Small Business Tip: Time Management Strategies, Part One

Small Business Time Management Tips
Photo by Scott Feldstein

As a member of Ruby® Receptionists’ Client Services Department, I routinely answer questions about our virtual receptionists and dole out phone answering advice. It’s my job to make sure that every one of our clients gets five-star, red carpet service (after all, our commitment to WOWism separates us from an average business answering service). That’s no easy task, so the director of my department recently supported me in a long-term project to learn time management techniques and share the findings with my co-workers.

So what can we do to stay organized? If you’re like me, you prioritize all day long—what needs to get done now? What can I respond to tomorrow? Here are three quick tips to help you manage your schedule. Remember to take the time, because it will save you time!

  1. Time-blocking and task-blocking. Schedule blocks of time to work on tasks. Think of them as meetings with yourself. Respect your time and don’t be late. Focus and be present. Don’t check email or allow non-urgent interruptions to get you off track. This takes a lot of practice, especially if your job requires a lot of phone answering.
  2. Think in smaller increments. Instead of thinking about all the things you have to do today, think about what you need to accomplish in the next hour or before your next break. Listen to Lord Chesterfield when he says, “I recommend you to take care of the minutes, for the hours will take care of themselves.” If you find yourself consistently not finishing your next-hour list, then it’s a cue to examine more closely how efficient you’re being.
  3. List the next three. What are the next three projects you need to work on? These are the big things. While the “next-hour list” tells you what tasks you need to finish by a certain time, the “next three” will make sure you’re working towards your top priorities. Jotting them down doesn’t take much time, but having them in front of you will keep you accountable for reaching your long-term goals.

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions—or recommended tactics—involving time management? If so, please tweet us at @callruby!

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