Managing your time effectively to help organise your workflow

Ask any business owner and they'll tell you time management is absolutely key. It's a fact of business life that there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done, so it's vital to make every second count. Here are some tricks to help organise your workflow and find clever ways to save time and be more productive.

Work remotely

The wide availability of broadband makes working from home a real option for many business owners, depending on the type of business you run. Whether you do this on a regular or occasional basis, remote working should enable you to be more productive as you will win back time from commuting and unnecessary interruptions. Having said that, bear in mind working from home requires discipline to keep the distractions of homelife from inhibiting your ability to work.

Manage interruptions

Being your own boss can mean staff and people outside the business clamour for your attention. However, a little bit of organisation can prevent you being pestered about non-urgent issues. For example, encourage staff to bring up issues first thing in the morning so you can then include them in your daily tasks from the outset.

It is also worthwhile setting aside a specific time of the week when staff can air grievances, suggest ideas or ask questions. If they know they can have your attention on a Friday afternoon, for example, they are unlikely to be knocking on your door at other times when you need to concentrate.

Keep a list

The traditional To-Do List is a great visual reminder of things to do and it’s a morale boost to tick off items during the day. Make sure you’re not running several lists at once, however, as that can lead to confusion. Put estimated times against your activities and remember these will always take longer than you think. It will probably mean that you can’t do everything and force you to prioritise. According to Stephen Covey, world famous for his ‘Seven Habits of Effective People’, business owners spend a staggering half their time doing urgent but unimportant work.

Do things once only

Handle things once and you’ll find you are getting a lot more done and not going round in circles. ‘Do-it-now’ workers always rank highest in efficiency surveys. Diet and fitness entrepreneur Rosemary Conley is an exponent of this business philosophy and she says, ‘If you receive an email message, read it and decide straightaway if you want to respond or delete it. Don’t leave it clogging up your inbox to be dealt with later.’

Use business apps

There are lots of apps specially designed to boost small business output, including lots of free versions. Check out this article on 20 free apps to improve your business productivity for a selection of the best.

Related: How to manage time and increase productivity when working from home – E-commerce expert Simon Horton shares his tips for successful time management when working at home.

Adam Wayland

Adam Wayland

Adam was Editor of from 2006 to 2008 and prior to that was staff writer on sister publication BusinessXL Magazine.

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