Top Time Management Skills & Tips Every Business Owner Should Know About
Below, we’ll look at some of the essential time management skills & tips you should be aware of as a business owner.
Time is your most precious resource, so it’s critical you stay as efficient as possible when running your business.
The most crucial time management skill is to understand & calculate the value of your time. If the value of one hour of your time exceeds the cost of hiring someone to work for an hour then you should outsource the task instead of doing it yourself.
Are you starting a business? Check out our step by step: How to set up a business.
How To Calculate The Value Of Your Time
An important exercise to complete before working on your time management skills is to calculate the financial value of your time.
For this example, we will be using a sole trader who wants to earn 100k per year.
In Australia, to earn 100k as a sole trader, you would need to make a gross profit of 140k per annum.
This is because you need to factor in GST, super contributions, and leave allowances. You also need to consider any insurances as you are not an employee; you will need to provide your own.
This would average out to $2693 in gross profit per week.
Let’s also assume your workweek is the normal 40 hours; in this case, you would need to produce your weekly profit within that allocated 40hours.
This would also average out to $67.03 per hour based on $2693 of profit for the week (we have not included any breaks)
This means an hour of your time is worth $67.03 at a minimum.
($140,000 / 52 Weeks = $2693)
($2693 / 40hrs = $67.03)
Time Management Killers
Working on your time management skill is an excellent way of becoming more productive within your business and in your life personally.
Before we delve into the essential skills and tips, we first need to understand the behaviours and everyday tasks that may be killing your businesses efficiency.
Below are some typical time killing actions and tasks within a business.
A Lack Of Motivation. A lack of motivation is the number one reason for poor time management by employees and business owners alike.
You can have all the project management tools in the world, but if you’re not motivated, you will not perform efficiently.
Emails & Messages. The time spent on emails and messages can add up to 25% of your entire workweek.
Most communication, either internally or externally, should be done over the phone or face to face if possible.
Colleague Interactions. Constant interactions with your colleagues can heavily reduce the overall time spent on more productive activities.
You should try and schedule communication sessions among teams and departments.
Micromanagement. Micromanagement is a driver factor of a demotivated workplace, which, as discussed, is the most significant contributor to poor time management.
In addition, the act of micromanagement is doubling up on labour costs due to the heavy involvement of multiple people in a single task.
Poor Meetings. Not planning a meeting effectively can be a drain on both time and resources.
Having a meeting when it’s not needed is another common time management mistake by many business owners.
The Top Time Management Skills
1. The Art Of Delegation
While you typically have to work alone to get your business up and running, or if you’re a sole trader, you can’t always do everything yourself.
Understanding and learning to delegate will become a crucial time management skill if your aim is to be more productive.
Offloading the less valuable tasks as discussed previously will give you more time to focus on growing the business and generating revenue.
Note: You can use a marketplace like Fiverr to hire freelancers for just about any task. Fiverr is a global marketplace which means you may be able to leverage great talent in less expensive countries.
You can hire employees, outsource to freelancers, or use a managed service to get the job done.
You will need to invest some initial time training the people you hire to your standard; however, once completed, you can assign them the required work and be confident they will be able to complete it.
2. Mapping Your Workflow
To improve time management, you first need to understand and identify your workflow.
Knowing how to map out your workflow physically and all the associated tasks is a skill that will pay dividends in the long run.
If you’re unsure how to tackle this, we advise you to track every activity and task you work on for an entire month.
Once this has been completed, you will have a detailed understanding of your workflow and be able to map it out in a spreadsheet or project management tool.
3.Prioritise Your Tasks
The next time management skill is to master workflow prioritisation. Understanding how to effectively prioritise your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks is crucial to becoming more efficient.
You will need to assign a value to each task, as discussed earlier, and then factor in and the deadlines associated.
By mastering task prioritisation, you will become more efficient, but you will also ensure any high-value tasks are completed first, thus helping mitigate financial risk to the business.
Important Time Management Tips
1. Create A Schedule
Don’t start your day without clear objectives. this can lead to improvisation, which in turn can lead to disorganisation, chaos and wasted time you can’t get back.
Divide your time according to your priorities – this could mean breaking down your day by the hour or having a handy ‘to-do list’ to refer to throughout the day.
You could organise Tuesday mornings for marketing, Thursday afternoons for billing or Wednesday mornings for strategy development.
An organised business will help you steer clear of surprises and stress caused by unexpected urgency.
Note: It’s also a great idea to keep a time log, to ensure your schedule remains realistic. You can automate this using a tool like Monday.com for teams or Teamwork for an Individual, team or company.
2. Use Technology
In our modern digital economy, you’ll find a wealth of smartphone apps that can help you organise your schedule and workflow.
These platforms also have dedicated mobile apps that you can use to manage all of your business’ workflows, including task tracking and creating ‘boards’ for each project you’re working on.
These can be accessed via your phone, Apple Watches and laptops – no matter your lifestyle, and no matter where you are, you can still get work done, out, or in the office.
3. Avoid Multitasking
While it may sound wise to get multiple things done at once, you probably won’t get any of those things done well.
Don’t reply to three emails at once dealing with three separate issues. Focus on one thing at a time, take a breath give everything the attention it requires; that way, you won’t have to come back later and fix any silly (or big) mistakes.
The adage applies: an ‘a stitch in time saves nine.
4. Give Your Self Space
We mean this both literally and mentally.
If your desk is full of clutter, it’s hard to work effectively. Stuff everywhere, disorganised files, empty glasses and plates with leftover food – this builds up and creates a mess that can frustrate your workflow.
But if your physical space is organised, so will your headspace.
5. Keep A Distraction Diary
Keeping a ‘distraction diary’, where you note down what interrupted you from your work and when. Analyse what happened to make you distracted and do something to stop it from happening again.
6. Work The Golden Hours
This time management tip is all about maximising the time of day you are the most energetic.
If you are a morning person, then schedule your deep work in the mornings. If you’re a night owl and work best when everyone’s asleep, focus on your business after dark.
The Cost Of Poor Time Management
Having poor time management skills can be quite costly to a businesses bottom line.
Outside the apparent reduction in output, poor time management has a flow-on effect on multiple areas of a business and impact each of these areas negatively.
In addition to a loss of output, low morale can be a by-product of poor time management as your struggle to stay on top of your workload; this, in turn, can lead to frustration and a negative outlook.
Important Note: The 80/20 rule in time management indicates that 80% of our daily tasks are trivial, while only 20% are of high value to the business.
A reduction in quality is also a symptom of poor time management skills.
If you are unorganised and constantly chasing your tail, your natural tendency will be to rush; this can then cause a severe drop in the quality of output by your business.
Below you will find resources to assist with your time management skills and strategies.