them into your plan so you don’t find yourself scrabbling against unreachable workloads. Even noting time to refuel, walk around, or take a screen break can help you feel less zapped at the end of the working day.
5. Enlist the help of technology
Use savvy tools and solutions to streamline processes, free up some of your time, and lighten the load.
Install chatbots to answer routine customer queries, calendar software to schedule meetings, and programmes like Todoist or Evernote to organise your tasks and help you manage your time better.