Time management for small business owners and the self-employed is absolutely paramount for success. There are a million shiny objects in our everyday day-to-day life to draw our attention away from the money-making activities that keeps us in business.
Times sucks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email correspondence, and internet shopping are all major distractiosn for someone who doesn’t have a list of tasks they must adhere to every day.
My suggestion for anyone looking to maximize their time should follow some simple steps and rules for keeping on task and accomplishing the things that actually generate income. Tooling around on Facebook more often than not isn’t going to be making you money. Of course there are exceptions to this if your business requires some Facebook interactions to generate business, but 9.9 times out of 10 Facebook will be one your biggest time sucks.
Listing all of your dialing tasks is one of the best ways to stay on track and get the things done that absolutely must be done. I begin by listing everything out and then placing them into categories by a matrix that I borrowed from a fellow self employed time management guru.
Let’s begin by discussing the four categories in which your tasks should be structured. Think of a four quadrants the graphic pictured below for reference.
The top left quadrant should be of items that are urgent as well as important. I give all items in my list that fall into this quadrant with a Roman numeral I. This means that they are important as well as urgent. These are the tasks that must be done and I set aside a reasonable amount of time for each one of them knowing that I really shouldn’t move on to other areas until these are taken care of.
You’ll have to use your own judgment on the time required to complete these tasks. Sometimes things will go well and other times as we all know things just won’t. The tasks in this category that cannot be completed today for whatever reason can and should be carried over until they are crossed off the list.
The second quadrant moving to the right are the items on my list that aren’t urgent but they are still important. They need to be done but they don’t necessarily need to be done immediately.
Moving up to numeral III we are in the bottom left quadrant labeled as not important but urgent. Important things that aren’t urgent could be things like interacting with friends. Kissing babies and seeing clients in person are all important activities.. Going to the gym falls directly into this category. It’s important you go to the gym for your health and well-being but it isn’t exactly urgent you get there. You are hopefully beginning go see where this is all going.
The fourth category in the bottom right would be items that are neither important nor urgent. These are things like spending time on Facebook, mindlessly surfing the web or chatting on the phone with an old friend or possibly with a person who demands a lot of your time but doesn’t really pay you anything and probably never will become a paying client.
These are the types of situations in your business and personal life you’ll need to categorize and decide for you which way you label them. They will be pretty much the same for every persona and nearly every business scenario. It’s up to you to implement this strategy and get your time management under control.
Promise and I you that if you practice this little task and stick to it you will find that your productivity will skyrocket and that your profits will increase in 90 days.
Focus on the activities that produce income or generate new clients for your small business venture. Giving attention to all the distractions that will come about on a daily basis will only deter your small business success efforts.
Use the simple quadrant that I’ve been using for more than 9 months in my own business. Implement it into your daily routine and you’ll reap the rewards of your hard work and focus. Cutting the clutter and trimming the fat from your daily work life will make you a much happier business owner at the end of the day.