Let’s stop and think about Project Management for a minute.
“Project management is the practice of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time.”
Easy enough to understand, you have a project and there are goals and tasks involved that are required to complete the project.
So what is time management? Looking strictly from the business owner perspective, we can characterize time management as being related to the project, and in this case, the project is the business. We all know that productivity is essential to business growth, and strong time management will increase productivity. However, the most important outcome of effective time management is that it builds routine and manifests good habits.
Here are three great time management tips.
- Make a List – Think of this list as the “what needs to get done in this business”. Don’t confine yourself to today or tomorrow, but think months ahead. This is where you plan and schedule your valuable time. Look at this list as set of objectives that increase your and the teams productivity. Try and be as thorough as possible, and even break down larger tasks into sub-tasks. When you start making lists you can begin to see the benefits immediately. You can plan for all contingencies that come your way and not feel overwhelmed by the shear load of being a business owner. Write it down! Literally, write it down. You can always transfer to a computer, tablet or other device, but I find the written word is more organic and it feels great when you check something off.
- Prioritize the List – by putting the tasks in order of importance. We need to understand that time management does not mean how quickly we can check off “all” the tasks, but more importantly, how quickly we can complete the most important task first. Lists can also be prioritized using the A B C method, whereby you can designate A task to be completed this week, B tasks completed next week and so on. You can also create subsets of the system such as A1 A2 A3 B1 B2 C1 and on.
- Constantly Adjust the List – for contingencies that may arise. Even with a given list of tasks, the world of business is bound to throw a curve ball. Perhaps one of the B or C task needs to be prioritized over an A task. Business situations are constantly evolving and changing, so it’s best to be on top of it ahead of time. The list is a roadmap of sorts, so be aware that you may have to take a detour every now and then. Remain flexible.
In summary, a list is an essential tool for every business owner. It seems like such an easy thing to do, but most business owners neglect it and therefore their time management suffers. Remember, write it down.