When you’re trying to get a new business up and running, there isn’t time for much. Days are spent frantically trying to complete the maximum amount of work in the shortest possible amount of time. And you’re likely still working at your 9am to 5pm in order to ensure your bills are paid.
But are you truly optimising your time as much as you can? Many of us spend much of our days flitting from task to email, instant message to phone call, Facebook to Twitter. If you find yourself stuck in that cycle of time wasting, you’ll no doubt benefit from some tips on how you can improve your time management. It can become incredibly difficult to focus on the essential tasks of setting up your business like finding office space or applying for equipment finance when you’re constantly reading emails and answering the phone.
One of the earliest examples of time management comes from US founding father Benjamin Franklin. He developed a list of 13 character traits which he wanted to improve and knew this would have a positive impact on his life. Franklin worked on one trait each week and then repeated this 13 week cycle four times in a year. He noted when he failed and succeeded. Afterwards he concluded that perfection wasn’t attainable but he had made improvements. Franklin rose early, worked consistently, thought about his day’s work and made sure to get enough rest. He invented the lightning rod, bifocals and Franklin stove among others, so he is a man who clearly knew a thing or two about prioritising his time. Here are some of the small ways you could consider implementing his methods into your schedule.
Meeting free days. It has become increasingly popular to arrange days free from meetings. This ensures you have one day each week without distraction. Popular days to avoid meeting include Monday and Friday. This way you can plan for the week ahead and reflect on the week that was.
Scheduling meetings at particular times of the day. Meetings can be particularly distracting and waste many hours, especially if you are travelling to and fro. Rather plan all your meetings at concentrated times, so you have mornings or afternoons free to get to work.
Limiting distractions. Perhaps the most important piece of advice we can all learn from. Close your email, Skype and hide your cellphone in a drawer. It is extremely unlikely anything terrible will happen if you don’t reply within a few hours. But you will be able to get so much more done without constant interruptions.
Try to make a few, small changes to your schedule and see if you notice any changes. It is likely you’ll find yourself able to get more work done and feel less stressed.