If you’re a business owner, you probably have an ever-growing list of tasks you'd like to accomplish. You might often feel like you could grow your business exponentially faster if you only had more time. And the truth is that while you can’t stretch time, you can get more done following certain tips. In some cases, adding certain tools to your collection could also help but what’s more important that, is the ability to shift your mindset and daily habits. Here are four productivity and time management tips to help you fit more into your busy schedule.
Find The Right Planning System
There’s many apps and tools that can help you managing your time, tracking your progress and remove distractions. The trick is to find a system that works for you. Maybe you find it easier to write your to-do list down in a notebook so you need to invest in fancy apps. But, if you're frequently on your laptop or smartphone, it might be useful to use an app such as Google Keep, Workflow, Evernote, among others.
The one principle you must keep in mind when it comes to productivity tools is not to overcomplicate matters. There are apps for teams and collaboration such as Trello or Slack, if you’re a solo business owner, you don't need these. Likewise, if a pen and notebook have always worked for you, don’t feel obligated to change to a high-tech tool just because it's available. There's also plenty of middle ground. A simple notes-style app on a smartphone, for example, is sufficient for to-do lists. On the other hand, there are apps that can really help you be more productive. StayFocused, for example, helps you avoid distractions such as social media sites when you're trying to work.
Learning to prioritize is one of the most vital time management skills you can master. Working off a to-do list that’s not arranged in any particular order, can do more harm than good. You can start out with such a list but always take the time to rearrange it based on the urgency and time needed for each task. If not, you can go down your to-do list checking off trivial tasks while leaving critical ones undone. What’s usually advice when prioritizing tasks, it’s to start out with the one that takes the longest, the most difficult or most urgent.
Keep Parkinson's Law In Mind
Parkinson's Law states that "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." These words date back to 1955 when they appeared in The Economist. They are just as relevant today as ever before, though. The point is that how long something takes is largely a matter of perception. If you schedule a meeting for an hour, that's how long it will take. If you made it 30 minutes instead, you'd most likely get the same amount accomplished in half the time.
Parkinson's Law covers many situations, but it doesn't apply to everything. Complex or labor-intensive tasks can only be stripped down so much. Similarly, if it takes you 40 minutes to drive from your place of business to home in normal traffic, that's about how long it takes – end of the story. Nonetheless, other items on your task list probably can be adjusted. Meetings, for example, phone calls, answering emails and many writing tasks (ads, emails, blog posts, etc.). In many cases, the idea that something takes a certain number of minutes or hours is merely a habit. Take a look at everything you and figure out where you can be more efficient by simple giving yourself less time to do it.
Gain More Time By Doing Less
You and everyone else have a fixed amount of time. The only way to create more time is to stop doing certain things. If you take an honest look at how you actually spend time, you will almost certainly find ways to clear at least a few hours each week from your schedule. Ask yourself, how much time do you spend browsing social media, streaming Netflix or watching YouTube videos? Everyone needs some relaxation and entertainment but if you spend hours every day browsing memes, watching cat videos, Friends reruns or highlights from 1990s Super Bowl games (or whatever your weakness may be), you could probably save a couple of hours per week here and use the time in a more productive way.
Another way to free up time is to think carefully before committing to tasks and appointments. Consider things like how much time it’s likely to take, what the benefit is and if you really want or need to do it, before saying yes. Saying "yes" out of obligation or because you underestimated how long it will take can consume many hours of your tim
Being more productive helps you build a more successful business. It helps you feel more positive about your entire life and helps you reduce stress. It also makes it easier to set priorities. When you're organized and don't overcommit yourself, you can develop a laser-like focus and give your full attention to the task at hand.