In the face of a mounting workload, it can be difficult to preserve a healthy work-life balance and to find the time for the things you love. Good organisational habits – in all aspects of life – are a must for business-owners, as there is always so much that demands your attention. Success is not measured in hours spent, after all, but in the tasks you have achieved in the time invested!Here, I share some of my best tips for managing your day and getting better mileage out of each hour spent in the office.
- Keep a Detailed Day-Planner
Many successful business-owners use a day-planner to organise not only their work commitments, but their home lives as well. Having a set structure of daily activities keeps you goal-oriented, decisive, and better able to ward off life’s many distractions. Before you begin your work day, write a list of tasks you hope to complete that day, and estimate how long these will likely take you. If one particular project appears monolithic in its scope, divide it down into smaller comprising tasks and use these to guide and section your day. Organise your list even further by sorting each task by its degree of urgency. Try to complete the most urgent tasks first.
As part of this, set realistic expectations as to how long a task might take you to complete. If you find yourself surprised by a larger-than-expected assignment, don’t feel guilty about sticking to your schedule and moving on to the other tasks you have set for that day (unless, of course, the task is urgent!). Make a note of how much time was needed so you can plan more generously next time.
I use the TODOIST app to plan my day, as it allows me to easily compile my list of daily tasks; to organise them according to their levels of urgency; and to see a visual representation of my timetable.
2. Ensure that Your Co-Workers Focus on the Same Goal
Understanding of what qualifies as an “urgent” task might differ between the people in your workplace, as they occupy a variety of roles and are subject to differing demands and pressures. With your day-planner in hand, call a meeting and discuss goals in common; the most pressing tasks of the day (and week!); and, most importantly, the joint tasks that must be completed by multiple members of your team. Ensure that your employees are in agreement about scheduling to avoid a mad last-minute rush, and to guarantee that tasks are completed thoroughly.
Delegate tasks around your team according to each members’ strengths and specialties, and highlight how the fulfilment of each task will contribute to the wider project. A clear sense of your common objective, and a shared picture of the desired outcome, goes a long way!
- Be Accessible, But Not Too Accessible
It is vital to respond promptly to emails from your clients and employees, and many business-owners are inseparable from their laptops or phones for this reason. However, while you can expect to sift through your inbox on a daily basis, the task is a notorious time-sink. Like any other task, schedule a limited amount of “email time,” and do not allow it to overwhelm the other items on your day-planner.
When you are faced with a particularly heavy workload, do not feel guilty about saying “no” to non-essential meetings or spontaneous client walk-ins. The goals you have set for yourself that day take priority.