Time suckers cause anxiety for every business owner, but the time suckers that are the biggest problem are the ones you aren’t aware of. Innocent activities that you do out of habit can cause a lot of time suckage. Turning on your email, sending email and social media to your mobile phone, having an “open door” policy for employees, contractors and even kids can all lead to little minutes of time being stolen from you that can add up to several hours a week and in some cases several hours a day.
Therefore the secret to time-management success it not to manage your time but manage what you do with your time. After all, time is static. There is no way to actually increase the amount of time in a day. You’re stuck with what nature gave us. You can do a few things to feel like you have more time, such as delegate, outsource, plan and schedule your time strategically so that you can focus on your core income producing tasks most of the time.
You may have thought that starting your own business would alleviate punching a clock and tracking your time. Maybe you dreamed about suddenly taking the afternoon off and heading to the beach, or perhaps you simply thought having a business wouldn’t be so much like work. Then you found yourself overwhelmed with all this W.O.R.K. to do and you started feeling disillusioned about being a business owner. That’s when it hits, that you have to find the secret to time-management so that you can create not only success in your business, but success in your life.
Some time suckers that you may or may not be aware of and how to deal with them:
Social Media — While social media is a fabulous way to attract attention to your business it can also be a tremendous time sucker. It’s too easy to get side tracked in reading your family & friends updates and playing games for hours. Separate your work social media from your personal social media and schedule the time you will spend on social media. Use personal social media on personal time.
Email — Today we are so impatient that if someone doesn’t answer our email’s almost immediately it gives us anxiety. But, the truth is, it would be best to schedule when you will handle email, and if you can, outsource some of this task so you only see important emails. Deal with email the way you do with snail mail. Handle it once, read it, do what is needed, then file it away or delete it.
Mobile Technology — When you’re working, don’t have every email and social media update go directly to your mobile. Do have a way for people to reach you in true emergencies, which you have defined for them, but when you are working, ignore email, ignore your phone. You don’t have to be continuously connected to be successful. In fact, you shouldn’t be.
Non-income Tasks — Limit non income tasks until after you’ve completed the number of billable hours that you need to meet your financial needs. By focusing most of your time on income producing tasks you’ll find that some of the other things you thought were important, just aren’t.
Family & Friends — A lot of times if you’re a business owner your family and friends seem to not realize how busy you are and think you can just take off time any moment that you want to. It is important to be direct with both family and friends regarding the amount of time you have during business hours. Simply make a statement that if it’s not an emergency that you’ll have to get back with them, and set a time and follow through. Eventually they will learn that your business is important to you and to work around business hours.
Home Life — Millions of working moms and dads have trouble balancing their work and home life but it can be even more difficult when you are a small business owner. As the owner of your business, you do have more ability to be flexible with your time, but be realistic when you set up your working schedule and store hours if you have a bricks and mortar business.