Time Management tools for Entrepreneurs

You came very early to your office and after having a very busy day it is time to go back home. Even though you came  early and left late, you don’t feel of doing anything significant. This happen to many people therefore calling for proper time management.

Proper and effective time management will not only help you set enough time for business development but also set aside enough time for personal development including time for your family and friends.

In this article, we will offer tips  on time management and various steps you can take to improve effectiveness..

Making the best use of your time

In order to achieve desired goals and priorities, every entrepreneur need to manage and align daily activities properly within available time slots .

Time is one resource that we do not buy, but we often waste it or use it ineffectively. Scheduling helps you think about what you want to achieve in a day, week or month, and keeps you on track to accomplish desired goals.

Time management works well when it is treated as an integral part of overall plan in the business enterprise and by each individual, rather than as an isolated and often a by-the-way activity that has to be done as and when we find time.

We all have exactly equal hours available to us – it is the use of these hours that makes the different between effective people and those ineffective.

Those who always do the most important things they are supposed to be doing at a certain time, are the most effective people.

Many successful people and business enterprises budget money for business operations and they further budget time (scheduling) as well.

Three steps of time management

To manage time properly you have to do the following three steps:

  • Identify the things that waste your time and not productive
  • Make a list of all your tasks and prioritize the most important ones
  • Draw up a daily to-do list to make sure that all tasks are completed in time.

Example: Hassan is an entrepreneur, is a trader of goods at major a market in Dar es Salaam. He normally works seven days a week. Among many of his business activities are to trade, and he is a member of MSHIKAMANO VICOBA in which they meet every Monday. In the last few months his business is not doing quite well. Leaders of MSHIKAMANO VICOBA have required him to attend an urgent meeting on Monday at 14:30 hrs. On the same day and time he expects to meet his long time client from Comoro at  his office. What should Hassan do?

Though both meetings are important, Hassan needs to make a wise decision. As a person who depend on business to earn a living, he will naturally be forced to attend the meeting which will in one way or another bring positive impact to his business and reschedule the one that aims to discuss issues which have little or no impact to his business.

As entrepreneurs we need to identify things that consume our time and they are less productive. This does not mean that we ignore them but we attend them in a manner that doesn’t impact the operations of our businesses.

How to identify time wasters

Time wasters are all those things which are not essential to your core tasks. You may do them because you are used to doing them, or because they are easier to do or because of other people and demands they make or problem they cause. These time wasters can either be caused by your business enterprise or by yourself.

Practice the following techniques to become the master of your own time:

  1. Carry a schedule and record all your thinking, conversations and activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going. You’ll see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions.
  2. Any activity or conversation that’s important to your success should have a time assigned to it. Schedule appointments with yourself and create time blocks for high-priority thoughts, conversations, and actions. Schedule when they will begin and end. Have the discipline to keep these appointments.
  3. Plan to spend at least 50 percent of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce most of your results.
  4. Schedule time for interruptions. Plan time to be pulled away from what you’re doing. Take, for instance, the concept of having “office hours.” Isn’t “office hours” another way of saying “planned interruptions?”
  5. Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don’t start your day until you complete your time plan.
  6. Take five minutes before every call and task to decide what result you want to attain. This will help you know what success looks like before you start. And it will also slow time down. Take five minutes after each call and activity to determine whether your desired result was achieved. If not, what was missing? How do you put what’s missing in your next call or activity?
  7. Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing. Don’t instantly give people your attention unless it’s absolutely crucial in your business to offer an immediate human response. Instead, schedule a time to answer and return phone calls.

Importance of having supervision skills

After getting some basics of time management, the next step is to have an operational plan. Operation supervision is very essential as it provide a business with a means to oversee the intended activities of the business and make sure that they are done in proper standards.

A supervisor is a manager at the first level of management. She is tasked to ensure that the business is meeting the intended goals. She also ensures that employees are performing their jobs. Operational Supervisor oversees daily business problems and goals.

A supervisor should possess the following skills:

  • Management Skills
  • Technical Skills
  • Human Relation Skills
  • Idea developing Skills
  • Decision Making Skills

General Function of a supervisor includes the following

Planning – this involves drawing up plans of actions that combine unity, continuity, flexibility and accuracy given the organization’s resources.

Leading – this involves the social and informal sources of influence that you use to inspire action taken by others. It helps supervisors understand their subordinates’ personalities, values, attitudes, and emotions.

Controlling – this involves identifying performance weaknesses and errors by controlling feedback, and conforming activities to plans and instructions.

Supervisors must be prepared for change as fast as their employees do. Supervisor must be accountable to business practice by imposing penalties for employees who fail to adequately carry out responsibilities and provide rewards for meeting expectations.

Tips for supervisors

Supervisor must be prepared for change as fast as their employees do.

Supervisor must be accountable to business practice by imposing penalties for employees who fail to adequately carry out responsibilities and provide rewards for meeting expectations.

Set limits on your behavior! No gossip.

Do not be a “rescuer”. Train employees to improve performance, do not do it for them.

Figure out how to measure success. Know when people are not on track to meet goals.

Communicate with everyone. Talk with each subordinate regularly.

Be firm. You will be tested on rules and standards.

Learn from others. Find other bosses who will share their wisdom. Seek people inside and outside the organization. Create a business network.

A successful supervisor is one who;

Brings a positive attitude to the workplace.

Be interested in hearing about work related problems.

Be loyal to the organization. Listen to employees and discuss problems.

Develop good communication skills. Your time will not shift from task to people orientation.

Be able to delegate and give up control.

Must accept the challenge and seize the opportunity for success.

Let us end here for today, next week we will discuss other aspects of business management

If you want more information about Business Management Tips and templates please visit http://enterpreneurs.or.tz/business-management/

Prepared by Veneranda Sumila

Content Specialist

Tanzania Private Sector Foundation

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