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5 Time Management Tips for Small Business Owners

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"Excellent with time management." Almost everyone has a similar phrase on their resume (whether it's true is another matter). Using time wisely is a skill that doesn't come naturally to everyone. Even though you've had many opportunities to work at it, you might still find it a struggle to deliver quality work on time, especially as a busy entrepreneur. So how do you get around it?

1. Understand your working style

While it's never a great idea to wait till the very last minute, it's true that for some people, they need to feel the crunch to get things done. If you're one of them, it's worth thinking about how to reset your procrastinating tendencies. But habits are hard to break, so in the meantime, you can mitigate the damage. A shorter list of to-dos is satisfying on its own, so if there's a lull in your schedule, try tackling a few of the most manageable tasks, even if they're not due yet. 

2. Manage your deadlines

Even the world's most effective last-minute worker will have challenges dealing with everything coming due at once. Work out a system that will keep your deadlines top of mind, prioritizing the most urgent tasks and those that need your input before someone else can run with them. Digital reminders are accessible but don't discount the value of a paper calendar. It’s nice to have your to-dos on the wall, scheduled in and colour coded, instead of scrambling to pull up the right app on your phone. 

3. Get going

If you don't have the motivation to finish your task, maybe you can muster up the motivation to get started? Often that's the hardest part. Once you’ve cleared that psychological barrier, you might see that the project wasn't nearly as impossible as it initially seemed. Plus, the night before you have to send it in, it'll be nice to know you don't have to start from scratch. It's a lot easier to fix up what you have than it is to conjure something from nothing when the clock is ticking. 

4. Forget perfection

Turning in good work is important. But so is getting it done on time. So instead of spending precious time continuously tweaking that presentation, do your best, get it done and move on. Chances are, you're your own harshest critic. There will always be something you could have done differently, but instead of getting paralyzed by the details, aim for quality, big-picture job well done. 

5. Get help

As an entrepreneur, you're a one-stop-shop. You might be CEO, front line staff, and marketing pro all rolled into one, which means your deliverables are fast, furious and never let up. If you're managing OK, keep on keeping on. If not, it might be time to find some key people you can delegate to. Look for someone who can take on the most time-consuming tasks, the ones you have the least experience in doing or just the ones you dislike the most (no shame!). After all, every superhero needs a sidekick.

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