Time management is an essential part of becoming a successful entrepreneur. The ability to make full use of time can have a huge impact on productivity and is one of the contributing factors in growing a business.
Acquiring this skill takes discipline, having the right mindset, and the right tools to get the job done. This can be achieved with modern business applications, time management tools, and CRMs such as Small Business Dream.
First, we’ll take a look at how to identify the problems and difficulties that limit our ability to stay focused and be more productive. Next, we’ll explain some ways to take control of our time and introduce a CRM application to enhance time management skills of business owners and the workforce.
Eliminate Distractions from Work
Distraction is the thief of time. Many businesses are losing a lot of money due to unproductive use of time. Unfortunately, most of them are pretty common in the workplace. Recent surveys reveal that nearly half of the working hours are lost to unrelated activities such as making personal calls or using the social media and the Internet for non-work purposes.
Eliminating distractions from work frees up a lot of time on your daily work schedule and allows you to accomplish more than you used to. Some distractions are unavoidable, but for the most part, being distracted is a matter of choice.
Keep a Record of Time Usage
The first step to mastering your time is to trace back how many hours you’ve spent on a given task. If you’re like a lot of people and don’t know what you do half the time, using a time tracker will be useful in monitoring where you’re spending your efforts. You don’t need to use a fancy app or program. Just grab an excel sheet or print one off online.
Using a time tracker, people can spot the problems right away. They’ll be surprised to know how much of it is squandered away on activities that have nothing to do in achieving their goals. Others find they are spending too much time on tasks which have little or no impact to their job.
Try to recall everything you’ve done on regular work days and make an estimate of how much time you’ve spent on each one. If possible, include every distraction, idle hours, and other non-related activities in between.
Notice how much time you’ve used on each group of tasks. Sort them out according to the ones that have the greatest impact to your line of work to the least ones. Using this information, you can map out a strategy to maximize your time, eliminate time-consuming tasks, and concentrate on the most important ones.
The ideal number of hours spent on each task usually depends on one’s role. For business owners and seniors who need to coordinate tasks and make corporate decisions, they are most productive doing leadership roles in key areas. Micromanaging every task may not be the best use of time for this type of work.
Organize and Prioritize Your Tasks
There are different approaches to organizing and prioritizing tasks. Some authors encourage doing the most difficult ones first and the easier ones last. These tasks usually have the biggest impact to productivity and they can have serious consequences if not acted upon immediately.
Among the different approaches include:
- The 80/20 Rule
- “Eat that Frog”
- ABCDE Method
The 80/20 Rule is probably the oldest, yet the most powerful principle that applies not only in business but in almost every aspect of life. The rule states that out of every 10 things that must be done, only 2 of them will have the greatest impact in achieving your goal.
After reviewing how much time is spent during a typical working day, you can start identifying the most important ones depending on the type of work you have, or what roles you need to fulfill for the company.
For business owners, they need to prioritize tasks that revolve around their role as decision-makers and overseers. Sales and marketing teams will have to focus more on customer-oriented tasks such as customer acquisition, follow-ups, and closing deals. Smart companies use CRM to increase productivity in these areas and boost sales.
Small Business Dream is one of the best examples of CRMs that help sales and marketing teams deal with every customer-oriented task and reduce a significant amount of time collecting, organizing, prioritizing, and updating customer information.
The “Eat that Frog” principle was coined by Mark Twain, who said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
While a bizarre example, it is another approach to prioritizing the most important tasks of the day. Doing the important tasks first, allows you to have the best output since you’re working from a fresh start when your energy is high. For sales people, they need to check on their prospects and customers first before proceeding to their next task. Some CRMs have certain features that force them to deal with those tasks first when they go to work.
Small Business Dream’s Action List will show up every contact they have to link up via social media or phone calls within the day. Failure to communicate with anyone on the list could mean missed opportunities or customers losing interest in the company. This could cost you hundreds, even thousands of dollars, in potential income.
The ABCDE Method is a way of organizing each task based on their implications for the overall outcome.
The ABCDE Method stands for:
A-tasks – These are tasks that only you alone can do and will have serious consequences if not completed within the day. Following up on a key customer is considered an A-task.
B-tasks – These tasks need to be done, but not necessary in achieving immediate goals. These tasks can wait and should be addressed only after completing all the A-tasks. Consequences are minimal for B-tasks (e.g., reading emails, and checking on low priority customers)
C-tasks – These tasks contribute little in achieving company goals and objectives. These tasks are optional and don’t have any consequence at all.
D-tasks – These tasks can be done by anyone else. Delegating small tasks gives you more time to focus on your main objective. Hiring a VA can help you skip most of your routine tasks and work on your main task right away.
E-tasks – These tasks serve no real purpose and are not necessary for getting the work done. Hence, they must be eliminated.
Plan Your Day Ahead of Time
An hour spent in planning can save you ten hours executing them. Make it a habit to spend an extra hour planning on how you can tackle the job the next day.
Planning not only organizes your thoughts on how to spend the day; it also makes you more confident that you can accomplish your goal because you’ve already planned for it.
List down all the tasks that need to be done and prioritize them according to importance. Apply the 80/20 Rule and focus on things that matter most, first and foremost.
If you have to handle interruptions from work, include them in your schedule. Block off your time and refrain from doing two things at once.
Learn CRM to Manage Time Wisely
Small Business Dream sales and marketing CRM contains many useful features to help business owners and sales people achieve phenomenal growth by focusing on high-priority tasks such as following up with customers on the Action List through social media and phone calls, adding notes about a particular customer, leaving a message and re-scheduling the next appointment at a pre-determined date. Opt-in customers and visitors in the Sales Funnel are added instantly to the Action List.
Sales teams can concentrate on other customer-oriented tasks after completing the Action List for just an hour or two. If the volume of incoming customer information from walk-in visitors and customers gets too high, they can use Small Business Dream’s Card Scan function and save a lot of time transcribing all the customer information.
Take your business to the next level through sales and marketing automation. Visit SmallBizDream.com and start using our suite of tools to increase your sales and profitability like never before.