Make Your Time Work for You

Small-business owners live and die by the expression often credited to Benjamin Franklin that “time is money.” Poor time management can cost a business a significant amount of money. On the flip side, when time is managed properly, more focus is given to important projects, more can be done in the workday and more money can be earned.

“The No. 1 benefit of time management is more business, which means more income,” according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. “Time management will allow you to be more focused on key tasks; be more organized; have less stress; and have more time for family, friends and other interests.”

February is National Time Management Month in the United States. Because of that, it seems like an ideal opportunity to review a few tips on how to better manage time in the workplace.

Develop a time-management plan: The Small Business Administration recommended developing a plan for your time that outlines clearly defined goals, a list of tasks, a prioritization of those tasks and a list of important ongoing business functions that fall outside of the plan.

Eat the frog: To paraphrase Mark Twain, if you have eat a live frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning because nothing worse will happen in your day. His point: Tackle the biggest and most difficult tasks first. Getting those out of the way will make the remainder of the workday a breeze.

Don’t be a filthy slob: An article in entreprentuer.com stated that clutter in our surroundings makes us lose focus, which in turn makes us waste time. Decluttering and organizing can help avoid that, and it can be done in small steps. Start with that small mountain of empty Monster and Red Bull cans you’ve been building under your desk.

Give it a rest already: Ease up on the gas there, taskmaster. According to Psychology Today, working for long periods without taking a break increases stress and exhaustion. So, take five and stretch your legs with a quick walk around the office. Taking a breather has been shown to increase productivity, creativity, focus and engagement. Hit the brakes and take that break.

Build in some flexibility: Things can – and do – go sideways at a moment’s notice. It’s called life, so get used to it and don’t let it stress you out. Even the best time-management plans and techniques can’t change the fact that there is only 24 hours in each day. Scheduling some unscheduled flexibility and being able to adapt and go with the flow are always smart moves.

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