Time management is crucial to the productivity of any business – even when you are self-employed or starting your own business. One of the biggest complaints from managers and bosses is that their workforce is not as productive as they would like.
When you decide to take the leap and go into business for yourself, you will be faced with many challenges. There is no one around to say no to you or to force you to complete tasks on time. If you decide to become your own boss, you really need to act like a boss. Treat yourself the way that you would treat an employee.
Luckily, since you cannot sue yourself, or send a complaint to the human resources department, you can be a little harder on yourself than you would an employee. You need to push yourself to succeed; though, you also need to create a balance that does not spread you out too thin or stress you out.
Remaining productive without pushing yourself too far is one of the largest challenges that you will have to deal with, as your own boss. Here are some tips and suggestions for increasing productivity when you are your own boss.
#1 – Time Management Starts with a Single Task
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The very first time management tip to keep in mind is that you should only focus your attention on one task at a time. You may think that you are an expert multi-tasker, but studies show there is no real benefit to multi-tasking. In fact, multi-tasking almost always results in tasks taking longer to complete. When you get started on a project or a task, do not move on to anything else until that task is completed.
#2 – Set Your Work Hours
Even though you may be working from home or your own office, setting your own work hours is still essential. Decide what time your business day should start and end. This actually provides several benefits. Setting your work hours can help ensure you are available to spend time with your family in the afternoon.
Having set hours also forces you to be more aware of the time you have available during the day. It is easy to push a task back towards the end of the day when you assume that you have the entire day to complete a project. By cutting yourself off at 4 or 5 in the afternoon, you can set deadlines and will be better prepared for the next suggestion.
#3 – Plan Your Day at the End of the Day
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Every afternoon, as your “business hours” come to a close, plan your tasks for the following day. Make a short list of the tasks that you would like to accomplish the next day. This should only take a few minutes to complete and will save you time the following day. If you set your work hours, then about ten to fifteen minutes before the end of your day you should stop all work and make a list of anything that did not get finished and tasks that you need to complete as soon as possible.
When you get up the next day, you will already know what you need to complete throughout the day. By checking your list, you can quickly get to work without having to spend time coming up with an agenda for the day.
#4 – Outsource Some of Your Workload
If you are struggling to keep up with your own demands, then you may want to outsource some of your work. There are plenty of options online for outsourcing work. Whether you need someone to generate content for your website, deal with customer callbacks, or perform data entry, you can find affordable solutions online without having to hire an employee. These short-term contracts provide a simple solution for outsourcing work and freeing up some of your time.
#5 – Avoid Distractions While You Are at Work
When you are “at work” at home, try your best to avoid distractions. This ties back to the tip on sticking to one task at a time. Multitasking is a form of distraction that limits your time management ability and leads to delays. Other distractions include browsing the internet, watching television, or playing with your pets or children. Remember to treat your time “at work” as if you really are at work. This is one of the hardest parts of working for yourself, yet it is necessary if you truly want to succeed on your own.
#6 – Limit Your Browsing Activity
As mentioned, browsing the internet can be a major distraction. You may need to look up a topic quickly and then find that you spent the last half an hour browsing the news. As you get ready in the morning, drinking coffee or having breakfast, check your email and browse the news. Get this out of the way first thing in the morning.
#7 – Give Yourself a Break
You cannot be expected to work non-stop throughout the day. This will actually lower your productivity. Do not be an evil boss – remember to give yourself regular breaks. Try to take a five to ten-minute break every one to two hours. Use this time to use the restroom, check your email, or get some fresh air.
Time Management Does Not Come Easy
Running your own business can be very rewarding; though, there are plenty of challenges and difficulties. Time management is perhaps the largest obstacle to overcome. If you work for yourself, you need to make sure that you remain productive. Do not fall into the trap of spending too little or too much time dealing with tasks related to your business.
You need to find the perfect balance of work and home. This will take time, but if you remember these time management tips, you should be able to point yourself in the right direction.
Hopefully, these time management suggestions will help you make better use of the limited time that you have available. For further business tips, browse some of the other articles posted on my website. If you have any specific questions or comments related to this article or running an online business, feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.