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Time is money: Tips to help you use yours well

Published on: 19 October 2017

Time is money: Tips to help you use yours well

Entrepreneurs particularly have to learn how to do it all – something that’s only possible if they learn how to manage their time.

We hear a lot about the need to encourage the creation of small, entrepreneurial businesses in order to generate jobs and grow the economy, but less is said about just how difficult it is to turn that great idea into a sustainable business that actually makes money! Many small businesses never achieve their true potential because the entrepreneur who started them is swamped by so many challenges: the need to handle business admin – running the business – and to service clients. Clearly, both are important, and the neglect of one will ultimately affect the other.

The same challenges face individuals working for more established companies, except they have colleagues and existing systems to support them. For both, learning how to manage one’s time effectively is the key to success.

Use these simple techniques to get the most of the hours you have at your disposal:

  • Set a basic time schedule, and prioritise tasks. The first thing is to understand exactly what needs to be done – sometimes this is harder than it sounds – and then work out when you will do each thing. Prioritise tasks by doing the most important ones first. This approach also gives one a sense of accomplishment and control. Remember to set time limits for tasks and spend only as much time on it as the task warrants.
  • Create optimal work conditions. Having established what needs to be done when, make sure you get through the work. Focus is essential, and you can help create it by reducing distractions. Basic techniques would be to put your cell phone on silent, close down unnecessary tabs on the PC, close the door. Also, keep your workspace clutter free: the appearance of order is soothing and conducive to orderly thinking.
  • Work smarter, not harder. As part of prioritising tasks, spend some time regularly looking at what you do and eliminate processes that are unnecessary, or streamline others. A related technique is to learn how to say no – entrepreneurs are by their nature people who see opportunities, and these can be distracting and merely add unnecessary pressure. Group similar tasks together by getting all the work related to figures done at once for instance, and then make the shift to another mode of thinking. Use tools available to your advantage, there are many project management tools at your disposal and companies offer value added services, like MiWay’s MiBusinessAssist, that can add hours to your day.
  • Make the most of time. Focus is critical, as noted above, but take a leaf out of many top achievers’ books and start your day early, when your mind is fresh and there are fewer distractions. Use an hour or two’s weekend time sensibly, it can substantially reduce pressure for the following week.
  • Turn good behaviours into habits. Habits can be great tools, or great hindrances. Consciously identify things you need to do regularly, and turn them into habits. More difficult, identify bad habits that waste time, and set out to change them.
  • Look after yourself. If you are not physically and mentally at the top of your game, all the time management in the world will be in vain. Get enough sleep (seven to eight hours is needed), exercise regularly and eat healthily. It is also important to find activities that recharge your mental and spiritual batteries through periods of quietness in your business.

We can become so focused on getting things done, that we get lost in detail and get overwhelmed. Think of how to do the things you need to do in a way that is fun. In the words of the singer Marc Anthony: “If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life.” While you’re doing what you love, let MiWay Business Insurance help you to keep your business fighting fit.