Getting It Done: Increasing Productivity Through Better Time Management

Small business owners frequently juggle a variety of roles within their companies. Creating a balance and effectively managing available time is extremely important to most small businesses. In order to economize and make the most of the available time, you should implement a time management plan.

Get Real. Set realistic goals that are not unreasonable or unattainable. It can be very demotivating to consistently feel as if you have not accomplished anything, simply because you regularly fail to meet unreasonable goals that you've set for yourself. By setting more realistic and attainable goals, you will feel a sense of accomplishment, and often be motivated to work harder.

Know Yourself. When are you most productive? Use the hours of the day when you are most productive to tackle the more difficult tasks. Manage your schedule so that you use your time most effectively


Start. Sometimes the thought of starting a new project is overwhelming. In fact, the start itself can often be the most difficult part of a new project. Prepare, plan, and then take action! Dive in feet-first and start the project. Do not let the size of a project intimidate you. If necessary, large projects should be broken down into multiple smaller ones, making it easier to get started.

Benchmarks. Set benchmarks to monitor your ongoing progress. Benchmarks are particularly important for large projects or complex tasks. Use these benchmarks to assess the feasibility of your planned time, and make adjustments when necessary.

Plan For The Unexpected. 
Unfortunately, things often come up that will disrupt your carefully laid plans. Try to think of disruptions as challenges rather than roadblocks. Do not panic when the inevitable unexpected delays occur, and do not be reluctant to adapt and revise your planned schedule when such disruptions force you off your timetable.

Evaluate. Evaluate your progress on a regular basis. If you find that a specific task consistently wastes an inordinate amount of time, devote some brainstorming time to find different and possibly quicker ways to accomplish the same task.

Rewards. Build rewards into your schedule. Plan to "treat" yourself after you tackle and complete an unpleasant or particularly daunting task. If you enjoy certain projects more than others, use those enjoyable projects or tasks as rewards for completing the less-enjoyable ones.

Keep A List. It may sound silly to keep a list. Of course you know what you need to do... but maintaining a list will help you stay focused. Additionally, the act of crossing a completed task off the list can provide you with a morale-boosting sense of accomplishment!

Self Discipline. When you hear the "fun things" in life calling, remain disciplined. Adhere to your schedule, and resist the urge to become distracted during scheduled work hours. If you've done your time management planning correctly, there will still be time to enjoy those fun things.

Take Breaks. Do not forget to take regular breaks. Go for walks and get fresh air when necessary. Sometimes a short walk will refresh you, and you may find yourself even more productive as a result.

Realize that some days are simply going to be more productive than others. Managing time effectively can be very difficult, but it does become easier the more you do it.

Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition she manages marketing for RecordForAll audio recording and editing software.

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