Small Business Time Management: Tips, Methods and Tools

Good time management is essential to grow faster.  You know: especially in small businesses, there are no resources to waste.

With the lean team, it is necessary to think of time management so that every minute of work is maximized and, at the end of the month, makes a positive difference to the business.

Or have you never noticed how many hours you spend with unnecessary e-mail, unproductive meetings, and social networking? The list of distractions is huge, and the lack of focus, one of the reasons for inefficiency.

But just complaining about the modern world and hyperconnectivity will not do any good.

That’s why we have prepared a complete time management manual to take your productivity to the next level.

With the tips of the next few lines, you’ll better understand how to organize your work hours, how to manage time, how to personalize your daily planner, and how to bring that learning to colleagues or employees in the company.

What is Time Management?

Time management in companies is the administration of employees’ working hours. It can be done by the employee himself, who wants to earn more, or by the team leader, who wants to improve the team’s results.

The goal of time management is to use every working moment in the most efficient way possible to increase productivity, beat goals and improve results. 

For the employee, this type of concern means more success in their tasks and more chances of growth in the organization.

For the entrepreneur, it results in higher revenues, reduced costs and higher efficiency.

And how to master time management and achieve those results?

There are many different paths, such as task management software, mental discipline, boss charges, productivity meetings, and more.

Next, let’s better understand how to take time management to value your minutes in the company.

Importance of Time Management in Small Businesses

The first step the entrepreneur must take is to be aware of the importance of time management.

Suppose you have a retail company, for example. Factors such as store opening and closing, sales management, stock control, and customer service all take time – so it needs to be well leveraged.

So it is necessary to map all these activities and control the time spent in each one. But what is the real importance of this?

In an article for Entrepreneur magazine, brand manager Dipti Parmar says time tracking eliminates redundancy and optimizes work processes. This reduces your overall business costs.

But the benefits go beyond that. By optimizing employee activities, the company gains productivity, which can have a direct impact on the quality of service you provide to the customer.

Not to mention that with management, team processes become more organized. Think of your business as a machine: all gears need to run fully so the end product is satisfactory.

Challenges of time management and productivity

Time management is all about productivity, and productivity, with the financial results of the company.

In Brazil, this concern should be even greater, after all the country has inadequate levels of efficiency.

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staggering datum: Brazilian worker productivity today is 25% of the productivity of an American, as the Conference Board study with data for 2017 and estimate for 2018 indicates.

But you know what’s worse? Since the 1990s, this proportion has not changed much.

For the manager, this apparent bad news can be perceived in another way.

If the competition has low productivity, there are many opportunities for you, right?

So take this little time management manual seriously.

You need to understand that this management requires changes in employee behavior and behavior. This, in most cases, is only possible when there is also a change in the company culture – something that depends on leadership.

So, evaluate some aspects of the business. How do you guide your employees to deal with contingencies? How do they identify the priority tasks? What’s more, how do you help professionals optimize their activities?

You also need to have a direct relationship with your employees so that everyone can map time management mistakes, identify which factors hamper productivity, and which measures can solve the problem.

But none of this will be helpful if the team does not handle distractions at work. A productivity expert, Maura Thomas points out in a text for the Harvard Business Review: “The root of team problems is not managing time but managing attention.”

Let’s go back to the example of the retail company. Generally, stores receive many emails from consumers, and responding to all of them takes time. This is one of the key productivity challenges for this type of business.

In order for the employee not to stop what he is doing with each received message, a good alternative would be to create an automatic response mechanism, informing the consumer to contact by phone if the matter is urgent.

In this way, you prevent the professional from losing productivity by performing a task that is not so urgent. Strategies like this are simple, but they make a difference in the daily life of the company.

Time management tools

Now that you understand the importance and challenges of time management, how about knowing some useful tools and methods?

Organizational software

Organizational software is important for the team to follow the company’s projects. Check out some options:

Trello

With the tool, you create a dashboard with company projects, through which you can identify your stage and tasks.

You can also set deadlines and checklists, make comments, and upload files. In addition, the platform sends email notifications about important activities.

MeisterTask

It allows the creation of several projects and the distribution of activities. When an employee completes a certain task automatically, the next step is directed to the responsible employee.

The platform also allows time management with the count of hours spent on each activity.

G Suite

This is the business version of Google tools like Gmail, Calendar, and Drive. The proposal is to increase the productivity of the company from tools that centralize the works in the cloud.

Thus, all employees have access to materials and can communicate by working collaboratively.

Asana

The software offers a dashboard with company projects, where you can define steps and delegate tasks. Focusing on time management, you can set timelines for each activity and add priority icons for each activity.

Another interesting feature is that the team visualizes the activities in a calendar, leaving everything more organized.

Pomodoro Technique

Created in the ’80s by the Italian Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro technique aims to increase productivity and has a direct relationship with good time management.

You create a task list and start timing. So work for 25 minutes without interruption. At the end of that time, you gain five minutes to rest your mind.

Completing this cycle of Pomodoros four times, you do a longer rest period: 15 to 20 minutes. Then, just restart the technique.

It is worth remembering that when the workflow is interrupted, it is necessary to restart from scratch.

SWOT Analysis

You’ve probably heard of SWOT Analysis, but what does it mean? The acronym is from English and refers to four aspects: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Each employee should self-analyze their productivity by asking themselves about the four central aspects:

  • Forces: what tasks do you do well and know about? They can be developed first to make better use of time.
  • Weaknesses: what tasks do you dislike, or in what areas do you still need to acquire knowledge?
  • Opportunities: what are the possibilities to explore new activities and seek knowledge?
  • Threats: What other market professionals are doing and what factors outside the company can influence their performance?

With this mapping, it is easier for the professional to identify opportunities to be more productive and what he must do to overcome obstacles.

Agile methods

This is a more flexible alternative to other traditional project management approaches.

Through agile methods, management aims at the constant adaptation of work processes. Already the team seeks a balance between the needs of customers and the company itself.

Some concepts guide agile methods: teamwork, rapid and frequent communication, constant learning, taking advantage of opportunities and delivering value to clients.

The advantage is that there are a number of templates that you can apply in your company such as FDD, Scrum, MSF, and XP. It is worth knowing these methodologies.

 

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