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Time Management Skills – the Secret of Boosting Productivity

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Thursday March 1, 2012 at 9:00am
You probably don’t need an accountant to tell you time equals money.

But I’m going to anyway because too many business people don’t actually translate this into positive action and manage their time effectively.

If you had £10,000 in your hand, you wouldn’t let the kids play with it or stick it in the coat pocket with a hole at the bottom. Yet we often treat our time with the same carelessness and squander this valuable resource.

Learning how to manage time is crucial for successful business, so here are some handy tips to help you become a high-flying time investor:

Create Daily ‘To-Do’ Lists

Time management skills begin with setting targets. Every day should have a clear list of realistic objectives, broken down into priorities. Assign tasks to income-producing and non-income-producing categories. Within these, arrange the jobs from urgent down to those which can wait if needed. If you are going to delegate work, choose the non-income producing tasks for others to do.

A secret of managing time is to use these lists. Include time spent on developing the business. This is a crucial area and often neglected.

Control your Workload

Superman lives in comic books. You’re not Superman - you live in the real world. Your time management should reflect this.

Learn to assess the amount of time tasks will take and make sure you don’t take on too much. If you overload yourself, the quality of your work will suffer. People work best when focusing on one thing at a time, so work steadily through your to-do list and avoid multi-tasking. Delegate when appropriate. You may even have to consider taking on more staff or outsourcing.

Take a Break

Learning how to manage your time means learning how to work productively. The human brain can only concentrate for relatively short periods. Even after half an hour our attention span is reaching its limit and we begin to work less effectively. So it’s crucial to build regular breaks into your schedule. This will relax your body and mind, enabling you to return to work with increased levels of focused productivity.

Two hours of smart working can accomplish more than three hours of unbroken desk-sitting.

Avoid Distractions

Expert time management involves disciplined distraction management! Don’t leave your work for every ping of a new email. Set your phone to voicemail when important tasks are scheduled. There are chatty colleagues in every office, but whilst they can be great for a break, you have to be disciplined and limit the time you spend nattering.

Structuring your day should include managing the time you spend reading emails or visiting your social media websites.

Work/Life Balance

Your business is there to allow you and your family to live a happy, secure life. When it starts to take over your life you’ve forgotten the point.

Work is just one part of your life. This is one of the most important time management skills because it is about your health and happiness. Be sure to leave the office behind when it’s time for you and your loved ones. Leave the emails, shut the laptop and remember you should be working to live – not living to work.

Then, just as with the benefits of taking breaks, you will return properly recharged and healthier in body and mind.

…Oh, and make sure you don’t forget the most important item at the top of your to-do list:

1) Read the Parker blog.

I’ll leave you to fill in the rest.

Andy Parker
Chartered Accountant and Chartered Financial Planner

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Parker Chartered Accountants and Financial Advisors is the trading name for Parker Business Development Ltd (Registered No. 4116664), Parker Tax and Trust Ltd (Registered No. 06950353) and Parker Financial Planning LLP (Registered No. OC347027). Parker Financial Planning LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. All companies are registered in England and Wales – registered office contact details here