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3 Steps to Effective Time Management

“Time Management” is one of those phrases that a lot of people throw around, but very few know what it means, and even less practice Effective time Management.

The concept of time management is not hard to understand.  It is merely the ability to complete tasks and achieve goals by effectively planning and controlling how you spend the hours in your day.   

The doing of effective time management is very hard to accomplish.  Most business owners do not have the required skills.  Some of the consequences of having poor time management skills include bankruptcy, employee difficulties, supervisor under-performance, poor cash flow, quality issues, low profit/margins and not enough sales.    

This is why the majority of business problems are self-generated, and well within the control of the owner to fix.  According to the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors, only 8% of business failures were caused by circumstances entirely out of the owner’s control.   

The #1 reason owners give for not dealing effectively with problems is, “I don’t have enough time.”  But, what they should be saying is, “I don’t have effective time management skills.”  

Let’s look at how you can turn your company and life into the one you have always wanted.  

Step 1 – Commit to change.   

There is a time in every owner’s life when he has to decide to accept all the duties of ownership.  Most do not step, they only go half-way and do the ones they feel comfortable with.  It is the very few who commit to doing what it takes to have a long term, successful company.      

Are you finally sick and tired of being sick and tired?  Are you ready to go to the level?    

If so, the first step towards effective time management requires you to understand what you are committing to.  You are going to have to change your behaviors, and that takes time, education, a willingness to take other’s advice and effort.  You will be learning new ways of acting which will be uncomfortable and not come quickly.     

Make no mistake – if it were easy everybody would be good at controlling their time, and they are not, which is why most businesses fail or limp along.  

Step 2 – Find a strategy that works for you.   

There is no quick fix, special formula, sure-fire plan or a magic wand for effective time management success.  Successful time management requires basic common sense coupled with discipline and persistence.  This is why in Step 1 you committed to getting out of your comfort zone and learning new techniques.    

Millions of words are written and spoken about the best strategies for managing your time.  Do not get overwhelmed; you only need a small amount of them.  Different things motivate people and learn in different ways.  So, develop your time management strategy by using a method that works best for you – read books and/or online articles, watch TED Talks, consult one-on-one with an expert, go to seminars or get a mentor/coach.  

Beware – owners often get stuck in Step 2.  Too often they mistake planning for action.  Do not confuse being busy with being productive.  There are a lot of excellent, never used time management plans sitting in drawers.  Thinking and strategizing are important, but never a substitute for action.    

Step 3 – Take action, walk the walk.    

In Step 3 you will work on replacing old, ineffective time management habits with new, effective ones.  Old habits are hard to break, and nobody gets it right the first time, let alone the first ten times.  The key to this step is fortitude, patience, and persistence.  It will take action, time and discipline to achieve the results you want.    

At first, you will be experimenting with and adapting your strategy; even the best plan requires tweaking.  Once you are living it, you will see what changes to make.  A flexible approach and mindset allow you to stay open to meeting new challenges and take advantage of unforeseen opportunities.  

Doing the work and making the changes effective time management requires is tough for business owners.  Too many talk the talk but do not walk the walk.

good time management for small business owners

At Cogent Analytics, we never stop looking for ways to improve your business and neither should you. So, check out some of our other posts for helpful business information:

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3 Steps to Effective Time Management

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