You are finally in a place where you work for yourself and clocking-in is a thing of the past. But you will most likely step into the trap of becoming one of those consultants that spends more time behind the laptop than on the beach. Running around between clients and completing admin tasks is draining more and more of your time. Although servicing your clients is crucial for your success, you value your time with family and friends and would like to do more of the things you love. One of the best traits a consultant can have is good time management.
So if you are looking to spend more time working on your tan and sipping cocktails than catching up on ad hoc tasks, here are five top time management tips to consider:
1. Plan your day properly
This might sound a bit obvious, but honestly if you want to improve your time management properly planning your day should be your first port of call. If you are already in the routine of setting up a daily schedule, there’s no reason why you can’t optimise it to get even more control of your time. Plan each day in advance and ensure that you know exactly when and where you have to be. Take a few minutes every day before you walk out the door to plot your day.. Furthermore, make sure you have recorded each meeting and task deadline in your Outlook or Gmail calendar so you are never caught off-guard.
2. Be realistic with yourself and your clients
In order to improve your time management skills you need to be honest with yourself about your goals and your capabilities. There’s no point in setting the bar too high. This means you will have to learn how to say ‘no’ to your clients when necessary. There’s nothing worse than not being able to deliver. If you don’t have capacity to complete certain tasks within a certain timeframe, don’t push yourself beyond your own limits. You’ll either end up delivering a below par service or not hit the deadline. Keep in mind that your reputation is at stake and you could end up losing out on prospective clients should you not be able to deliver. Rather give your client a realistic deadline that you will definitely meet, even if they aren’t too happy at first, than to promise something you can’t deliver on and lose the client.
3. Prioritise – keep multitasking to a minimum
We all try to do as many things as possible at once. But if you properly prioritise your agenda it shouldn’t be necessary and you can free up time for personal errands during your day. Beware of the luring trap of multitasking. It isn’t ideal to split your focus on more than one thing at a time and you could end up with two mediocre outcomes that only got half of your attention. Prioritising goes hand-in-hand with setting your daily schedule, it is important to arrange your tasks according to their respective deadlines helps you to know what needs your attention first.
4. Never overpromise on delivery
One of the factors that can seriously jeopardise your time management is over promising to clients. This begins an evil cycle of chasing deadlines – even missing some – and sacrificing your personal time to do urgent work. Ensure you and your clients are fully aware of your work capacity and agree on a reasonable timeframe for delivery. This will depend on how many clients you have, your task turnover rate and the amount of personal time you require. Once you have a clear outline of all the factors that influence the time and delivery of a quality service, you can easily determine attainable deadlines. Remember the old adage, under promise over deliver
5. Work smarter not harder – invest in online business management software
There is nothing that strikes anguish in the hearts of many people like the word ‘administration’. It’s the one thing that everybody needs to do but really doesn’t have the time or the energy for. Unfortunately, financial administration is crucial for you to do, not only to ensure you get paid, but to successfully manage your cash flow and recordkeeping.
Investing in SMEasy’s smart online business management and accounting system can help improve your time management by taking care of the books and give you more time to do business. Ouronline accounting software is easy-to-use so you won’t have to waste time trying to sharpen your accounting skills. Our system is online so you can create and have access to your quotes, invoices and financial admin from anywhere at any time.
Image credit: blog.lesaonline.org