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Time is often cited as one of the largest triggers of stress. How can this be managed effectively in the workplace?
As a small business owner, you can often be faced with a never-ending ‘to do’ list. How you manage your day is often dictated by the most urgent demands on the business, leaving other projects on a constant ‘back-burner’ and resulting in increased stress levels.
A recent survey, conducted by an independent consultancy, looked at words that are directly connected to stresses in peoples’ lives and how often they feature as Google search words. The word that gathered the most results was 'time' with 3,540,000,000 searches (2nd was Power, 3rd was Money).
Clearly, time, or lack of it, is something that affects us all. Am I on time? How much time do we have? Let’s make the most of our time! We are constantly looking for ways to save time – asking for executive summaries, using video ‘how-tos’ rather than consulting a manual and ‘life hacks’ are currently amongst the highest trending blogs across social media.
Yet time is something that can be effectively managed. Furthermore, we can reduce not only our own stress levels, but also those of our employees, through promoting key time management initiatives as company best practice.
5 Ways to manage your time effectively
1. Plan and Schedule A recent blog by Virgin listed this as one of the top four habits of successful people. Self-made billionaire Elon Musk breaks down his day into 5-minute segments! Whilst this level of organisation may not be practical for most, creating an achievable plan of action for each day certainly makes sense. Write a clear agenda for team meetings to reduce any time wasting.
2. The Early Bird Catches the Worm Several studies have agreed that early risers are often more productive in the workplace. Harvard Biologist Christoph Randler’s research discovered that those who got up early were more likely to anticipate problems and find effective solutions more quickly than their counterparts.
3. Multi-task efficiently
Multi-tasking is part and parcel of small business life. The key is to make sure you are doing so efficiently. When you are posting to social media, don’t get side-tracked by other posts that are not relevant to the task in hand. If you are working on two projects at the same time, ensure you complete what is needed according to your daily schedule or prioritise.
4. Embrace new technologies and update Office systems
There are many technologies available to increase work efficiencies which are designed specifically for the small business. Accounting and business productivity software, such as Xero and Office 365, can help your team work more productively. It may require some time investment initially for your team to adopt these new systems, but the long-term gains will certainly be worth it.
5. Take time out!
In much the same way as a ‘time out’ used by a parent is thought to improve a child’s behaviour, so too can time away from your desk increase how productive you are at work. Take a walk outside during your lunch break or, better still, do some physical exercise before work. A study by Jim McKenna showed that work performance was consistently higher after exercising, displayed through better time management and improved mental agility.
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