Feel like there’s never enough time? Follow these simple time management tips to ensure your team works effectively together.
Lifehacker’s Guide to Building Your Small Business, presented by Telstra Easy Share Business Plans, shares tips on succeeding through collaboration and flexibility and getting the most out of your business communications. See more on how Telstra Easy Share Business Plans can help.
Pick a system and stick with it
There are lots of different approaches to time management. One popular tactic, for instance, is the Pomodoro technique, which incorporates timed breaks and encourages careful scheduling. Another widely-used system is Getting Things Done (GTD).
If you’re having difficulties managing time, then these approaches (or others) can be helpful. But the most important lesson from them is this: pick an approach and stick with it. Consistency matters with time management. If you constantly swap between different systems, you simply end up wasting time.
Conduct regular calendar reviews
If you have staff members who seem to have trouble sticking to a schedule, set a weekly appointment to review their calendar with them. Ideally, make this early in the week, so that any planning errors can be highlighted before they make an impact on the overall business.
Make sure that the calendar doesn’t just include meetings with others, but also includes tasks that need to be regularly performed. Not assigning time to crucial tasks is a common mistake that can lead to people not keeping control of their time.
Don’t over-fill your schedule
Having said that, you also need a realistic view of what’s possible in a given day. A useful rule of thumb which we have mentioned before is to never schedule more than 5 hours work in any given day. Unexpected tasks will inevitably pop up that will fill the remaining time. A schedule with every single time slot packed is likely to lead to overwork.
Shared calendars aren’t a new concept, but many businesses don’t take advantage of them. Using shared calendars makes time management easier for everyone on the team, since you can see what other people are working on before assigning given tasks.
Don’t try to multi-task
Sorry, folks: multitasking is an illusion. It’s a much more effective use of your time to pick a single task and stick to it. (That doesn’t mean you have to work in silence — if music in the background helps your workflow, go with it. But if you find yourself constantly stopping to look up lyrics, it may be time to think again.)
Clocks picture from Shutterstock