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28thJul2016

Innovative Time Management Tips for Small Business Owners

Innovative Time Management Tips for Small Business Owners

Do you feel that you waste a lot of time at work trying to keep up with your tasks, projects and deadlines? In this day and age, there are innovative tools that can help you tackle your workload and be more productive than ever.  

In this article, we give you a crash course on modern time management tips for small business ownersthat help you structure your workday. You will learn:

  • • To define why (exactly) you waste time;
  • • Why multitasking is no longer considered effective;
  • • More about popular apps that help you manage your time; and,
  • • And how long it takes to learn a new habit.

There’s no time to waste, so let’s get started.

Helpful Time Management Tips for Small Business Owners

Top Reasons You’re Your Worst Enemy

In order to build better time management skills, you must first understand your unique problem with time. So if you’re researching how to better manage your time at work, chances are you fall into one of these listed problem areas.

• Project Procrastination

The act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially when it comes to something requiring immediate attention. 

• Micromanagement Issues

Micromanaging consists of trying to control or manage all the small parts of something (such as an activity) in a way that is usually not wanted or that causes problems.

• Understaffed and Overworked

Understaffing is not having enough workers (or a staff that is too small) to successfully run a business. This forces SMB owners or employees to work too long and too hard.  

• “Busy Worker” Bee

Busy work can refer to activity that is undertaken to pass time (used to maintain an appearance of activity) but in and of itself has no actual value.

• #FoMO #Nomophobic

Fear of missing out or FoMO is the worry that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent. This Digital Age issue leads to nomophobia (a combination of the words no, mobile and phobia), a fear of being without your smartphone.

“When I have one week to solve a seemingly impossible problem, I spend six days defining the problem. Then, the solution becomes obvious.” – Albert Einstein

Discover your main issue with time and start to build a solution that works specifically for your core problem area(s).

Why Multitasking Isn’t Recommended

The next step in our time management tips for small business owners is understanding that multitasking is not effective. Recent research suggests, “that multitaskers are less productive, lack concentration and even suffer long term damage as a result of frequent multitasking.” 

When you try to complete a variety of tasks simultaneously, you’re going to fall behind. Since your brain cannot keep up with multiple projects at the same time, you’re going to negatively impact your service. Your business doesn’t need the negative baggage that comes with spreading yourself too thin.

Multitasking leads to:

  • • Decreasing the quality of customer service due to lack of focus.
  • • Increasing minor and major errors due to lack of attention to detail.
  • • Emotional and physical stress due to lack of time to properly complete each task.  

In their article, How Multitasking Hurts Your Brain, Forbes shares, “It has been scientifically demonstrated that the brain cannot effectively or efficiently switch between tasks, so you lose time. It takes four times longer to recognize new things so you’re not saving time; multitasking actually costs time.”

Popular Apps That Help With Time Management

The good news is that there are modern resources out there that can help you combat any difficulties you have in managing your work schedule. You’ll have to perform your own research on popular time management apps that are supported on your smartphone.

But, we always want to get you started on the right track, so here are some core time management solutions to look for. Just remember that there are apps out there for virtually everything; keep searching until you find one that best suits you.

• Time Tracking Apps | Track How You Spend Every Minute of Your Day

Start tracking your work days to build a database showing you exactly where your time goes in detail. This can be as simple as starting a timer on your smartphone or computer and keeping a record of how you spend your average workday.  

Toggl claims to, “improve productivity by letting you know how much time you use on different daily tasks.” Their Android app has over 100,000 users and their iPhone app has over 1.55 million iPhone Togglers.

• Day Planner Apps | Make a Schedule in Hourly Increments

Dominate an 8-hour workday by carefully and strategically planning out all 40 hours in the week. Segment your time and create a strict routine for completing these common tasks:

  • • Reviewing Emails
  • • Returning Phone Messages
  • • Drafting Correspondence
  • • Attending Staff Meetings
  • • Conducting Internet Research
  • • Personal Browsing of Social Sites
  • • Lunch and Break Schedule

Business Weekly shares articles that review the top 6 apps to plan your workday for both iPhones and Androids.

• Distraction Eliminator Apps | Stay Off the Internet

If you have reliable self-control when it comes to staying offline, you won’t need an app to tell you not to cruise the internet. But if you’re like most professionals, it’s painful not to check your Facebook or Twitter notifications when your phone beeps at you.  

There are apps that disconnect your internet for a predetermined amount of time. Other distraction elimination apps remove access to programs and features that you don’t need when performing specific tasks.

PC World shares 9 Apps to Shut Up the Internet and Get Back to Work to walk you through some popular options out there to eliminate internet distractions.

• Calendar Management Apps | Have Your Schedule at Your Fingertips

The majority of business professionals rely on their smartphones to let them know of upcoming meetings, deadlines, etc. Since you’re now tracking all moments of your workday to stay efficient, having a calendar app is most helpful.

The majority of calendar solutions have apps that can be used on multiple devices. If you’re not happy with the standard calendar you’ve been using to schedule with, there’s plenty of alternatives available. Since you’re going to start tracking and planning your schedule in intervals of 60 minutes or less, you need an app that you like.

CNET reviews the most popular calendar apps out there and shares the pros and cons of each solution. Their helpful article details the good and bad of these apps in particular:

  • • Google Calendar
  • • Cal
  • • Sunrise
  • • Tempo
  • • Fantastical 2
  • • Horizon Calendar
  • • SolCalendar

• Task Timer Apps | Consider Using the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique focuses on breaking up your workday into small increments of time. More specifically, “You use a timer to break your work into focused time blocks (usually 25 minutes) separated by a 5-minute break. After 4 consecutive working time blocks, take a longer break, around 15 or 20 minutes.”

Although 25 minutes is the suggested time blocks for extreme focus, you can modify the timeframes to meet your needs. As long as you use a timer to remind you when to take a break and when to return to your project, you’ll be using the Pomodoro Technique correctly.

Click here to read Zapier’s Review of these 5 Popular Pomodoro Time Apps: 

  • • Focus Booster
  • • PomoDone
  • • Pomodoro Keeper
  • • Marina Timer
  • • Pomodoro Time Pro

How Long Does it Take to Change a Bad Habit?

Mismanaging your work schedule is just a bad habit. The good thing about bad habits is you can adopt new, good habits to help you with your new routine.    

“On average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.” So as you start to work on these bad time management habits, take comfort in knowing that you can change and redirect your routines in just 66 days.

You’re not expected to follow these time management tips for small business owners overnight. Cut yourself a break if you slip, but try to commit to these solutions for at least 2 months straight. 

We Hope You Take Advantage of These Time Management Tips for Small Business Owners!

Our team wishes you the best of luck in your attempts to be as productive as possible. If you want to outsource your business calls to a professional virtual answering service, we’ve got you covered. Allow us to give you the freedom to complete your new strict schedule by screening your incoming calls.

Give us a call at 1-800-785-6161 or click here to request a custom quote from our account specialist.

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