Sometimes, business leaders, both new and seasoned, arrive at a point where all the responsibilities they hold come crashing onto them. Usually at these precarious yet unavoidable moments, they are at odds with time and are more likely to be less productive than they would like.
Time management is one of the most important skills every business leader should have. However, it’s also the very skill that most have struggled with. As a business leader with so much to do, it’s not just about getting everything done in a timely fashion. It’s also about enjoying what you do while having a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day — and it all comes down to effective time management.
Here are five practical time management tips for business leaders to help boost productivity and work morale:
1. Create a daily to-do list and prioritize
Take time at the start of each workday to create a to-do list of the all the things you want to get done for the day or for the week. Prioritize tasks in order of importance and urgency and give yourself clear deadlines on each task you’ve listed down.
It’s also recommended to break down your list into small achievable tasks; this way, you get to gradually tackle specific tasks without feeling overwhelmed. Organize similar tasks and aim to do these on a certain window of time so that you’re free to take on other different tasks for the rest of the day.
2. Avoid multitasking
While many busy entrepreneurs pride themselves for being able to multitask, studies otherwise show that multitasking could lead to long-term negative effects to memory and brain function. Several studies also show that multitasking can hamper productivity and lower the quality of the job done.
Instead, focus on one task at a time up to its completion to increase productivity and boost the quality of the work output. Set a certain amount of time for each task; you may try the Pomodoro Technique wherein you set a timer for a specific task, usually for 25 minutes, then taking a short 5-minute break before starting the next one.
3. Organize your emails and files
Reading and responding to emails are usually one of the arduous tasks that dominate most of your day. Set a certain time each day for emails and resist the temptation to respond to email pings that crop up in the course of the day. Let your employees know that you’ll only be replying to emails during these hours.
Organizing your inbox can also be a great time-saver. Delete unimportant emails and unsubscribe to email lists you have no interest in. Use labels, folders, and categories to better organize your email. You can also automatically sort your email into folders as soon as you receive it by setting rules, depending on your email provider.
4. Minimize distractions
Distractions at work are unavoidable, which is why it’s important for you as a business leader to control your work environment and minimize distractions to a minimum. Communicate to your employees to set appointments whenever possible and wait, except in urgent cases.
Set designated times to handle interruptions, calls, emails, and other matters. Most importantly, stick to this schedule and ignore phone calls and emails until the time you’ve set for you to deal with them. Additionally, resist the temptation to grab your phone or browse the web when you’re working on a certain task.
5. Delegate and outsource
The mark of a successful business leader is the ability to recognize the fact that they can’t do everything alone. Whenever possible, delegate some of your responsibilities to competent and reliable people in your business. Not only does this save time, it also boosts employee morale and streamlines business processes.
It’s also worth considering to strike a partnership with a trusted outsourcing agency. You can outsource tasks that require specialized skills such as web development and SEO analysis. Administrative and repetitive tasks such as accounting and data entry can also be safely and securely outsourced.
Time management is easier said than done. The key to successfully managing your time and resources is commitment and discipline. Of course, it always pays to ask for help whenever needed. Many businesses have greatly benefited from outsourcing and white labeling.
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