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Time management is a struggle for everyone these days, but it’s even more challenging for many small business owners who find that they must wear several different hats in order to keep their business running smoothly.

You may feel as though you spend too many days running around, desperately trying to accomplish all of the items on your to-do list and yet still failing to reach your goals. By following these simple time management tips, however, you can learn how to more effectively manage your day.

Tip #1: Know When to Delegate

In the early days of your business, you likely had to take care of many tasks associated with running the business on your own. As your business grows, however, learning how to delegate isn’t just a smart move—it’s critical! Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is there someone on your team who can do this task better than you can?
  • Is this task encompassed by someone else’s job description?
  • Are you able to inexpensively outsource this task?
  • Do you have other things to do—perhaps things that only you can do?

By delegating tasks that aren’t absolutely critical for you to perform, you free your time (and your mind!) up for the larger things that only you can handle.

And regarding that which you can’t always delegate…

Tip #2: Prioritize Your Tasks

In order to manage your time effectively, you need to know what tasks you most need to accomplish. Once you have a list of the tasks you need to accomplish, prioritize them! Include both when tasks must be accomplished and how critical they are to your business.

When you have a priority list of your daily tasks, you’ll know what you most need to accomplish next and need not waste time trying to figure out what’s next.

Tip #3: Remove Distractions

One of the most effective ways to improve your productivity throughout the day is removing distractions—and that includes things that you may not think of as distractions.

You know that staying off the internet during work hours is critical, but have you thought about how your email can be a distraction? What about phone calls or employees sticking their heads in the door? While you need to make time for these things during your day, scheduling specific times for them will make it easier to find the time to take care of important tasks.

Tip #4: Focus on Short Bursts of Activity

You can only focus on a single activity for so long. Giving yourself short bursts of activity followed by a brief break can make it easier to keep your mind on task and improve your overall productivity. For example, the Pomodoro technique breaks down your day into manageable chunks of time, improving your ability to focus heavily on the tasks at hand.

Tip #5: Improve Your Physical Organization

Physical organization is a critical part of your time management processes. When you organize your desk, your files, and your office, you’ll find it easier to locate the items you need most when you need them, reducing the amount of time you need to spend hunting down critical paperwork or information. This will help your entire day flow more smoothly, putting you in a better position to effectively manage your time.

Tip #6: Make a Physical List

A physical to-do list, whether it’s on your smart phone or on a piece of paper, gives you a concrete breakdown of the things you most need to accomplish each day. Breaking down the items on that list can improve your feelings of accomplishment.

Not only that, a list that has been broken down into smaller pieces will give you smaller tasks that can be accomplished when you have a few minutes, rather than forcing you to dedicate large chunks of time to every task on the last.

Effective time management doesn’t happen overnight, especially when you have so many tasks on your plate that you struggle to find the time for them all. By utilizing these key time management strategies, however, you’re more likely to be able to accomplish all of the items on your list for the day.