If you ask a business owner what their most previous resource is, they’ll usually give one of a few answers. Money is the most common, while others say their employees, community, or family. What is less stated is the one resource that can never be replenished or gained back – time. Once you waste your time with something, you can never get it back again. Some busier business owners understand this, but newer ones haven’t yet learned how to utilize their time effectively.
Business Coach Jeff Lovejoy of Atlanta spoke about effective Time Management techniques at the Nov. 28 meeting of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers. GABB meetings start at 10:30 a.m. at the Atlanta Realtors Center at 5784 Lake Forrest Dr. NW, Atlanta, GA 30328. The meeting was preceded at 9:45 a.m. with a free networking session with coffee and pastries sponsored by GABB Affiliate Leigh Milton, Senior Vice President, Small Business Administration Lending, of CharterBank.
Business owners that don’t have enough time to do things usually have the same problems: they don’t delegate tasks well, they don’t prioritize tasks, and/or they aren’t well-organized in their day-to-day life. These issues are as simple to fix as they are common; most of the time, you only need to make a slight change in how you accomplish or go about completing certain tasks in order to squeeze more productivity in the time that you use.
Every person responds differently to the many time-management solutions that exist. If you aren’t sure how to go about using your time more effectively, consider applying some of the following tips. That will help you gain a greater understanding of what does and doesn’t work for you.
1. Plan out your day
If you find that your day tends to be rather chaotic, consider investing in a planner and writing out how your day will progress. Don’t try to rigidly adhere to it (since unexpected events can cause your plans to change), but make an effort to stick to it as best as you can. For added effect, sort out your tasks by priority and urgency. This will help you directly visualize the relative importance and impact of each task.
2. Break down large tasks into smaller ones
Having a colossal task in front of you can be very overwhelming. If you have to clean your entire house within a day, you might not even know where to get started. Instead of looking at it as cleaning the house, instead break it down by room. This way, you still get the work done while making it seem much more reasonable.
3. Organize your life
This goes somewhat in hand with item #1, but this tip speaks in a more general sense. If you aren’t using a filing cabinet, get one. If your inventory is a mess, start tracking it. Make use of technology – computers can be your best friend! Organizing your home and business life won’t just make things run more smoothly – it’ll positively affect your psyche. there is a big difference when you come home to a very dirty desk versus a clean one.
Yep, we’re going to say it again. If you don’t know how to tell somebody to do something, learn. You cannot be in four places at once, so find three other employees and tell them to do three of those tasks. Micro-managing is both a morale and a productivity killer, and many bosses fall afoul of this in some way. If your employees can’t be trusted to perform a certain task, that is YOUR fault. Train them well so that they can, and your life will be made so much easier.
5. Don’t strive for perfectionism
Instead, strive for excellence. Pushing your team to do better is a fantastic goal, and one that will enable your business to reach new heights. But straight perfectionism is impossible – we’re only human, after all. Demanding perfection from your team will only contribute to stress and a lack of trust in faith in you as a leader. Business owners who demand perfectionism are also frequently micromanagers; that is a toxic combination that will do a lot of damage to your team’s psyche over the long term.
6. Just say no.
That’s it. The two most powerful words ever spoken, and you can say them at any time. You don’t necessarily need to give a reason for it, either – if you don’t want to do something or don’t want something done, just say no. You are never obligated to say yes to somebody or something.
About Jeff Lovejoy: With more than 25 years of experience building and leading corporate teams in the financial industry under his belt, Jeff brings a passion like no other to the practice he formed in 2008 as a Public Speaker and Business Coach with ActionCOACH.
Jeff has found that a great many smart people are unable to find their way to true success. While their innate or developed skills and talents have carried them to a point of significant achievement, they still can’t quite reach that golden ring.
By helping them define and develop processes and systems and an infrastructure to support their goals, Jeff helps clients in closing that final gap, often reaching culmination in both their professional and personal life.