Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Time Management for Businesses

Time management is one of the biggest challenges that a small business owner faces, day in, day out. While there will never be enough time to complete everything on your list to perfection, some simple time management techniques can help you squeeze a fair bit more into your day.

Time is, beyond doubt, among our most valuable resources. And for businesses in India, keeping to a schedule can be near impossible, given the environmental uncertainties and day to day chaos. Owners of small businesses find it particularly hard to balance their numerous responsibilities within a regular work day.

But you have no choice. As an entrepreneur, you will have to find ways to improve your time management techniques so that you can cope with interruptions and unexpected developments.

This may be stating the obvious, but most often, the problem is not lack of time, but an absence of clear goals. On any project, large or small, setting out clear objectives can help one understand the processes (and hence the time) that are required in order to reach the goal.

It goes without saying, that once the target is set, the planning activity becomes crucial. To use a tired clich̩, if you fail to plan, then plan to fail! Planning is required at different levels Рfrom day to day, for the short term and longer.

A to-do list an absolute must. You can also use a 2x2 matrix in which you can classify tasks as urgent/not urgent and important/unimportant. That tells you which you must attack first – it also helps you delegate those that don’t need your personal attention. Also, keep your planner and phone book updated and handy.

Not surprisingly, one of the biggest time consumers are time-wasting tactics. Procrastination is the undoing of many a business person and everyone does it to a certain degree. The trick is to not put off unpleasant tasks till they reach a flashpoint. Spend some time each day on such matters, so they don’t build up.

If you’re a stickler for the details, remember that nothing is perfect. Often, we can get by pretty well by doing certain things “well enough” rather than spending more and more time on getting them just right. You have to know when to stop overworking something – that is as important to time management as anything else.

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