December is full of parties and celebrations. As a small business owner you might be on the ‘flat out’ side of the coin or the ‘winding down’ side—either way, make sure you get to celebrate and relax at some stage. Being in small business is hard work—being the boss with all responsibility can be wearing. What do you need to put in place to make sure you get to relax and celebrate? Does it mean you have to work long hours in the lead up to Christmas then take a well-earned rest? Does it mean that you can slow down in December ready to hit the ground running in January?

I love the water tank story—if you have an empty tank, you can’t take any more out until you top it up—same with small business owners. If you run your tank down, plan to top it up. A full tank can be shared and enjoyed by many. An empty tank can also be filled up by asking for help—if you need to put measures in place to get support over December, make plans early. Get Sorted. with help at home, help at work and, ideally, lots of play!

How to get it all done! Focus, Productivity and Save Time

After coaching and training people in Time Management for almost 20 years, I have found the following five Tips work. I have my Time Management workshop graduates come up to me years later and say they are still using what they learnt, as it still works! Recently I was told that I have changed one participant’s life after he attended my Sorted. Time workshop.

The world now has access to adding to our To Do Lists—Social media posts, comments and messages, emails, phone messages and in person interactions. They can all lead to tasks and actions that demand your attention.

Here are ‘Five Top Tips’ that will help you to manage these competing demands on your precious time:

  1. Use ‘To Do’ lists. Weekly list the outcomes you want to achieve & at the end of each day prepare your focus list for the following day.
  2. Manage interruptions and handle them effectively. Prepare what to say. For example: ‘Great to see you—I have a deadline in half an hour so do you mind if we catch up at lunch?’
  3. Lead by example. When you drop in or call someone ask ‘Is now a good time?’ so you can support them to get the most out of their day.
  4. Don’t allow distractions to become an interruption. How do you get distracted? As you clean the kitchen, surf the net or read the junk mail, consider the impact on achieving your ‘To Do’ list. Take control by making a choice—are you wasting time or getting things done?
  5. Say NO. Every time you say yes to something, consider what you are saying no to. You simply can’t do everything and that is OK to accept—then you can focus on your priorities. Consider having a ‘Not To Do’ list and keep it in view!

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” Michael Altshuler

Enjoy the next few weeks of activity, make the most out of connecting with people at work and play, and please make sure you schedule in some down time.