By Francesca James, Fresh Business Thinking

As a small business owner, you wear many different hats and probably sometimes feel like there are not enough hours in the day to be all you have to be and do all you have to do.

Everyone, particularly time hungry entrepreneurs would like more time to complete their daily tasks, obviously, we can’t offer that but perhaps there are times in the day when you are unknowingly wasting time by not doing things in the most efficient way.

I spoke to Fiona Doran-Smith, L&D Consultant, Thales Training & Consultancy who was able to offer some valuable advice to help entrepreneurs squeeze more from their precious office hours.

Fiona says:

‘At Thales Training & Consultancy, we don’t have a magic spell to conjure more hours in the day but we do have 10 great tips to help you manage your time more effectively.’

•Do you prioritise depending on who shouts loudest or what is the least boring task? If so, you need a more effective method. Prioritise based on how important and urgent a task is.

•Plan your workload as much as you can. This will help you to feel less stressed, manage your workload and ensure you meet deadlines.

•Keep a daily time log to identify your time stealers. Is it that chatty colleague or a tendency to procrastinate? Whatever it is, the sooner you recognise it the sooner you can stop it from happening.

•Beat procrastination by identifying what it is that is stopping you from completing the task. Break down your workload into smaller tasks and attack one at a time.

•Don’t check emails every time that little envelope appears. Instead set certain times to check your inbox. Make sure that this is realistic depending on how may emails you get in one day.

•Don’t action emails straight away, prioritise them and put them into your plan.

•When scheduling make sure you put blank space in your calendar or diary. When unexpected emergencies crop up, spare time will allow you to fit the work into your plan.

•Deal effectively with interruptions. Use your daily time log to identify how you currently handle interruptions and decide on ways to improve.

•Learn to delegate. If done properly this can save a huge amount of time on a regular basis. It will also help someone else to develop at the same time.

•Say no. When appropriate, learn to politely refuse requests; there is only so much you can do in a day!

Utilising just a couple of these ideas should boost your productivity significantly; most of them are common sense but sometimes, being so busy means that we forget the basics.

Take a minute to action a couple of the above and I’m certain that you’ll be saving a whole lot more than a minute later on in the day.