As a business partner, entrepreneur and woman I deal with
time management issues on a daily basis. I recently started a new company with
two partners and, as all entrepreneurs know, the first year of a new business
is crucial and often amounts to 16 hour working days.
In addition, our company Adapt To Change assists businesses
and entrepreneurs to continuously improve and grow, which includes imparting
some very important skills around managing time.
So I have fine tuned my learnings to share with you my 5 top
time management tips!
your time: Start off with tracking what you currently spend your time on. The
results of this exercise are generally very surprising. Once you know what you
are spending your time on, it will be easier to compile a realistic plan for
going forward and to identify opportunities for improvement.
When compiling your plan, do not just allocate specific activities to specific
days, but also allocate specific time slots.
disruptions: Many people try to work all day with their email on. Schedule
specific time slots for these disruptive activities and once the time slot has
passed – close the program.
Stick to your plan! Or why bother planning?
Your initial plan should not be cast in stone. Re-plan every week until you
have found the one that works for you and then revisit it every month to make
- Find your
sweet spot: Try shuffling things around.
As you try new things, be aware of what time you are performing at your
best – we all have that uniquely special time of the day when we are most
productive. Make sure that you schedule your most important tasks for that
- Identify the
deserving: Always try to keep in mind what really deserves your time. This is
about the ability to prioritize effectively and not “sweat the small stuff”.
- Make “me”
time: Do things that switch you on and energize you! When we are busy with
things that we enjoy we are energised and can use this momentum to woosh over
the less fun stuff.
- Share the
load: What happens when your prime time is between 5 and 7 pm which coincides
with family responsibilities? The answer is delegate and outsource! It is
important to note there is no shame in asking for help elsewhere in our lives.
Unfortunately we cannot all afford a live in nanny, house keeper and personal
chef so we have to get creative. Ma ybe meals can be prepared in advance or you
and a neighbour can take turns to cook for both families at once?
- When you
delegate a task to someone else, make sure that you are clear in your
expectations – what is the end result you need and by when, how often should
you be updated during the process and at what point should you be informed if
the task starts to fall behind? Remember to leave space for the individual’s
Develop an allergy
allergic to waste! Stop wasting time and stop spending time on non-value adding
activities (and by non-value add I mean what YOU value).
organised: Make sure that you have a place for everything and that you keep
everything in its place so that you do not waste time searching for stuff.
- Use cheat
sheets: Develop templates or a check list for ad hoc tasks, to make your life
easier. This way you do not have to start from scratch every time.
- Fill up
unused time: Do not just stand in the queue waiting to pay for your monthly
groceries – use that time to read that book, send that email, make that phone
employ technology that really works for you: If you are struggling with the
latest coolest software that everybody else is talking about even though you
started using it a year ago– you may need to consider stop using it.
repetitive activities: If you are walking to the fax machine 10 times a day…
STOP! Schedule a single time slot in your day and only walk there once, sending
all the faxes at that time.
*Su-Mari Koen is partner in the entrepreneurial company Adapt
To Change. She is the
latest guest columnist taking part in Fin24's Women’s Month campaign
celebrating women in business. Fin24 welcomes your participation in the
campaign. Send your views to firstname.lastname@example.org
and you could get published.
women's month columns:
The sky's the limit - Tsidi Luse, quality control manager at
Lafarge's Lichtenburg plant
the driving seat - Dawn Nathan-Jones, CEO, Europcar
your hands dirty - Sandra Burmeister, CEO of the Landelahni Recruitment
like a woman - Wahida Parker, director of Equillore
tips for working moms - Glynnis Jeffries, head: business development at
a force for change - Amelia Jones, CEO of Community Chest
be an ice queen - Nicole Fannin, financial consultant at deVere Group
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