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3 time management tips for SME owners

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If you're a small business owner, it can seem like there simply isn't enough time in the day. Between meetings, emails and other administrative tasks, can take a chunk of productivity out of your week. Even worse, these tasks can keep springing up through your actual work time, distracting you and making it impossible to concentrate on a single given task.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel; you are not the first nor will you be the last to suffer from and there are solutions to your problems. Here are our three favourite ways to eliminate distraction, beat back wasted time and squeeze a little more productivity out of your day.

1) Keep meetings to a minimum

Don't get us wrong, meetings are certainly helpful when used properly, but most of the time they aren't.  Almost every single modern employee spends more time in meetings than ever before, but also, less than half of these meetings are actually of any value1. Just think of how many payroll hours are spent on something that isn't worth the money! Poorly organised meetings are even worse, with late start times sucking almost six full days of every year out of the working hours of an executive.There is something to be said about an actual physical meeting. Everyone gathered around the table, throwing out ideas and trying to collaborate to make the most of your business. It sounds like a great idea on paper, but in reality most of the meetings you are having maybe nothing more than a waste of time.

So if you want to have greater productivity for both yourself and your employees, keep meetings to a minimum. Consider, sending out a summary email instead, and if you do choose to get together, make sure you are on topic and focused.

2) Take time for leisure

In reality, those people who are the most productive actually spend more time taking breaks and relaxing during the work day than those who are less efficient2. It seems counter-intuitive, but it's true. The whole point of good time management is making sure you can achieve everything you need to while you are actually working, and to do that efficiency is key. When you have far too much to do and not enough time to do it in, you might find yourself making excuses to keep working. A lunch here, a break there that time could be spent far better actually working, right?

So, the next time you are tempted to work through lunch and eat at your desk, remember that you have a responsibility to yourself, your employees and your business to ensure you are at the top of your game. And that means putting your feet up, stopping that business anxiety and relaxing every once in a while.

“You don't always have to be checking your email every hour of the business day”.

3) Eliminate distractions

It appears that email, which in many cases can be central to the function of your business, could be destroying your productivity. Distractions come in many forms, but you might be surprised by which is one of the most damaging of all. People don't often think of the activity as unproductive - after all, it's directly related to your work. An average person receives over 300 work emails a week, checks their email 36 times every hour and has to spend 16 minutes refocusing after handling incoming messages3.

But you can't just ignore it: emails need to be responded to in order to communicate with everyone from customers to suppliers to your employees. However, what you can do is set a specific time aside, and only respond to emails in that time. You can do it multiple times a day, but stick to these allotted periods. It will reduce your distractions and keep you focused on the task at hand rather than immediately responding to every message that comes your way.

For more tips and guides for your business, get in touch with the team at IMB. Whether you are after business finance or just a home loan, we have the team and the tools to help you succeed!

Source:

1 Business.govt.nz

2 LogMeIn, Collaboration 2.0: Death of the Web Conference (As We Know It).

3 Ernst and Young, The EY Australian Productivity Pulse.

4 Atlassian, Time wasting at work. 

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