By Taimur Khan, founder of productivity app Skylightit.com
There are 24 hours in each person’s day - and yet some people always seem to be ahead and others never seem to have enough time.
What’s the difference? It all comes down to how we use our time.
Time wasted can never be recovered. Therefore, in order to manage your time effectively you need to set routines and habits that help you to maximise your productivity.
Make a list of your daily tasks in order of priority and when finished, tick them off. There are plenty of apps and cloud based tools that can help you; take your time to find the one that works best for you.
Start small and build a routine that works for you. Notice which activity consumes most time and ask yourself if it’s relevant.
Avoid is multi-tasking; you’ll end up not doing anything constructive.
2) Your goals matter but your vision matters most.
What do you want to achieve in your business and what will it look like when achieved?
Always ask yourself this before any activity; soon you will find yourself paying attention to the right things to propel your business ahead.
Exercise the power of saying ‘no’ to anything that will deter you from your course.
3) The power of technology
Incorporate technology into your business. For example; replace physical meetings with Skype, long emails with instant messaging.
Productivity apps help you manage tasks, organise your projects and keep all the documents and emails in one place, and track billable time.
4) Delegation and Outsourcing
For most SMEs hiring staff becomes the major bottleneck for growth; so stop creating excuses to delegate.
Look at your list of business goals and activities; identify what you will not be able to do and what takes valuable time. Build these tasks into processes so that, when you delegate, it becomes easier to explain and follow through. Create a process document and list the activities and actions. This will help you to identify what skills you need, how long you will need them and at what expense.
5) Be good to you
In order to use your time well you should get enough rest. And what you eat also matters – avoid junk food. Finally – get some exercise. Your business productivity will improve.
Don’t start your day looking at emails; they are a trap because you’ll be tempted to reply or clog your mind with how to respond.
Set aside 20-30 min time slots in your daily schedule for emails. Prioritise the important ones into folders or flags. When it’s time to reply to emails you are focused on the most important ones.
To the point emails are often more effective than long ones, however, this does depend on the recipient.
7) Do not procrastinate
The only difference between you and a millionaire is a) the way you use your time and b) what you focus on.
The key is to make sure you stay on track, organise your priorities, and remain focused on your goals. Look at your goals and vision and let them inspire you to push forward.
If you have large tasks or goals to achieve - break them down into smaller chunks and set aside time to tackle them one by one.
8,9,10...) Take action and review
Achievement always comes down to taking action, changing your mind set and actually doing the things you have written in your ‘to do’ list.
If you feel you are not getting the results you want regardless of how hard you push - then it’s time to pause, reflect, and take a look at what is working and what needs to be changed.
Finally, remember what you focus on grows. So put that searchlight on your goals and objectives and be aware that the ticking clock has never stopped for anyone.