5 ways to take control of your time for more efficient management

Planning ahead for 2024
October 28, 2021

When you’re always on the go or projects and admin are piling up, it can be hard to catch a break. Being busy in business is good - but only if you know how to take control of your schedule. How do some people manage to get everything done with time to spare? The answer lies in business time management.

These high achievers aren’t born productive. While some people are naturally more motivated than others, productivity isn’t a talent, it’s a skill anyone can learn and develop. Once mastered, you unlock higher levels of job performance and life satisfaction, lower stress, improved motivation and a better balance between work and play.

Good time management is important for everyone to succeed. Getting more done with less is most business owners’ goal. After all, time is your most valuable resource to drive growth, meet consumer demand and increase efficiency and customer value.

Here’s how to maximise your business time management.

1. Understand how your time is spent

Regular time audits help you find areas of improvement. Start by time tracking each business activity and review how your time is spent daily over a week or two. After a few days of logging, you can find your biggest time wasters and eliminate or delegate anything taking up too much time.

Emails, phone calls, meetings, errands and other nonproductive events are the major culprits. Remember, you don’t have to reply to messages and emails right away. Instead, prioritise high-focus tasks and batch-process emails and calls in delegated admin time.

Get the most from your audit by analysing:

  • Time spent on achievable goals
  • Where you’re currently spending long periods of time (i.e. more than 30 minutes)
  • How you can adjust your schedule to meet your target - use the 4Ds to prioritise tasks: Do, Defer, Delegate or Delete

Use a simple and free time tracking app such as Toggle - it’s important you gain an accurate measurement. Often, there’s a big difference between what you think is time-consuming to what actually is. People aren’t always reliable at knowing how long tasks take, so avoid guessing or averaging.

2. Discover automation opportunities

Automation is a streamlined way to turn tedious manual tasks into efficient solutions. When you automate the right processes, you increase efficiency, competitiveness and value for clients.

The best way to adopt new technologies and find areas for automating is to talk to your staff first, then your customers. Their hands-on experience will highlight what tasks and processes need to be made more efficient, and which procedures to retool to eliminate problems. Ask what their frustrations are and what parts of their experience are taking too much time and effort.

3. Build a smart schedule

How smart is your schedule?

Build it better by setting up process management and a scheduling system. Replace manual activities with automated ones and use tools like Google Calander and Outlook to manage alerts, schedule emails and organise your time.

Give your schedule a makeover by:

  • Using time-blocking as a productivity technique, where you plan your day in ‘blocks’ (online scheduling works great for this)
  • Building your tasks in 20-30 minute blocks
  • Grouping meetings and calls together, and block time for emailing
  • Taking the time to create a detailed schedule for each task and setting firm deadlines
  • Ensuring you only focus on one task at a time
  • Finding your productive zone and building your schedule around your optimum working times
  • Adding every task to your calendar
  • Scheduling time for yourself

4. Apply the 80/20 rule

The 80/20 rule says 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.

Also known as the Pareto Principle, it’s an effective way to see where you should spend your time. You can use your time audit to find out what tasks are in your 20% - the ones having the biggest impact and taking up the most time.

Combining both methods will help you get the most bang from your minutes. However, it is a process, so keep applying it weekly until you get an idea.

5. Prioritise business time management

When you start to move from being task-driven to outcome-driven, you’re on your way to healthier business time management. This means focusing on your objectives first, then prioritising your to-do list based on the tasks that’ll get you to your end goal.

Efficient business time management doesn’t need to be hard. Learn how Udio’s online management software is helping class and session-based businesses take control of their time.

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