Benjamin Franklin’s famous aphorism “time is money” is as relevant today as it was in 1748 when the American polymath published the essay Advice to a Young Tradesman and continues to apply to all businesses and areas of activity.
In fact, one could say that the classic phrase carries more weight in the current business landscape when the competition is growing more intense by the day and the pressure to keep up with changing trends and deliver fast and efficient service to customers is higher than ever before.
How business owners manage their time and the time of their employees is crucial to the success of their enterprises. Every minute can make a difference as it can take the venture one step further or hold it in place. And no one can deny that this is an unremitting struggle.
With a multitude of responsibilities on their plate and not enough hours in a day to handle them all, entrepreneurs find themselves in a constant race against time, trying to figure out how to juggle multiple projects and complete as many tasks as possible in the shortest time. This never-ending grind can bring a lot of entrepreneurs to the brink of burnout and business to the point of failure.
As a business owner, you’re surely familiar with the feeling that the clock is against you. Fortunately, even if you’re dealing with a force that can’t be stopped, you can learn to be a master of time and not its slave. That’s where time management comes into play to help you get more things done faster and better, and without losing your sanity.
What Is Time Management and Why Is It Important?
Time management in businesses can be described as the process of planning, organizing and dividing time between different activities in order to keep on top of deadlines and the daily workload and ensure the smooth running of all business operations. It’s about learning how to work smarter, not harder and doing more with less effort and in less time.
Good time management comes with a plethora of benefits and can do wonders for your business and your employees. For starters, it ensures that all tasks are done right and on time, and customers’ expectations are met, even if you’re on a tight schedule.
Reducing time pressure also helps employees concentrate better on their tasks and become more efficient and productive, which in turn leads to higher job satisfaction, lower turnover rates and increased profits. Moreover, proper time management has a positive impact on people’s mental and physical health, reducing stress, ensuring good work-life balance, improving energy levels and creating a better work environment for all personnel.
Effective Solutions for Better Time Management
While the importance and benefits of time management can’t be denied, the same thing can be said about the challenges it entails. There are a multitude of internal and external factors that can get in the way of effective time management, including lack of motivation, procrastination, inability to set clear boundaries, lack of resources, common distractions and so on.
But even if time management is not easy, it’s a skill that can be honed and developed in time through the use of adequate techniques and constant practice, so here’s what could help.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and get stuck when you’re dealing with a heavy workload and don’t know where to start. And that’s exactly where the issue and the solution lie. Since not all tasks are equal, you have to rank and address them in the order of their importance and urgency. This will make it easy for you and your staff to concentrate your attention on the most essential tasks first and then deal with the rest later.
In a company, the workload should be effectively distributed among team members in order to avoid overburdening and overworking employees. Like wheels in a system, each employee has to complete certain tasks in a specific amount of time for the machine that is your business to function. That’s why delegating tasks and making sure that everyone knows what their responsibilities are and what they entail is crucial for good time management.
Use the Right Tools
These days, entrepreneurs have a wide range of tools and software solutions at their disposal for handling expenses, collaborating, keeping track of projects and so on. This allows you to automate cumbersome manual tasks, streamline business operations, and save time, effort and money at every stage and level in your business. You just have to research your options and choose the tools that suit your company’s specific needs.
The mirage of multitasking has been the bane of many entrepreneurs and led to the ruin of many a business. On a less dramatic note, it’s been scientifically proven that multitasking is an illusion that causes people to waste more time. So, instead of trying to do more things in parallel, focus on one task at a time if you want to be more efficient.
Breaks are not a waste of time, but a necessity for employees’ wellbeing and your own. Planning for regular downtime during the workday prevents fatigue, restores focus and attention and helps you and your staff stay productive for longer. Therefore, working uninterruptedly is not the best approach if you want to win more time.
It’s difficult to use your time efficiently when distractions keep getting in the way and interrupting your activity. This means you have to create a work environment that’s conducive to focus and productivity by eliminating common distractions such as clutter, social media notifications, certain sites, emails and so on.
Learning how to manage your time and helping your employees do the same is vital for maintaining high levels of productivity and building a thriving business. Check out how technology can boost productivity at work. If you’ve had trouble sticking to a schedule and feel like time is slipping through your fingers like sand, these tips might help you get things under control.