A Day In Your Life
As a small business owner, you probably find that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day for you to accomplish everything you’d planned. This is largely because your best-laid plans so often get derailed by the unexpected: a lengthy call from a customer or suppliers sending you the wrong consignment of goods.
But, the truth is that so much of your company’s work falls on your shoulders that, even without interruptions, you would barely have time to draw breath. There are some tactics, though, for managing your working day which can help you achieve your goals AND get home before Newsnight!
1 Keep a diary for a few days
Talking about containing your working hours and then asking you to do homework might seem rather odd. Keeping a diary might also briefly remind you of your angst-ridden teenage years. But the exercise is incredibly enlightening, helping you to flag up areas where you can save time, effort and (potentially) money.
2 Analyse your diary and ask yourself:
– What do I spend most of my day doing?
– Do I perform jobs that could be delegated to staff?
– Do I duplicate staff’s work?
– Am I disorganised?
– Where do I waste time?
3 What can you change?
a) The next step is to consider areas that you can adjust. This isn’t just intended to help you save time. It’s also meant to help you identify so-called “effort economies” which will allow you to deploy your efforts on more profitable work. With this in mind, a key area where business owners find they are devoting too much time is on what we broadly call “staffing” issues.
b) If the problem is that your employees tend to consult you over relative trivia during the course of the day, ask them to keep any minor questions until a certain time so you can resolve them all at once without breaking the flow of your other work. This won’t make you seem unapproachable since your staff members are welcome to bring questions to you when you have set aside a window for their concerns. Equally, there are likely to be many occasions when you do jobs that you could ask staff to do, or when you find yourself duplicating their work. Correcting this can save your management time.
4 Prepare a weekly day planner
At the start of the week prepare a weekly day planner, setting out everything you want to achieve by the end of the week. By necessity, this will be rather detailed, with times allotted to, say, accounting, talking to suppliers and paying bills. Business owners find that the very act of planning their days makes their working week seem less overwhelming.
After a couple of weeks of following your plan, do review how it has gone. Have you been able, essentially, to stick to the agenda and has it helped you to reach your goals? Being realistic, it’s unlikely that you have managed fully to adopt the plan and there will always be unexpected challenges. But you will hopefully have found a formula for your day which permits you to achieve a great deal and have time to relax and enjoy your personal life.