SCORE Small Business Blog

Leadership: Time Management for Small Business Owners

Get the Most Out of Your Day

One of the major stress factors in owning a small business is that there never seems to be enough hours in the day to accomplish all that needs to be done to keep the business running smoothly. As an Entrepreneur, you are constantly faced with choices about how to spend your time. You time is a valuable commodity and you can only make it go so far. Keep in mind that it’s just not how much time you have but what you do with your time that counts. Time management is all about how well you use your time. It is based on how much your time is worth and choosing activities that are the highest priority. Learn the skills that will improve your productivity.

Small business owners must know how to:
• Deal with interruptions
• Have the ability to say no
• Delegate whenever possible
• Have effective communication skills
• Management skills

To make better use of your time, plan your day hour by hour. Consider these valuable time management tips:
1. Plan your day first thing every morning or at the end of each day
2. Prioritize what must get done, should get done and can get done
3. Each hour of the day should be accounted for
4. Learn to say “no”
5. Keep records of Important data and activities
6. Delegate whenever possible
7. Set your schedule each day and follow it
8. At the end of the day review your daily tasks and carry forward the tasks that were not done.

To make better use of your time, prioritize your daily task list, log appointments with time allotment and keep track of your deadlines in a monthly calendar. Write down what must be done and the due dates for projects. There are many time management systems available. Everything from pocket calendars to various types of day timers to electronic schedulers can help you control your time commitments and project obligations. Find the system that you are most comfortable with and consider taking a time management class if you need help creating a system that will work for you.

Start each day with a planned schedule. Try to arrive at your office 15 minutes early each day to get organized before your day begins. Make a check list of priority items and the amount of time you need for each item. Integrate your daily appointments into your daily to do list. If you find that you are most productive in the morning perhaps you want to work at your desk until noon and save sales calls for the afternoon. Adjust your schedule to your own personal preference for the maximum productivity. At the end of each day take 15 minutes to review what was completed and forward to the next day what still needs to get done.

Make it common practice to establish deadlines and try to meet them. You can also set deadlines for employees. They will look to you as an example of how things are accomplished within the business. If you routinely meet deadlines, employees will be more likely to meet deadlines as well.

What ideas have worked for you on time management?

Julie BranderBusiness Mentor, SCORE New Haven
Julie has been a SCORE volunteer since 1997. She has 20 years of experience in business, starting a manufacturing, wholesale and retail jewelry company. After selling her business, she dedicated herself to helping other entrepreneurs start and expand their business. | @juliebrander | More from Julie

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