As a business owner, how well do you manage your time?
How often do you feel overloaded?
I am aware that running a business is time-consuming. Sometimes, balancing work and personal time is one of the most stressful aspects of being your own boss.
Especially in the early stages of your start-up, retaining time for family, friends, and hobbies isn’t an easy task.
However, I guess you were expecting to spend the bulk of your time working to make your business grow.
Therefore, I am not writing this post to teach you the secret to balancing work and family life. Starting a business requires a lot of time and effort, and mastering entrepreneurship without breaking a sweat is just a myth.
Below, you will find a list of the most common time management mistakes and a few tips on dealing with the time-consuming aspects of your business.
In other words, I won’t teach you how to free up time for your friends and hobbies (I know it would be nice, but as a business owner, time is exceedingly hard to come by).
I will teach you instead how to reduce time spent on repetitive or less important tasks so that you can focus on more relevant business operations.
Table of contents:
1. 6 Time Management Mistakes That Slow Down Your Business Growth
As a small business owner, time is one of your most valuable assets.
To enhance your business growth, you must master the art of time management for more remarkable achievements and increased opportunities.
Hopefully, the time management mistakes listed below (and my suggestions for avoiding them) will increase your productivity and efficiency and help you reduce the distractions that can derail you from focusing on significant projects.
1.1. Falling Into The Trap Of Multitasking
When faced with multiple tasks, many business owners decide to do everything at the same time.
Does this sound familiar to you?
According to Business 2 Community, “multitasking seems great in your mind, however, it does more harm to you than good. In fact, if you are fond of multitasking all the time, you risk harming your health, and your company’s business process could be in jeopardy”.
When it comes to business, multitasking won’t make you more productive, and it is not as easy as texting while driving (I don’t mean to nag, but you should never glance at your phone on the highway as it is pretty dangerous).
Juggling several tasks at once will only waste your time and make you feel distracted.
Multitasking is inefficient because you lose time when switching from one task to another (without finishing any of them).
Moreover, you are likely to continue thinking about the previous task that you must finish later on (not to mention that you can make more mistakes when performing several tasks at once).
Even if you believe that you have strong multitasking skills, I suggest that you focus on completing one task at a time. You will be able to deliver high-quality work in less time.
1.2. Attending Only Face-To-Face Meetings
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that face-to-face meetings are no longer meaningful.
Not even the Covid-19 pandemic will destroy the power of in-person human interaction. Face-to-face meetings are essential for clinching business deals.
However, I suggest that you carefully choose the business meetings that are worth getting stuck in heavy, bumper to bumper traffic.
Video conferences help you save time that you would typically spend idle in traffic, airports, and hotels (not to mention the commuting and travel expenses).
Technology has reshaped the modern workplace and business world.
To keep up with emerging business trends, you should consider commuting and travelling only when absolutely necessary (e.g., meeting important clients or investors).
The traditional brick-and-mortar office requiring daily commuting is no longer an absolute must for businesses that are able to perform several tasks remotely.
To manage your time effectively, you need flexible office space for your business, such as a professional virtual office that offers support for remote working while also providing fully-equipped meeting rooms for face-to-face interaction.
1.3. Handling Business Phone Calls Yourself
I know what you’re thinking: “Delivering great customer service is critical for my business, and handling phone calls throughout the day is not a time management mistake!”.
Well, it depends on who is handling your business phone calls. If you do it yourself, you may become unable to focus on more relevant business operations and processes.
In other words, you lose valuable time if you pick up the phone and answer each customer service call.
As I was sharing previously, becoming an entrepreneur means working at odd times during the day, many times more than 40 hours per week, as there are several tasks that you need to complete.
Answering business phone calls is sabotaging your productivity as you fail to prioritise.
As a business owner, your job is to prioritise effectively and ensure that you complete the tasks that demand the most attention without getting bogged down in work that someone else can handle.
Handling business phone calls is a simple task you can outsource to a professional agent or assistant (such as a cost-effective virtual receptionist).
Even though customer service is the lifeblood of your business, you should not let an abundance of tasks interfere with you performing the essential ones.
1.4. Becoming A Victim Of Parkinson’s Law
Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s law? (“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”).
Here’s a simple example. Suppose that you have two weeks to create a killer PowerPoint presentation for an important business meeting. It’s more than enough time to build some awesome slides by adding text and compelling visuals, such as charts and graphs.
But because you know that you have more than enough time to make a fabulous PowerPoint presentation, you take two weeks to complete it, as you keep playing with colours and fonts to find the most engaging ones.
Thus, you turn a simple task into a complex one. That’s Parkinson’s law. You have become a victim of your own procrastination.
Understanding (and overcoming) Parkinson’s law will help you free up time.
I suggest that you set self-imposed deadlines to add some pressure to your mind and work faster.
However, do not set unrealistic timelines. For example, if you do not need two weeks to create a PowerPoint presentation, it doesn’t mean that you can prepare your slides within 10 minutes.
Biting off more than you can chew will only lead to disappointment and further procrastination.
1.5. Being Busy Instead Of Being Productive
Sometimes, you can spend the whole day running back and forth without accomplishing anything.
Being busy is not the same as being productive.
There’s a world of difference between these two notions.
To improve work productivity, you should measure achievements and results, not hours.
I know that successful entrepreneurship is hard work. However, you should rather work smart instead of working hard (and inefficiently).
If you’re just busy (without being productive), you lose time. As a result, you risk missing opportunities.
As Richard Branson was saying (in case you don’t know him, he is the gentleman who founded the Virgin Group in the 1970s), “if somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later”.
To stop being busy and become productive, you should track your responsibilities and time and remember your goals.
Productive people have both a short-term and a long-term vision and do not get lost in details.
1.6. Responding To Emails Too Quickly
Effective email communication is critical when running a business.
However, spending most of your day sorting, reading, and responding to each email can hurt your productivity.
As your business grows, you will start receiving a high volume of emails. If you stop whatever you are doing to reply to every email you get, you will never be able to focus on important tasks and finish them.
Taking some hours (or even a day or two) to respond to an email won’t affect your business reputation.
Otherwise, you will train people to expect a near-instant response every time they email you (and let’s admit it, you are not always able to respond to emails instantly). In other words, you will train people to be impatient.
In addition, if you provide people with an immediate response to their emails, you won’t give yourself enough time to process the answer.
For this reason, I suggest that you allocate approximately 30 minutes a day to check and sort your emails and respond to them.
Poor time management can make your business suffer.
If you always have to work extra hours to meet your deadlines, you are not planning your day efficiently. As a result, you risk affecting your company’s work output and revenues.
Poor time management leads to a lack of priorities, motivations, and focus, missed deadlines and opportunities, increased levels of stress, and unprofessionalism.
On the other hand, effective time management will reduce stress, maximise your business profit, and improve work performance and work-life balance (even though sometimes you are required to work long hours).
If you liked this post and want to improve time management to grow your business, the B2B HQ team can help you out. We can provide you with a premium virtual office that will save you plenty of time (and money).
Our virtual offices offer excellent support for remote working and incredible benefits that will increase your productivity and help you manage your time effectively. For further details, do not hesitate to contact us!