HOW TIME MANAGEMENT CAN UNLOCK YOUR HIDDEN POTENTIAL January 31, 2023 | Business Tips | entrepreneur , business growth , small business , time management By Jon McCreath, NPI, Inc.'s Technical Supervisor & Training Administrator Small business owners have a lot on their plate. As a home inspector, for example, owners are frequently one part inspector, one part marketer, one part continuing education instructor, and one part bookkeeper (just to name a few responsibilities). Naturally, it can be easy to feel spread thin at times, with different tasks and projects constantly vying for attention. To survive, small business owners need to learn how to become organized and manage their time well - it’s as simple as that. Still, building your time management capability is a constant process. Reconsider these strategies to improve how you run your business and raise the ceiling of your potential. Why Should You Improve Your Time Management? For some people, the benefits of improved time management are obvious. They might struggle to meet deadlines and frequently double-book their meetings. Still others might feel that they have a system they like in place - they just have too much to do! However advanced your time management skills might be, there is always room for improvement and evaluation. Through a frequent time management “self audit” you have the opportunity to improve your productivity at work. By cutting down on tasks that drain your time and attention, your efficiency and quality of work have the potential to upgrade - leaving yourself more time allotted for things that matter and less time stressing over things that don’t. This could mean more time with the family, recreational activities, or even worthwhile projects that allow you to invest time back into your business.. To get started, consider these tested strategies to improve your workflow. 1. Assess How You Currently Spend Your Time Take an average day (or week) and track what tasks demand your attention. Divide your day up into easily trackable chunks (15-30 minutes), and plan to be surprised. Very often, our time is eaten up by tedious, unimportant tasks that could be optimized or reimagined to improve efficiency. During this step, it is also important to be honest with yourself. If your time is often drained with phone calls, long lunches, or time surfing the web, track yourself accurately to get a full picture of how your time is spent. Breaks aren’t necessarily a waste of time. According to researchers at The Wellbeing Thesis through the University of Derby in the UK, breaks are important for recovering from stress and can improve overall performance. 2. Prioritize (and Re-Prioritize) Your Recurring Tasks With a self assessment out of the way, you should have all the information you need to restructure your day. Chances are, some tasks that need more attention likely aren’t given the time they need, while others are taking up more room than they deserve. A powerful tool can be something called the Eisenhower Matrix. An organization system developed by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Eisenhower Matrix is a method of sorting tasks based on importance and urgency. All tasks deemed both “urgent” and “important” should take your attention first. Restructure your day so that these vital tasks are completed in a timely manner. Tasks that are “urgent” but not “important” should be delegated if possible, and tasks that are “important” but not “urgent” should be scheduled immediately. Finally, tasks that are neither “urgent” nor “important” should be either discarded or set aside. Whether you use this method or another, determine which tasks will most directly help you reach your goals, and then plan to tackle them accordingly. 3. Check Your Progress With your days restructured, continue to check in on your current workflow to see how things can be improved. Planning ahead, keeping a strict calendar, and following a daily to-do list can be additional aids that help people stick to their plans. Ultimately the aids that work best will depend on a person’s individual personality and tastes. Ideally, an optimized schedule should feel natural and is built out of developing better habits. As an additional tip, consider checking in on the condition of your work space. A chaotic, disorganized space can build up quicker than expected, and the result can be unnecessary stress and anxiety. Take the time to organize your space to reduce unneeded distractions. Every National Property Inspections franchise comes with access to a team of experts that have experienced what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to running an inspection business. Never hesitate to reach out to your corporate team for advice, and remember to join the private group on Facebook to get in on the conversation! If you are interested in starting your own home inspection business, click here to learn more about what it’s like to franchise with NPI. Request your free information packet here ! About the Author Jon McCreath, Technical Supervisor & Training Administrator A former NPI franchise owner and real estate agent, Jon joined the NPI corporate team in 2019. With his inspection expertise and foundation in classroom instruction, Jon teaches and mentors new franchisees during their two-week training course in Omaha. He also handles technical support calls during and after office hours and guides franchisees through the state licensing process.