Time management. This can be very tricky when you run a small business. Most small business owners wear multiple hats on any given day and just keeping up with work flow can sometimes be a daunting task. I've been running my own business for many years and my list of to dos is always full. If client work is done there's always a huge list of things that I need to do just to keep my business running. So, what do you do when everything hits at once?
I've learned to be very good at juggling - but some days there are just too many tasks. There are only so many hours in the day, so what do you do? Here's how I handle it:
- Make a list. What needs doing? Create a list of everything that needs to be done today.
- Prioritize. Is anything actually on fire? Put that at the top of the list. If there's anything on the list that has been deferred already, that is also at the top of the list. Everything else lines up below that in order of importance.
- Delegate wherever possible. A smart small business owner knows that they can't and shouldn't try do everything themselves. Your time is always best spent doing the things that only you can do - the tasks that differentiate your business. The other stuff - whatever it is - can always be delegated. Choose the items on your list that can be passed off to your trusted resources and mark them off your list.
- Clear the deck. If there's anything on the list that can be completed quickly, just get it done and out of the way. Mark that baby off and don't look back.
- Make your calls. Most clients can be flexible on deadlines occasionally, as long as you're good about communicating with them and managing their expectations. If there are projects on today's list that need your personal attention but could conceivably be put off for tomorrow - contact your client and let them know you need to adjust the schedule. Just make sure to hit that revised deadline, and never make a habit of it, and you and your client should be hunky-dory.
- Do the work. Yup - just that simple. Go to the space where you are productive, turn on or turn off your music, turn off the phone and close your email, start at the top of the list and just bang it out.
Nothing gives me as much satisfaction as marking the final item off my list for a day. Even though I know tomorrow I'll be starting fresh with a new list, at least I know for today, my work is done.