For most small businesses, time is of the essence. Whether it is the time you need to
create proposals and pitches or the time you need to ship product— every minute
Professionalism demands the respect of time, yours and your potential customers or
partners. Effective time management can sometimes make all the difference.
You know you have a time management problem when:
- You are often late or forget meetings and appointments.
- You are consistently behind in your responsibilities.
- You don’t have enough time to eat, sleep and spend time with your family.
- You are always working, but still not meeting deadlines.
- You are mentally and physically tired.
- You are permanently stressed.
If you face these problems, it is time evaluate your current routines. It is also a good time to seek out the best time management tools created to alleviate the mental juggling that often takes place.
Late or missing meetings? Sync your calendar to your smartphone. If you schedule your appointments online using a Google calendar, you can receive those reminders on your mobile phone. At the very least, find an online calendar that will email you reminders one or two hours prior to the meeting. (See http://www.tungle .com or iCal for Mac.)
Behind in your responsibilities? Working yet not meeting deadlines? Lists. However you work best, whether paper or technology, create a tasklist. Make sure you prioritize 3-4 a day. Complete one before moving on to the other. Do not list 10 menial tasks, complete 3 important ones.
Another great new tool is called Basecamp by 37Signals. (link: http://basecamphq.com/) Basecamp allows you to set up milestones and to-do lists between you and your team members. This allows you to delegate certain tasks and keeps everyone on the same calendar of deadlines.
Holistically, one of the best time management tip is sleep. Burning the candles at both ends can quickly lead to burnout. Exhaustion can steal the quality time you could be spending with family and friends. A lack of sleep tends to lead to poor nutritional choices and heightened level of stress.
It is too easy to fall into a “bottom line” mentality where your business is the be-all-end-all, but if you cannot find a way to manage your time between work, life and rest, the bottom line is you could end up destroying your business.