5 Time Management Strategies All Small Business Owners Should Consider

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy - according to the Small Business administration, there are 23 million of them, and they account for over half of all domestic sales. If you want your venture to be one of the successful ones, you have to maximize your time so that each and every day you punch the proverbial clock you're producing at a high level. Here are five time management strategies that all small business owners should consider.

1. Work From a Written To-Do List

Apps like Todoist and Astrid are good for creating to-do lists on your mobile device, but there's nothing quite like working from one you've written out with a pen and paper. Considering how many other things we use smartphones for, it can be easy to lose track or even forget about a mobile to-do list. Get some three-by-five note cards or a small office notepad and write yours out by hand. Create three categories and assign your tasks appropriately. Dedicate the first to things you absolutely must complete that day. The second category is for items that should get done, but can be put off if need be. The final category is for minor tasks that would be nice to accomplish, but can wait. Hopefully you complete your list each and every day, but if you don't, simply transfer anything you can't get to onto tomorrow's list.

2. Cut Out Things That Waste Your Time

Take a few moments and think about what really wastes your time during work hours. Is it unnecessary phone calls? Set your smartphone to silent and download the Call Filter Alarm app, which allows calls only from a preset list of individuals to get through. Do you have a bad habit of social media surfing while at work? Use the resource Anti-Social and block all social media websites for certain hours. Are your employees constantly asking for direction? If so, empower them to make their own decisions. What wastes time for one small business owner doesn't always for another. Identify your time wasters and eliminate them.

3. Use Apps to Improve Your Productivity

While I'm not a huge fan of to-do list apps, I'm a big proponent of others that can improve your productivity. Use Evernote to take notes while on the go, and try out Zite to streamline the process of searching for news articles relevant to your industry.

4. Schedule and Enjoy Your Breaks

Many small business owners fear that if they take too much time off, their businesses could collapse. While you shouldn't schedule a consistent three-day work week for yourself, you should take and enjoy your breaks each and every day. Train your staff to get by without you and when it's time for your break, take it and forget about work. It may be a challenge, but the renewed energy a short interval can provide you makes it well worth the effort.

5. Organize Your Inbox

Simply not checking your email several times per day can save time, but that's just not viable for many small business owners. If that's the case with you, make sure you keep your inbox organized. Create detailed folders for all pertinent subjects, don't let things pile up too high, and most importantly, make the emails you send out clear and specific. This streamlines your communications by cutting down on unnecessary back and forth.

Now that we've covered a few tips on how to better manage your time, let's talk about the efficiency of your business itself. If you're not fully entrenched in day-to-day operations, you may struggle to find ways to streamline things. Therefore, get input from your employees. They're the ones on the front lines everyday and are fully immersed in business processes. If something can be done better, they probably have an answer. Trust the team you've assembled, work together, and you can foster growth in the new year and beyond.

How have you managed your time better?


Joe Montgomery is a business owner who spends the majority of his time online writing about marketing tips and money management.

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