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The Key to Business Confidence? Taking Control of Time

The Key to Business Confidence? Taking Control of Time

The old saying goes: time is money. As business owners, we know this better than anyone! When it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, it’s easy to fall into a cycle of last-minute panic and frazzled after-hours working.

The good news is, there are strategies we can implement immediately to take control of time and have the hours we need. By consciously and tactically structuring our working days, we can boost productivity, reduce stress and tap into those all-important opportunities to develop our businesses.

Investigate How You’re Using Time

How many times have you got to lunchtime and asked yourself: what have I been doing all morning? The truth is, a lot of us don’t realise how we’re using our time, or how many minutes get eaten up by tasks that aren’t even on our schedules.

So, the first step to taking control of time? Creating a realistic picture of how you’re using it. Make a calendar showing every task you do in a week - from the small ones you don’t usually schedule to the blocked-out hours for regular meetings.

The key is to be honest with yourself. For example, if you’re someone who takes a coffee and scroll break a few times each day, put it in the calendar! The same goes for quick tasks like replying to emails or checking the news.

Seeing all your time accounted for will help you spot where you’re squandering it. Equally, when you see tasks being repeated, you can schedule them to create structure. Take, for example, replying to non-urgent emails. Instead of replying to them sporadically throughout the day, could you create a dedicated power half-hour every morning?

Once you’ve accounted for these repeated tasks, you’ll see just how much time you realistically have for creating deliverables, saying yes to meetings or taking on new clients.

Get Strategic With ‘When’

One of the most simple yet transformative time-management shifts: do the job you least want to do first thing in the morning. Whether it’s replying to a tricky email or some notoriously boring admin, tackling that task will free up brain space and mental energy for the rest of the day.

Similarly, identify when you’re most focused throughout the day. For some people, that hour after lunch is a productivity power hour. For others, it’s a bit of a slump. Purposefully schedule less demanding jobs in those down-hours and prioritise high-value tasks when you know you’re most focused and in-flow.

Another trick is task-batching. This means strategically grouping similar tasks together to work on at the same time. It could also look like getting all tasks for one client done in one go, even if they’re not immediately next to each other on your to-do list.

After all, if you’ve already got all the tabs, emails and data in front of you, it’s much more efficient to complete another related task than switch it up and return later. By avoiding multitasking, you’ll stay in the right mindset and maximise each minute.

Can Multitasking Work?

It’s true that, when it comes to completing high-focus tasks, multitasking is a time killer. Whilst it’s tempting to try and juggle multiple things at once, producing high-quality deliverables takes a solid block of dedicated time - without distractions and switching it up.

This is the concept behind One4Growth’s No Procrastination Stations [LINK], when we invite people to get together to get stuff done. By starting off with a chat - and writing everyone’s aims for the day on the board - we all feel accountable before getting heads down for solid, distraction-free work blocks.

Yet, there are times when multitasking can boost efficiency. The trick is to find times when you could essentially be doubling up on your minutes - without impacting the quality of either task you’re doing.

For example, commuting on public transport? You could listen to that podcast. Doing the washing up? That’s a great time to catch up on a recorded meeting. The key to doubling up your time is looking for moments when your brain and body can do two things in sync.

Equally, there might be opportunities to fit personal or wellbeing tasks into work time. If you’re cameras-off in a Zoom call, can you get some movement in and still be engaged? Doing some stretches - or even hanging the washing - can be a great way to maximise your minutes and free up time for other more mentally-intensive tasks later in the day.

Interested in joining our next No Procrastination Station? Find out more: No Procrastination Station - Glasgow | One 4 Growth

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