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Get the most out of your working day

Provided by Business Partners Ltd, South Africa's leading investor in SMEs


Time.jpgThe average entrepreneur will admit that his life is his business and his business is his life. The fact is that it does take a lot of hard work and long hours to sustain a small business, but you have to carve out some extra hours to enjoy life's other pleasures. The trick is to manage your time effectively.

You may have thought that being your own boss would come with the luxury of dictating your own working hours, but having a small business often means work, work and more work - especially in the beginning.

While you may not always be able to strike an even balance, you must make sure that all work and no play, isn't making you a dull boy - or girl. You need time to spend with your family, to relax, exercise and anything else that gives you mind and body a well-deserved break.

Time management tips

Here are some tools to help you make most of your time:

Prioritise: If you can't do everything (who can?), do the most important things. Decide what the most important things in your life are: your business, your family life, your social life? Do these priorities equal the time you spend on them? If not, you've found a good place to start.

Plan: You need a diary/calendar that you keep up to date and refer to all the time. Try to note which items are most important, which are negotiable or need to be delegated. To-do lists can be very helpful when you have alot to remember and to keep you focussed.

Set realistic time frames: How long does it take to get from home to the office; from the office to the shops, then to a meeting and then home? Do you really know? Sit down and work out how long certain things take. Be realistic and make your diary accurate. You will probably see a difference.

Delegate: You should spend most of your time doing things that only you can do or that you do best. Maybe your business partner is better with the books and you are the expert on sales presentations. So get out there and present, and leave your partner in the office to do the books! This goes for all areas of life, so get your family to help out at home, buy your groceries/gifts online and whatever helps to lighten the load.

Multitasking: This is a term that is generally misunderstood. It does not mean DOING two things at once. That's impossible. It means GETTING two (or more) things done at the same time.

It's about organising, directing, delegating and overseeing things so that you maximise the inputs of all those around you. You achieve this by setting priorities, understanding processes, delegating clearly and focussing. All the time, you are actually doing ONE thing at a time. Think about this.

Learn to let go: If you've been diligent, productive and still haven't done everything on your to-do list by the end of the day, don't waste time fretting or groaning about it. Pat yourself on the back for the things you did do and spend what's left of the day doing things that make you happy. The work will still be there in the morning.

Think about these ideas and have a good look at your own life. You'll be surprised how valuable the process can be. Once you've found that extra couple of hours every day, plan how you'll use it to do things that delight, re-energise and inspire you!

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