5 time management techniques that can transform your productivity
Running a successful business ultimately relies on the vision of the company, but as any small business owner or entrepreneur will tell you, getting to that vision is far easier said than done! Day-to-day operations provide a challenge within itself, and without the correct time management techniques you can often see weeks if not months pass without much visible forward progress. This can have a dire effect on your mental attitude towards the business as well, and if the problems go untreated, it can make you start to believe that realising your vision won’t be possible…
Simply put, if your business has a sound strategy, then the vision is always possible with good time management and increased productivity. It’s the engine that drives the car. To advance that analogy – it doesn’t matter how flashy the car looks on the outside, it’s the what’s under the bonnet that really matters.
So here are 10 time management tips that you should think about implementing in your business to ensure that your business is driving forward every day:
1. Have a daily stand-up
A “daily stand-up” is essentially a meeting with all the team in which you lay out your goals for the day. It should be the first thing you do every day and it shouldn’t last more than 10 minutes. Each team member has to come up with 3 goals that they want to achieve that day and shares them with the rest of the team. The “stand-up” part comes from the fact that this meeting should be conducted literally standing up to ensure maximum engagement. This ensures that every member of the team is focused and has a target to achieve for the day. Basically, a daily stand-up will cause an end to those wishy-washy days when not much is really achieved.
2. Eliminate Technological Distractions
This is a point that is becoming more and more important in an interconnected world. Smartphones may be very useful, but they are often the enemy of focus. It’s addictive to check your phone for messages or the latest updates on social media, and the less time spent doing that the better. This may require more will-power than you ever imagined, so start by noticing and recording how many times you get distracted a day and try and cut it down in small chunks.
Smartphones have this remarkable power to grab your focus away from something and switch it immediately into something else. The time you waste interacting with it is not just the time you spend on your phone, it’s also the time that it takes to get back to full focus on the task at hand after you’ve put the phone down. Avoiding this could honestly be revolutionary.
3. Designate time for work-related distractions
The two key work related distractions that most people face is checking your emails and discussing something with colleagues, and you could drastically improve your productivity by designating certain points in the day to do this.
For example, try only checking your email 3 times a day. When you begin work, at midday and an hour before you leave work. Ultimately, there are very few things so urgent that you must respond to them in less than 4 hours, so this should not affect your connectivity.
Another thing is designating times of day or a day of the week to discuss work related things with colleagues. Whether you have a great new idea for business development or just need to consider when is best to go on holiday, you can designate a time and place to do this which will avoid distracting you from your current tasks. These things need to be done, of course, just make sure it is not taking focus away from something else.
4. Pick a good space for work
In our modern connected age, there are several different spaces in which you can work, and I can almost guarantee you don’t take advantage of it! Some spaces are very good for certain tasks, and some are not.
If you have a call you need to make, you can now do it in your car as you drive to work. You can check your emails on the bus or the train. Transport now provides great opportunities to get those tasks that don’t require 100% attention out of the way.
Conversely, a train is a very poor place to write a report. Consider areas free from distractions like a coffee shop, a library or a quiet part of the office for these big tasks. You may find you are much more productive!
5. Use a timer when you work
Scientific research shows that it is impossible to focus well on something for extended periods of time. Short, sharp breaks can be the best way to help productivity.
One increasingly popular method is the ‘20 minutes on, 10 minutes off’ technique. Time yourself working for 20 minutes, and then when the 20 minutes have elapsed, allow yourself a 10 minute break. There are several websites and technology based hacks that can help you with this. For example, Pomodoro clocks (which is their funky name) exist all over the web. You can run them on your computer and it actually blocks you from visiting certain distraction websites in that 20-minute time period.
This could drive a working habit that will increase your productivity drastically in the long run. But be warned, some personal discipline is required!
If you need any further help with focus, or you feel that your struggles with daily time management are eroding your enthusiasm for your business, reflect and reshape can certainly help. The model encourages you to look at prioritised time management alongside your personal dreams and goals to nudge you towards the success that you crave in your business. Further to this, the focus on you as an individual will improve your work/life balance and consequently your general happiness. Time management is the first step on this journey, so get cracking!
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