Use tips on time management (such as finding and using free time management software) to help you be more productive. Small business owners find that time management benefits include increased efficiency and productivity; the additional benefit is reduced stress.
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There is plenty to learn when it comes to managing time, so these tips are designed to simplify some of the best techniques and ideas. Applying this advice to your work and personal life will help you enjoy the maximum time management benefits.
Tip #1: Set and Respect Deadlines
In some lines of work you are constantly working to deadlines. In others, you don’t have strict deadlines but you know getting projects finished quickly leads to bigger rewards.
Even if you don’t have deadlines imposed on you from outside (from the client, usually), you need to set deadlines for yourself and stick to them.
If you give yourself lots of time – or too much time – you will likely take all that time and more to complete the task.
In other words, if you give yourself a week to do a project that only requires two days, you’ll most likely end up doing it on the last two days.
The tendency to procrastinate gains fuel from a deadline that seems far away – so bring your deadlines closer.
On of the most effective tips on time management is to try to budget just enough time to do the task; and then work towards that schedule.
Tip #2: Stop Multi-tasking
This sounds 'counter-intuitive' - most people think that multi-tasking helps them get more done; and it sometimes can for simple tasks.
However, multi-tasking usually doesn't make you more efficient – admit it.
If you're constantly trying to work on multiple tasks at once, your attention is scattered and you will often take longer to complete the activity or task.
This is a bad habit that needs to stop immediately. Instead, focus on a single task and keep working on it until it's finished.
Take a break between tasks if necessary, but don’t switch from one task to another before the first one is finished, unless you have a very good reason to do so.
Even if you have a reason, ask yourself why you didn’t organize yourself better so that you can complete each task in a single session.
If the task is too big to complete in one sitting, break it up into smaller goals and make sure you see each one through without getting distracted.
Tip #3: Use Free Time Management Software
You’d be surprised how much handy free time management software is available for download.
Even something as simple as Microsoft Outlook's Calendar application can be useful for planning meetings and events, tracking activities, and scheduling reminders.
You can use software to create alerts and record activities, as well as To Do lists and goal planning sheets.
The technology is available and the price is right – there’s no good reason not to make use of it.
Tip #4: Eliminate Unnecessary Meetings
While well-run and focused meetings can be productive, other meetings can be a time sink. If you participate in a number of meetings during the day or week one of the best tips on time management is learning how to run meetings effectively.
Cut out meetings that are a rehash of what everyone already knows. Have an agenda for each meeting and record action items that need to be accomplished after each meeting. Reserve meetings for issues that require the input of a team to come up with a solution.
Tip #5: Maintain a Realistic Workload
Avoid overextending yourself if possible. Taking on too much work at once can lead to paralysis which actually slows you down on projects. This is not true for everyone – some people thrive under pressure.
But even if you’re the workaholic type, keep in mind it’s often not a sustainable way to live in the long turn.
Use these tips on time management to improve the management of your most important resource: you and your employees.
You will find that time management benefits of efficiency and productivity are a good payback for your investment in focusing and managing your time and your business.
As a small business owner or manager, you need to learn how to control your time and resources effectively to successfully manage and grown your enterprise.
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