Many believe that after you start your own business, you become totally free to choose when to work and for how long. However, this is a huge misconception: you need to work hard and dedicate a lot of time to your business for it to grow and for you to make a profit.
Nevertheless, the number of working hours spent daily on your business rarely reflects the efficiency of the process, as you may have already experienced it yourself. A busy businessman is not always a successful one. For instance, you could spend two hours fulfilling the same task you (or someone else) could actually do in 30 minutes. Or, you could be panicking every once in a while asking yourself how to find time to do something.
This is why the words “time management” are all the rage nowadays – they are like a promise to cure you from wasting your time and to teach you how to use your time efficiently, as found in various time management articles. We couldn’t resist sharing some of our experience in time management with you, so make yourself comfortable and dive into this topic with us.
Before We Start
What does time management mean, exactly? These two words are used in so many articles, yet it is rarely revealed what they actually mean. However, we need to be on the same page regarding what it is before we can take a closer look at various methods and tips for time management.
Time management is, first and foremost, the art of optimizing the way you work to minimize the amount of time spent. We can master this art by planning our time and sticking to those plans. Bad time management is, in turn, lack of planning and control over it, which results in the inefficient use of time.
Before we dive into various time management methods, you need to know how you are spending your time right now, i.e. how much time fulfilling different tasks takes. On average, if you are a solo entrepreneur doing everything on your own, most of the time required to maintain an e-commerce site is spent on:
- administrating the website (adding/deleting pages, editing information, etc.);
- processing orders;
- answering questions from existing and potential customers;
- dealing with suppliers (and you also need time to build new partnerships!), etc.
The Importance of Time Management for You & Your Business
There is one thing we often seem to forget: time is a resource that is irrevocable. It is priceless because we can’t buy more time at a shop. Yet, we are all equal in terms of how much time we have: 24 hours per day. So, it is up to us how we use this resource. This is why the importance of time management can hardly be ever overestimated, as well as the importance of time itself.
In terms of running a business, you need to be efficient, and therefore productive, to achieve the business goals you set. If you master the art of time management and make sure you don’t waste any time, there are countless benefits for you and your business, including:
- becoming more efficient and more productive (as any time management blog would suggest);
- getting to have more personal time as the result (you don’t have to be busy all the time);
- improving the key performance indicators that you have set for your business;
- reaching your objectives faster, making more room for growing your business;
- getting better at decision making as you have more time to consider all the pros and cons;
- being less stressed as you feel that you are in control of your time and everything goes as planned.
6 Time Management Methods Worth Trying
Time management for small business has its specifics as it is all about how you set your working processes. This is why not every time management article is applicable or even relatable for entrepreneurs. Fear not: we have prepared a list of 6 time management tips for professionals that you should try. Enjoy!
1. Automate Everything You Can
We are certain there are some regular tasks on your list that you can automate. We are living in a beautiful world full of apps and extensions to make your life easier, so why not use them?
For instance, if you are still scheduling all the posts manually on different social media platforms, there are many apps that allow doing it in one place (i.e. in the app itself) and posting them on several platforms in one click.
Or, you can set an automatic response to emails and other messages to make sure the sender feels valued without spending tons of time replying to them yourself.
2. Get Ready to Outsource
Even though it may be a bit scary (or challenging) to do, outsourcing does miracles for your schedule. We are not suggesting you should outsource every single thing; however, we are certain that there are some processes that can be outsourced.
For instance, if you are still processing hundreds of orders yourself, ask yourself whether this is a rational approach. You can find a company that can do this for you, and you’ll have more time to focus on strategic things, such as growing your business and expanding your customer base. The same applies to shipping orders.
3. Schedule Every Task on Your To-Do List
To-do lists are extremely popular; however, they have proven not to be enough. If you have a long list of tasks that are not sorted by any deadlines, you will try to be a Superman and do all the tasks, and you’ll end up frustrated as the result because it is rarely possible to achieve this.
What you can do instead is tell yourself: “So, today I will be scheduling posts for social media for one hour, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.” Done? Now add that to your calendar (and remember to set a reminder notification!). This is how you make this task time-bound and, consequently, you make yourself more invested in completing it.
4. Concentrate on Your Task
This time management method is not really breaking news – we are often told that we need to be focused if we want to be productive. Pay attention – this means no multi-tasking! Yes, you are not hallucinating – research has shown that you’ll spend more time doing the tasks if you switch between them than if you do them one at a time.
Besides, it also means you shouldn’t get distracted by anything or anyone to get yourself “in the zone”. So, find a place where no one is likely to disturb you and make sure there is no film playing in the background.
5. Stop Procrastinating
You can’t complain about the lack of time for working if you binge-watch a whole season of your favorite TV series on the weekends. Sure, it is important to have some “me-time” to relax and restore your energy; however, there is a clearly visible line between rest and procrastination.
Procrastination means that you know you need to do something but you keep watching YouTube or a TV series, surf websites with memes, etc. The key to avoiding procrastination is to realize when you are resting and when you are procrastinating.
6. Use Your Waiting Time
Remember that we have only 24 hours a day? Unfortunately, we have to waste some of it waiting for stuff – for instance, when we are waiting for the doctor to see us or in huge queues if we are unlucky.
However, waiting time is still time – the oh-so-precious resource we shouldn’t be wasting. What you can do is use your waiting time to do something beneficial. Examples of the time-management strategy of using waiting time is updating your to-do list, scheduling your tasks, checking the stats or messages, etc.
The Bottom Line
The importance of time management will never stop being a hot topic. There are countless time management YouTube videos and articles on time management out there, which only proves one point: time management is more than just important, it is crucial. This is especially true for time management in business as it is not a piece of cake. However, if you try the methods we have shared with you, you will get one step closer to being more productive in operating and growing your business. All you need to do is to start with one of the methods and keep going.