Our latest MEG meetup at Colony, Piccadilly Place, had us focusing on the issue of time management and the often tricky business of scheduling your day.
We looked at the everyday but essential issues such as, how often do you check your emails and what determines your response time to clients?
These might sound like pretty mundane things, but they can have a profound effect on running a business. Time management is a skill in itself, and a valuable one in business.
Is Bad Time Management a Business Risk?
Research from online printers Instantprint in 2017 reported that poor time management was a barrier to business growth.
Many SMEs feel like they are fighting the clock and are failing to make the time to focus on growing their businesses.
The average business owner works 38 hours a week, but at least 10 of these hours are taken up with tasks that feel like a distraction from activities designed to help them grow.
This is often repetitive but essential administration work that need doing, nevertheless.
People often have to combine two roles in one: managing the work and carrying it out. Some of this management involves the essentials that ensure a healthy business, such as invoicing regularly to support cash flow.
Fear of Letting Go
One of the typical time tug-of-wars SMEs face is how to make time for their existing clients but also put the legwork into finding new prospects.
This begs the question, when can you let an over-demanding client go?
There can be a trajectory where certain business relationships are essential early on but become a drag on resources later.
Where these relationships are eating into time but are no longer adding value, it’s time to consider whether to end them.
Which highlights another element in effective time management: decisiveness.
Time Management Techniques
People have their own individual ways of working, but there are certain time management techniques for routine tasks that are pretty much universally applicable:
- Stick to a schedule – it doesn’t need to be hugely detailed, but set some clear rules, such as when you open emails, and when you don’t. Try clustering routine tasks together and blocking time out for them.
- Measure your productivity – what sort of time are you allocating to certain regular tasks and decide if you’re achieving results in the time you spend on them. If not, look at how you can do things differently.
- Don’t procrastinate – if you’re avoiding doing regular tasks, ask yourself why. If you put things off, you can end up rushing them and making mistakes. Be systematic with your tasks.
- Avoid multitasking – multitasking is seriously over-rated, because often you end up doing lots of things but never completing any of them satisfactorily.
- Take a break – this is about more than just breaking up your working day. Also consider your personal life and whether you’re neglecting it.