Business Management Tips And Tricks – Here I share 10 free time management tips that I use to get my projects done faster and more efficiently.
If you’ve ever reached the end of your day and wondered “Where did the time go? I don’t seem to have accomplished anything!” Then it might be quite useful for you to know about these tips and the time management software I use.
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Now – let’s get something straight – these tips are not new! You’ve probably heard them before. Most people rely on “common sense”. But just because they’re “common sense” doesn’t mean we always use them; so check them out – just in case…
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PDCA Complete is an organizational task management system with built-in tools for continuous improvement. Includes projects, meetings, audits and more.
Do you have a list? Or is it one of those techniques you intend to use but you forget. Or do you print one, put it somewhere safe and then forget about it?
When I use a list it not only focuses on what I want to get done, at the end of the day I can see exactly what I have achieved. I get a real buzz out of it. And of course that means I tackled the important stuff well in advance, rather than suddenly remembering “Oh, I’ve got to get that letter done by …” and then running into a tight deadline.
The checklist is similar to the “to do” list but it is more for cataloging the steps I need to do to complete a specific task or process.
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For example, I have a checklist of the things I need to gather before starting a project; research material, info about the customer, relevant steps, white papers, I can use and so on.
If the checklist is in software, like PDCA Complete, I can review the completed actions to make sure I didn’t forget a step. I can add new actions as the project progresses and monitor these as well.
When all the items on my checklists are ticked off, I know I haven’t missed anything and I can relax.
Get into the habit of clearing your desk of anything unrelated to your next task. It keeps you from getting distracted, and it means you have everything you need at your fingertips – no need to rummage through piles of paper looking for a specific item (that’s my biggest problem if I don’t have a clear out first!)
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The same goes for your computer, especially the emails in your inbox. If I don’t keep clearing spam, I’d miss those who need a response – and that could mean getting upset or missing a request, which is never a good thing!
I’ve found it’s better to concentrate on completing one task at a time before moving on to the next. I used to allow myself to be distracted and often ended up with a lot of partially completed tasks at the end of the day and an intense feeling of frustration.
Tell me, have you ever started to shut down your computer and suddenly found an email open that you thought you had finished and sent? And then realized you didn’t send it just because you were distracted by something else? I have, but not anymore because the system I use now helps me complete each task before moving on to the next.
Doing this helps me sleep better. At the end of the day, I let PDCA Complete guide me on this because it actually creates the list for me. If you don’t have something like this, write down your next actions for tomorrow. You can also comment tomorrow’s date on your open to-do actions.
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This means they don’t prey on me as much overnight, especially if I also take the time – whenever possible – to gather the materials I need to complete that task.
For example, if I know I plan to work on a project the next day, I go through my preparation checklist to make sure I have everything I need for that project step.
By allocating a certain amount of time to that activity, I find I can focus and get a lot more done because I know I only have so much time to do it.
You’ve probably come across this idea before – block out time in your diary; well, you can take it a step further:
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Let’s say you’ve set aside an hour for a particular activity. When you start working on that action, start your timer for 1 hour.
Focus on completing as much as you can in your allowed time. When the timer goes off – STOP! Don’t waste any more time on it. The first few times you do this, you may not have given enough time – you will get better at judging how long your tasks take.
The important thing is that you must not allow yourself to slip a few more minutes – or even hours – to complete the job at that time; it’s tempting!
Tell me, have you ever concentrated on getting certain jobs done before going on vacation? And have you, like me, found yourself getting a lot more done than you normally would, simply because you knew you couldn’t pass that “deadline”? Well, this works on the same principle.
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You see, by not giving yourself extra time you are training and programming your subconscious mind to focus on getting more done in the time you have set. And – the more often you do this – the more efficient and effective you become. Try it for a week or so – I think you’ll be surprised at how much you actually achieve!
Social sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can be such time wasters, or they can be tools. If they form part of your overall strategy, I suggest you set aside some time with a specific goal in mind – and stick to it.
If they are not part of your project activity, but you rather enjoy surfing and connecting, then set yourself how much free time or relaxation you are happy to allow yourself for this.
Email is the bane of my life. Well, they were until I took control! I realized that constantly checking, checking and being distracted by incoming emails was wasting a lot of my time.
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So now, just like with the social sites, I set a specific time of day and how long I consciously read and respond to my emails. Again, if you decide to use this tip, don’t allow yourself to exceed the time frame you’ve set.
It is more difficult to control certain other “office” time wasters such as interruptions and incoming phone calls. When I’m working on a project, I don’t take phone calls and I actively discourage interruptions. I appreciate that you may not have someone you can delegate your incoming calls to, in which case let them go to voicemail.
If you explain to clients and work colleagues that, to be more efficient, you only take phone calls between say 1:30 and 2:30, and at any time they go to voicemail where they are welcome to leave a message, I’m sure you will that – in most cases – will respect that decision. Of course, you will need to set aside time to return to these conversations – but you will be in control of when you decide to do so.
The same goes for interruptions – let the people you work with or who report to you know they can come in to ask questions within a set time frame. Seemingly urgent “Do you have a minute?” type issues are often miraculously resolved when you are not available to consult immediately.
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Now, I understand that this might not be something you can fully implement – personally, I wouldn’t get my activities done if I didn’t insist on this way of working – but it’s worth a try, don’t you think?
It’s a very simple concept but has proven to be a powerful ally in controlling my daily activity. It helps me focus on the important actions I need to complete and helps minimize distractions.
And I love the reporting feature. This means I can quickly check how many items I have completed and have open. It allows me to rank all my items by critical BCS score allowing me to prioritize actions based on maximum effectiveness. I can track multiple projects in separate checklists, or I can combine them into one list for an overall view.
It also has other useful features, but it’s probably easier for you to check them out yourself by visiting PDCA Complete. There are demo videos showing how the software works. When you’re just starting out with your small business, simply deciding which goal to tackle first—and knowing what to do and when—can be a chore.
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None of us are born with business acumen or an entrepreneurial playbook imprinted in our brains. These are things that we all have to figure out along the way, and that most of us do kind of terribly
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