It’s time to take back control and use these seven key time management strategies while running your business! It’s time to start making your life easier and enjoyable once more, starting today!
If learning and using time management strategies isn’t on your to-do list, it should be. Small business owners across New Zealand have continually identified one big problem: time. There’s never enough time to do everything, and that leads to high levels of stress, burnout and ill health.
Sam, too has a problem with time. As parents running our own businesses, we’re often pulled in different directions each day. From managing the household, caring for the kids, balancing the books and dealing with the customers, we feel completely frazzled.
How about you? Like us, do you:
- Run out of time to get everything done?
- Worry about the work you don’t have time to do?
- Miss important deadlines?
- Never update your website?
- Ignore all of your paperwork till the last minute?
- Struggle to spend quality time with your family?
Then learning about and using effective time management strategies is vital for you. We’ve put together below, a collection of what we believe are the best time management strategies for small business owners. We’ll also explain why outsourcing is one of the best time management tools, and show you how to find the right person to outsource too.
You can also read more about our struggles in the articles Do You Need a Virtual Assistant? and Your Guide to Overcoming Common Business Challenges.
7 Time Management Strategies for Business Owners
Time management is a huge secret. Okay, so it’s not really a huge secret, but managing time efficiently is something which many business owners and entrepreneurs struggle with. Managing your time is quite easy when you have all the tools and solutions available to you.
Time is the most precious commodity you have, whether it is time to work on growing your business or the time you would like to spend with your families and friends. Unfortunately for many people, time is in short supply because you are so busy. This usually results in sacrifices being made which you are not always so comfortable with.
Here are seven strategies we think are worth sharing with you:
- Limit your time online – being online can be fun, entertaining and is certainly a must-do task when running a business. But it’s also a huge time waster. Scrolling your social media feeds, checking for messages, watching videos and looking for information is really time-consuming. Before you know it, three hours of your day are gone! Set yourself a time limit for social media; there are even tools within Facebook and Instagram which you can use to help you.
- Take control of your emails – another time-sucking job is reading, answering and organising emails. You can reduce the number of emails you get by unsubscribing to newsletters you don’t want, or using a different email address you don’t need to check daily. You can also mark your emails by importance, helping you organise them. Scheduling times to check your emails each day also helps you take control back.
- Know when you work best – Are you a morning person or are you a night owl? Learn what time of the day you feel most energised. This is the best time to sit down and get your work done.
- Tackle and block – Blocking time on your calendar will drastically change the way you approach your day. To avoid bouncing from one activity to the next, batch your days into themes and keep like activities on the same day.
- Set office hours – Once you know what time you are most productive, it will be easier to set boundaries and set office hours. Let your customers and clients know these are the times you will be readily available. Knowing how to establish boundaries and being intentional with your time will help you keep your sanity. It will also make you an even more efficient with the time you have available.
- Use the 4-D system – there are four things to the 4-D system: do it (if it will take you less than two minutes), delay it (mark in your diary a time to do it), delegate it (give it to someone else to do) and delete it (if you don’t need to do or know anything about it).
- Outsource – as small business owners, we often have to wear many hats. The problem with that is some of those hats just don’t fit us as well as they do somebody else. That’s where outsourcing work comes into play. By using the talents of another professional such as a Virtual Assistant, Graphic Designer or Copywriter, you are freeing up time to devote to working specifically on what you do best for your business.
Which of these time-saving strategies will you use first? Sam is ready to outsource her work, and we think you should consider it too. We’ll explain why next.
Why Outsourcing is One of the Best Time Management Strategies
Effective business owners and managers recognise which tasks they can do cost-effectively and which they need to outsource. They acknowledge that they cannot do it all and delegate tasks to others to complete on their behalf.
Technology has made outsourcing extremely easy for businesses to do nowadays. Finding a competent and experienced person or company to assist you is as simple as using Google or asking a friend for a recommendation. Communicating is mostly done via phone or email and at a time which suits you. Your work is done remotely from their place of work, saving you space and money. They only work when you need them to, again letting you keep more money in your pockets.
Non-core business activities, such as administrative tasks, sending newsletters, website content or graphic design can often be completed quicker and more cost-effectively when outsourced. This gives you the time needed to work on achieving other tasks which are more suited to your skills and earn revenue for your business. By completing tasks which are more suited to your strengths rather than weaknesses, you will be more productive with your time, allowing you to get even more work done.
The end result is, you get your time back to do the things you really want to do. Let us show you how to get things started.
Finding the Right Virtual Assistant to Help You
The first virtual assistant you find may not be the right one for you. On the other hand, they may be. What we’re getting at is each VA has a unique set of skills, experiences, knowledge and personality. It takes time to research and make a shortlist of VAs and then to interview each one individually. To do this successfully, there are four things you’ll need to do:
- Decide What You Need
Hiring a VA is really all about you and your business. After all, that is what they are going to be looking after. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I need help doing? Write a list of all the tasks you do regularly and include the tasks you should be doing. We have a handy checklist if you are not sure.
- How important are your tasks? Rank your tasks in order of most to least importance, this will help you identify which tasks you should be outsourcing.
- Do I have ongoing work or just one-off jobs I need help with? This can determine how much VA services will cost.
- Do I need my work done before a certain date? VA’s need to know when you need the work completed by.
- Write an Advertisement
When you are hunting for the right VA, writing a job ad for them is a great idea. But don’t stress, it is not one which will be posted anywhere for people to apply to. Instead, you will use it to help you identify the exact requirements you need in your virtual assistant before you seek them out. The type of skills and experience you require, the number of hours you want to hire their services for and even your budget is important to have nutted out before you start looking.
- Tick the Right Boxes
Now is the time to start researching for your perfect VA. Searching online and asking other business owners for recommendations are great ways to come up with a list of possible candidates. Then once you have your list finished, it is time to research each one by checking references and testimonials, as well as their websites.
Contact your preferred choices through phone and email, as this helps you to assess their verbal and written communication skills. Make sure that they tick all the right boxes for your job ad and if not, seek out another.
If you can’t decide, give each one you like a trial task to complete.
- Hire a Virtual Assistant
Congratulations! You have now made one of the best decisions for your business! Hiring a VA gives you back your time, which as a small business owner is one of the most precious commodities you’ll ever have. Remember that to make the most of your VA’s time, ensure they know which work goals you’d like them to help you achieve and the deadlines you need the tasks completed by.