5 time management tips for small business owners.

Jun 24 2019 | contributing author Carissa Reiniger, Founder & CEO of Silver Lining Ltd

As a business owner, it's easy to feel like you need to be in charge of everything. But the reality is that you're often spending too much time on tasks that your team members could easily do by themselves.
The following five tips will not only help you maximize your own time, but also empower your employees to push the business forward without you managing every single step.

1. Build yourself a time budget.
Most of us have money budgets, but what about a time budget? Have you ever looked at time as a finite resource and allocated it the same way as you do your money? You have the exact same amount of time as every other human being on this entire planet. But are you clear and thoughtful about how and where you invest that time, so you can live the life that you genuinely want?

If not, then build a time budget. Look at all of the priorities you have in your life and your business and think about how much time is required on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis to do those things well. Then divide out your time budget in precisely the same way you would do with your money budget. Having a clear picture of where you are spending most of your time will help you manage it more efficiently and make sure that all of your priorities – not just work-related ones – get the attention they deserve.

2. Give your day a central theme.
A fun way to think about your time is to segment it by day, so that each day of the week has a central theme. Work Wednesday could be where you try to accomplish big projects, have big strategic sessions, hold big team meetings, or allocate creative time. Finance Fridays could be where you meet with the finance team, look at the numbers, understand the cash flow, and get ready for the next week. Team Tuesdays could be where you would do all your team meetings and get all of their updates and reports so you can stay on top of the work progress. It might sound a little silly and doesn't always work out perfectly, but the idea of going into each day in the right frame of mind – and focused on a primary objective – will really help you stay grounded and get things done.

3. Shorter calendar blocks for increased capability.
Think about what would happen if you broke your entire calendar day into 30-minute or even 15-minute chunks. You'd likely be amazed at how much time you have all of a sudden. By being intentional and organized, you may find that the goals of an hour-long meeting can be accomplished in as little as 15 minutes. If the meeting or project expectations are clear and everyone sticks to the agenda, comes prepared, is fully engaged, and commits to being clear and concise with their answers, your capacity to project manage and get things done dramatically increases.

4. Set team expectations around meetings.
As business owners, we sometimes feel like we need to be in charge of everything. But if you want more time in your life for other things, you have to give up some of that control. Set expectations with your team so they know that for every meeting you attend, it's their responsibility to prepare the agenda, run the meeting, and document the next steps. As the owner, your role becomes one of an observer, coach, or participant – a person who can give input, approvals, and feedback. You'll not only save the time you would have spent preparing, you will also start to create shared responsibility within your team. Instead of shouldering the entire burden of the business, you can show up, say what you have to say, and leave. It isn't about getting rid of responsibility – it's about empowering your people to take on leadership and push the business forward. Let your team do the work before and after.

5. Start thinking creatively and save time.
If you consider all of the hours of your life wasted on the greatest time killers such as waiting in line, at airports, or sitting in your car stuck in traffic, you'll most likely be a little shocked. So start thinking creatively and figure out what you can do to cut down on those wasted hours and reclaim your time. For example, video conferencing is an incredible time hack. You can be anywhere in the world almost instantly and have a real conversation without the need to meet in person, saving you hours of transit time for in-person meetings.

About the author.
Carissa Reiniger is the Founder & CEO of Silver Lining Ltd. She started Silver Lining in 2005 and created the Silver Lining Action Plan – SLAP! – a methodology that has helped over 10,000 small business owners in 9 countries set – and hit – their growth goals. She incorporated all of the principles of behavior change science into one comprehensive business growth program to help bring out the best out of you and lead your business towards profitability and success. As part of her mission to help more small business owners make money doing what they love because she genuinely believes that we CAN change the economy one small business at a time.

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The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent business, tax, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.

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