How To: Beat the clock

Written by Anna Sharratt

After your daily round of e-mails, meetings and administrative headaches, do you feel you’ve accomplished next to nothing? Follow these tips to get more from your precious time.

1. Determine what’s most important to you Don’t become a slave to other people’s priorities. Decide what’s important to you and your business before the daily onslaught begins. “Plan into a void,” says Mark Ellwood, president of Toronto-based Pace Productivity Inc. That means organizing your day by pretending there is nothing on the agenda. Eliminate trivia and focus on what your business needs from you to grow.

2. Drop your cellphone “I want people to throw away their cellphones,” says Ellwood, arguing their convenience encourages people to drag out conversations unnecessarily. Use that phone time to do something more productive. Reduce how many people can reach your mobile.

3. Delegate the small stuff “Outsource the things that you don’t necessarily like doing — or aren’t necessarily good at doing,” says Jean Hanson, a Minnesota-based virtual assistant who assists entrepreneurs with time management. Again, stick to doing the things that will help you build your business. Think in terms of your hourly wage: you shouldn’t be licking envelopes for $100 an hour.

4. Block off your time Assign specific tasks to specific periods of time. If you obey the resulting schedule religiously, you can avoid falling into the trap of attempting to do everything at once and accomplishing very little. So, for example, set hours for staff inquiries and book a daily, 30-minute-long e-mail session.

5. Be tidy Neatniks often get more done. That’s because keeping a well-organized office can go a long way in saving time. For instance, says Hanson, if you colour-code your file folders, you’ll be able to find them in a pinch.

© 2005 Anna Sharratt

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com