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10 Time Management at Work Tips | Focus on Your Business | Staples® | Business Hub |®

10 Tips for Better Time Management at Work

by Liz Hester, Staples® Contributing Writer

Many of us struggle to find enough time in the day to accomplish all that we need to do, but the crunch can be even more difficult for those working in a small business. Here are 10 tips to help you find time to focus on your business.

Tip #1: Work on Your Business Every Day

It's important to accomplish something related to your business every day, whether it’s your full time gig or not. While the amount of time per day can vary, having the discipline to plan, organize or target customers daily will keep you moving forward. “It’s about getting regimented around where you’re putting your energy,” says Lorin Beller, a life and business strategist for entrepreneurs based in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA, as well as the author of From Entrepreneur to Big Fish: 7 Principles to Wild Success. “That which you give energy to, grows.”

Tip #2: Have a Clear Vision

It’s easier to focus on your business when you know what you’re trying to achieve. Beller suggests writing a one-page summary of your goals. “There are good days and bad, so use that as your guiding light and keep putting one foot in front of the other,” she recommends.

Tip #3: Use a System for Time Management

Andrea Ferguson, founder and president of AndiSites Inc., a Web design and development company in Chapel Hill, NC, uses a popular time management and productivity system, David Allen’s Getting Things Done®, which she’s adapted to suit her work style. “You need to personalize any system to real life and your circumstances,” she says. “That’s useful for helping break things down and making sure I’m accomplishing things.”

Tip #4: Schedule Key Tasks

Scheduling tasks helps you work more efficiently and not get distracted. Ferguson starts each day reading emails and responding to those that require three minutes or less. The others she schedules time to work on later after critical tasks are completed.

Tip #5: Take Breaks

Don’t underestimate the value of downtime, which helps your brain recharge and clears your thinking. Dr. Scott Testa, director of the Entrepreneur and Business Boot Camp at Villanova University, likes to go on predawn runs or bike rides. “That time unfocused on the business and exercising allows me to focus on the business,” he says. “It’s counterintuitive, but it helps me focus on what is important.”

Tip #6: Commit to Yourself

Making a commitment to yourself and following through with it increases your self-confidence about the business, Beller says. Setting goals and having the discipline to accomplish them makes it easier to focus on your business since you’re making progress.

Tip #7: Combine Tasks Intelligently

Multi-tasking isn’t always productive, but a smart combination of tasks is. For instance, Ferguson skips music in favor of listening to podcasts and audiobooks on business topics during her daily run. “I’m getting my education in, but also making the run go by faster,” she says.

Tip #8: Set & Honor Priorities

Reduce chaos by putting high-value tasks first. “I recently worked with someone who was so incredibly overwhelmed by the amount of work he had to accomplish that when I simply pointed out that some things were more important than others, it took a huge weight off his shoulders,” recalls Denver strategic consultant Walt Boyle.

Tip #9: Outsource Weaknesses

Focus on the things you’re good at and enjoy doing — hire help for the rest. “I’m a firm believer in outsourcing your weaknesses and insourcing your strengths,” Testa says. “If you’re a good accountant, that’s the thing you should focus on and then hire someone to help with marketing and PR.”

Tip #10: Keep Moving Forward

“If we stop managing our time, we’re not moving forward,” Beller says. So keep going if you don’t always successfully manage every minute. It’s like walking a tightrope, she says. “If we stop, we fall.”

Time management at work is essential for small business owners. Follow these tips to keep you and your business on the right track.


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