9 Time Management Secrets
by Mike J. Agugliaro
9 Time Management Secrets of the Most Productive Service Business Owners
When you’re trying to run and improve your service business, there’s one resource you can never get more of – time. There simply can’t be any more hours in the day. That’s why proper time management is crucial for all service business owners. And by learning these secrets, you can master this skill.
Do you know which skill unites everyone who’s good at running a service business? Time management. Sure, your service quality, pricing, marketing, and other factors are all important. But, good time management is what will allow you to give all of these areas the attention they deserve.
Mastering time management is how you become productive enough to grow
your service business to where you want it to be. It’s also how you can go home at the end of the day and still have the time, and the energy, for your personal life.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the easiest thing to pull off. But, it also doesn’t have to be the most difficult one. And, you may be making it more complicated than it needs to be. Whatever the case, the following tips will help. Wrap your head around these nine secrets and time management for service businesses will be much easier.
Secret 1 – Don’t Try to Wing It
There’s a place for spontaneity in everyone’s life. However, it should be the last thing on your mind when you’re thinking about service business time management. If you only start considering your next step after you’ve taken the previous one, you’ll get lost before you know it.
If you don’t have an agenda, your day will be in disarray. It’s as simple as that. When you’re a service business owner, you can’t keep everything in your head. Not when you have to worry about your employees, your customers, the parts you need to order for the next job, and a million other things.
Try to wing it, and you’ll end up in situations where you’re absolutely beat at the end of the day but you’ve still missed quite a few things. And when you’re the person in charge, some of those things can be crucial for your business and your bottom line.
That’s why the first rule of time management for service businesses is to always have an agenda. But it goes deeper than that.
For one, you need to have your daily agenda, and you need to have it ready a day in advance. Simply, set aside some time toward the end of your day and pencil in everything you have for tomorrow. Note down every meeting, set aside a period to answer your emails, and so on. You can (and should) make some adjustments depending on how your day is going, but you need to have this general idea ahead of time.
Secondly, you also need to have agendas for the coming week, month, and even several months. Of course, you won’t be able to plan these down to the hour, but you should have a rough schedule. This is because there are things you simply can’t organize in a few days.
For example, you may want to go to a trade show or industry event. These can be great for service business marketing, but they also require preparation. You have to see who’ll take over for you, you need to make travel arrangements, etc. So, have this in your long-term schedule and move it up as time goes by. That way, you’ll know exactly what you need to do and when, meaning you’re not wasting time on panicking at the last minute.
Secret 2 – Use the Right Tools
Your agenda needs to be comprehensive, but the way you’re actually keeping track of it should be as simple as possible. You can always go out and buy a fancy calendar or notebook. You can also rely on smartphones and tablets. But sometimes, a run-of-the-mill legal pad may be all it takes. In essence, the medium isn’t important. What matters is that the system works for you.
This doesn’t mean you have to stick to the same methods forever. If it makes sense, adopt a new system. Just don’t force it. Your time management system should evolve naturally with you. Basically, it’s all about finding the simplest way to organize your day. If a new system can help you do that, go for it. If it just complicates things, stick with what you know to work.
Secret 3 – Simplicity
Continuing from the previous section, simplicity should be your primary goal in all areas. That’s how you attain service business mastery.
So, when you talk, cut to the point. Don’t exaggerate or overcomplicate. If you’re speaking with a supplier, prepare specific questions in advance, ask them, and say goodbye. If something isn’t moving you forward, block it – you’ll save a lot of time this way.
This also applies to technology. All those rapid advancements may make you feel like you should always be searching for something better. You may think you can’t make progress without the latest productivity app. But the truth is, this often only complicates matters for you.
A new app isn’t a magic bullet that will instantly make your productivity problems go away. The best course of action is to settle on a solution and master it. And as long as it brings the required results, stick with it.
“I function very well because I function well at the things that I know are going to move me forward in an easier way.”
That’s how Mike Agugliaro, the co-owner of CEO Warrior, puts it. Just keep it simple and find the easiest way to advance. After you stop overcomplicating things for yourself, you’ll find time management much easier to handle.
Secret 4 – Breathing Room
In addition to your regular obligations, your agenda also needs to account for the things that sneak up on you. And as a service business owner, this will happen – there’s always someone banging on your door.
So, make sure to give yourself some breathing room. Don’t plan your day to the minute. Instead, think of it in one-hour chunks. Fit what you can into each chunk, but always leave a bit of wiggle room. In the end, it’s better to have 10 minutes to relax than it is to have 10 minutes too little.
Secret 5 – Knock Things Out in Advance
In order to make secret four possible, you may need to get some things done sooner than you’d previously thought. That’s why it’s so important to have your agenda ready a day in advance.
So, when you’re done for the day, look at your schedule for tomorrow. If it’s packed to the brim, ask yourself if you can finish something up right now. And when things get hectic the next day, you’ll really appreciate this breathing room. This takes extra effort, but it’s the road to service business success.
Secret 6 – Reward Yourself
In many ways, good time management is about discipline. You may know what you need to do, but it isn’t always easy to actually see it through. That’s why you should reward yourself for sticking to your agenda.
Few things are as gratifying as crossing out a task that’s been bugging you. You can also give yourself a small treat. That’s how you create momentum and grow your service business through time management.
Secret 7 – Re-evaluate Your Agenda
When you cross something off your to-do list, don’t automatically go to the next item. Instead, take a moment to reevaluate it. Reflect on what you’ve done and consider if any new opportunities have come up. Then, ask yourself if the next item on the schedule is the most important one.
If it still is, go for it. If not, rewrite the agenda. That is course correcting, and it’s how you steer your business to success.
Secret 8 – The “Parking Lot” Page
When you think about your schedule, you’ll notice two types of tasks. Some things you’ll simply have to do at a specific time. But, there are also those things that aren’t that urgent. You need to do them, but you can’t slot them into your daily agenda just yet.
You should have a separate page in your schedule for such tasks. Mike Agugliaro calls it the “parking lot” page. The previous secret was to routinely reevaluate your agenda, and your parking lot page should play a role in this.
So, whenever you’re reexamining your schedule, think if something needs to get off the parking lot page. Alternatively, you might move something to it from your main agenda.
Secret 9 – Self-Coaching
Finally, time management is something you can actively improve on your own. To do this, wait until you’re calm and ask yourself what went really well that day and what didn’t. Then, think about what you’ll do differently tomorrow.
That’s all there is to it. Do more of what went well and examine the reasons certain things didn’t go to plan. Then, when you’re preparing your agenda, put this into action.
Master the Secrets of Service Business Time Management
As a service business owner, you’ll have a lot to do and a limited amount of time to do it. Therefore, it’s very important to be realistic about whether you’re making the most of that time. Because if you’re not, your business will struggle.
By mastering these time management secrets, you can take massive strides toward success. But, there are other areas you can improve as well, and CEO Warrior can help. By becoming a Warrior, you’ll get to work with outstanding service business coaches and make use of tons of great material. For example, if decision-making is slowing you down, we have resources for that.
We already had you ask yourself several questions, and now we have one more.