Ever lamented about why there are only 24 hours in a day? If you are the owner of a small-and-medium-sized enterprise (SME), this is probably a question you constantly ask yourself about.
From strategy, to sales, finance, business development, customer relationship management, accounting, and research and development, your day (and night) is probably chock-a-block with an endless to-do list that never seems to shrink.
It doesn’t matter if you love what you do with a fierce passion, and you believe in it with every fibre of your being. If you don’t have enough time to do what you need to do, there really is no point, is there?
1. Start the day by planning it
Resist the urge to check your emails, social media (both your personal and your company’s) or the news. Instead, always sit down and plan first what you intend to do in the next 24 hours. Provide seven to eight hours for sleep too – we all know what happens if there’s a lack of that.
2. Prioritise your tasks
Group them into three buckets: urgent and important, important but not urgent, and neither important nor urgent. This gives a good sense of what needs your attention the most, and the least. With the latter, delegate as much as possible (see tip #8).
3. Reserve time for difficult tasks
A difficult task means you need to expend more time and energy to do it. Give it the loading it deserves. This could be anything from charting a new strategy, restructuring, or even brainstorming new product and service offerings. Be realistic about the amount of time you will need.
4. Understand what your desired outcomes are
Don’t go into a meeting or discussion, or even start a project without knowing what the purpose is. This will help to give focus to everything and keep you on track.
5. Allow for interruptions
The life of an entrepreneur is anything but predictable. Plan all you like but interruptions (or surprises, in some cases) are inevitable. It could be a phone call from a former client to explore a new project, or a chat initiated by your staff.
6. Don’t be afraid to hang up the DND sign
You need quiet time to be distraction-free, so don’t hesitate to say “do not disturb” to your team. They’ll get it. Just make sure it doesn’t happen so frequently they feel your door is always closed.
7. Avoid distractions
Put the pause on social media and instant messaging while you’re working through the to-do list for the day. You can review them while taking a break, but these are windows that should not be permanently open to tempt you.
Remember that “neither important nor urgent” list? Chances are items in that bucket can be “outsourced” to your team members – that’s why you’re the boss. You hire people to help you, so be conscious of that all the time. Be sure to give clear briefs and provide guidance if it’s asked for.
One of the things that should never be on your to-do list, or bog you down, is running your back office. Leave that to the experts, like PikoHANA. The Singapore-based technology firm can tailor its offerings to suit your business needs, all for an affordable flat monthly fee.
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