Infographic: Time Management Principles for Service Business Owners

This article and infographic about time management are from Julia Monahan, Director of Marketing of The Alternative Board.

According to The Alternative Board’s recent business pulse survey on time management, 85% of business owners are working 40+ hours per week, but only 70% want to be. This is true of both retail and service business owners.

In fact, the average service business owner is working 7.7 hours a week more than they’d like. When we asked owners which areas they are wasting or losing most time on, they responded overwhelmingly that they’re bogged down with emails and administrative tasks.

Here’s how it breaks down, in this infographic:

Source: The Alternative Board.

More Time for the Important Things

By freeing up their schedules they could devote more time to marketing, strategic planning, and creating new opportunities for their business – the #1 way most entrepreneurs wish they could be spending time at work.

So how can busy business owners reallocate their time for improved productivity and work-life balance?  A good way to avoid “tyranny of the urgent” is to prioritize your day.

Remove Time Wasters from your Day

One of the simplest versions to take control of this problem is to use the Eisenhower Decision Principle. As tasks come to you it should be easy to identify what bucket they fall into on the urgent and important categories.

Schedule half your day to the “Do” category and the other half to the “Plan.” Everything else should be delegated or removed from the business owner’s schedule.

Delegate Where You Can

While 76% of business owners rank their time management skills above average, an equal amount would like to explicitly reduce tasks that they don’t feel they need to be personally doing. If you have a lot of tasks that are falling into the “Do” category and not many that fall into “Delegate” explore why this is happening.

Can these tasks only be completed by you? If so, why? Is it something that you must be involved in? Is it just that there’s no one currently that could take on that role? A lot of times owners feel like it’s important but only because they are currently the only one on their team that can do the work.

Remember to Recharge

One of the biggest needs this survey uncovered was how important it is for business owners to make time for themselves.  Studies have shown that people need mental downtime to function at higher productivity levels when they are at work. If you’re the type that needs to schedule every hour of the day then set aside an hour to disconnect.  

The business owners that were surveyed felt they would be more productive if they had fewer distractions (45%). Distractions can take many forms. The most prevalent in our modern world is the incessant pings we get from our phones.

It’s important for entrepreneurs to remove or set “off hours” on your phone if it’s connected to work emails. Being connected 24/7 doesn’t decrease the workload during the day. Inversely, it sets a precedent with people that you’re always available.

Simple Steps to Become Productive

If business owners had more time, they would spend it on:

  • Marketing (32%)
  • Strategic planning (24%)
  • Product/service development (15%)
  • Strategic partnerships (11%)

These are all areas that can push the business forward. Better time management not only translates to better long-term strategy, but more time for family, friends, and personal pursuits.

When owners stop and look at their workload it’s easy to feel like time management is an elusive concept that can never be achieved. The truth is that the change comes from changing your mindset. Ideas like categorizing tasks, or remembering to take time to focus on yourself, are deceptively simple tools that can change how you operate. They make your day more efficient and productive.

Julia Monahan is the Director of Marketing of The Alternative Board, an organization that helps owners and leaders of businesses reach their goals through local advisory boards and business coaching.

Want to learn about how service business management software can you help you save time and improve the efficiency of your business? Book a free, private demo of Vonigo.