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office space for rent / small business advice / Virtual Office

Small business and start-up time management tips

Everyone always say that “Time is Money” when it comes to your small business. But you need to know how to manage it so that your time is used wisely and productively. You cannot get time back that has been lost, so we compiled some tips that will help you to identify and rectify the way you spend your time.

Audit your day by creating a time log. We are not suggesting that you log every minute and hour of every day. You just need to create a log that sets a benchmark for a how your time is used on a typical day. This may require you to log your time for a few days if your schedule is different over those particular days (eg. Monday is spend in the office, Tuesday is spent on the road, Wednesday is spent in the factory or warehouse, etc). Once you have established what your typical day or days are, you need to create a sheet that will allow you to track every minute or every five minutes (including personal tasks) of that day to create that benchmark.

What time wasters can you identify? You have logged a typical day or a series of typical days, what now? Now you need to look at that daily log or logs with a critical eye and find where you may be wasting time. Some may be obvious and others you may need to be more critical about. Here is where entering your day onto a spreadsheet will make doing the math easier. Your spreadsheet will allow you to break down how much time you spent on each of your daily activities – including meetings, phone calls, emails, breaks and other tasks that can be productive or non-productive.

Consider the Pomodoro Technique. One of our office space for rent tenants who specializes in time management suggests that businesses use the Pomodoro Technique, so we looked it up. According to Wikipedia, “The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.” The technique suggests that you focus 25 minutes on one task and then take a 5-minute short break before taking on the next task of the day. This blog may not be the best place to explain the full workings of the Pomodoro Technique, so follow the link and that will help you better understand how it works.

Learn to delegate properly. As a small business owner, you cannot be everywhere and do every task within your business. You must rely on other people to help you get the job done. The people you rely on may or may not be employees. They can be contractors or outside service providers. The most important part of delegating tasks to employees or outsiders is to ensure that they are prepared and trained for the way that you expect the task to be done. If you do not train or prepare them, you will not get the results you expect. Telsec Business Centres not only offers office space and virtual office solutions, we also offer secretarial services a-la-carte to our clients. We make sure that the client gives our staff the proper instructions for completing the tasks they hire us for.

Avoid micro-managing and spending time with employees or contractors. While you are training and preparing employees, contractors and outsource providers, you will need to spend some time to make sure that they are competent enough to get the job done the way you require it. Beyond that, you also need to take a step away from regular interactions. Employees and contractors can eat up your time if you let them do so inadvertently. Bottom line: You need to manage them without micro-managing them.

Look out for shiny object syndrome. Admit it – your attention has been taken away at one time or another by the shiny object syndrome. It seems to be a trend that’s growing where small business owners are getting distracted by too many ideas or the latest fad, or going off in a million directions and never really completing anything. This loss of focus can cost you hundreds of hours in a year of lost productivity, lost hours and ultimately lost dollars. Don’t get us wrong, new opportunities are a good thing and so can keeping up with new fads and new ideas. But be sure they don’t become a distraction from your core business goals.

About Ian Payton

Responsibilities: Social Media Coordination and content creation for companies like the Toronto International Bicycle Show. Outside of work for primary clients,work was done for smaller clients like branches of the Royal Canadian Legion designing and revitalizing web sites. Conceptualizing strategies for online and offline marketing as well as promotional activities for other companies.

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