The nights are drawing in, the schools will soon be starting back for the Autumn term and most of us will have had our Summer holidays. Whilst we may not work within Education, the chances are that our work will have been affected by the School holidays.
We might have reduced our hours to cover childcare, been covering for work colleagues who have been on holiday or reduced hours. Or simply had less sales/work to do as our customers/clients have been busy enjoying their own Summer holidays.
Whatever we have been up to in the last six weeks. We should all be feeling refreshed and ready to move our business forward this Autumn. Therefore, we need to think about how we can most effectively manage our time to ensure success. Here are a few tips to ensure that your working day/week is as productive as possible:
Identify your goals
The chances are that you will have had time to think about the direction that you want your business to head in, whilst you’ve had time away from it. Therefore, your daily and weekly to-do list should reflect and work towards the achievement of these goals, always steering you in the right direction.
You’ve identified your goals, so now you need to think strategically about how you will achieve them. For instance, if one of your goals is to sell more products. You may need to employ more staff to produce your product and process orders. Before you can do this, however, you will need to establish the cost of this and the potential effect on your prices. It is therefore, important to produce a plan or to-do list, ranking tasks in the following categories:
- Important and urgent – this covers the tasks that must be done before your longer-term goals can be realised. For example establishing number of staff, design of product, buying in of materials.
- Important but not urgent – tasks that might seem important, but they are not urgent. For example, logging your expenses
- Urgent but not important – tasks that require responding to quickly but can often be done by someonelse. For example, keeping up to date with Social Media notifications
- Not urgent and not important – low priority tasks that give the illusion of being busy. For example, responding to routine emails. Action these on mass at a predetermined time.
Once you have identified tasks in each of the categories. Plan your workload so that you can achieve your longer-term goals of growing your business.
It’s hard to think strategically and focus when we’re constantly answering emails, checking Social Media or being interrupted by work colleagues. Do your best to ensure that you are not constantly responding to interruptions. Set your phone to “do not disturb”, log out of Social Media, email inboxes and time-wasting websites. When you are able to really focus on important tasks you will be far more productive and a lot more likely to achieve your goals.
Whilst we often don’t want the Summer holidays to end, Autumn is often more conducive to productivity. So, embrace the opportunities that normal full working weeks can offer, to enable you to focus and grow your business.
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Till Next Time
Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor