Time Management Tips for Business Owners

Why read this blog rather than other time management pieces?

Running a business is a full time job… in fact it’s several full time jobs! Here are my time management tips for business owners.

As the business owner it’s pretty standard to be involved in many different areas of the business, and to have a strain on your time and capacity to fulfil on everything.

There are many articles on self-discipline, setting timeframes for tasks and other very relevant and helpful pointers for time management as a topic for everyone, but almost nothing really specific to business ownership.

This blog is aimed squarely at that situation and the unique challenges it brings.

Time runs away

Why trust the time management tips here?

Having worked with hundreds of business owners over more than a decade I feel well qualified to offer some advice on the topic… especially as I own and run three businesses personally too.

So what makes business ownership such a challenge when it comes to time management?

Well, the real sticking point is the fact that you have to have a bit of a multi-personality disorder to manage it well.

This is because, unless you adopt the mindset of each ‘stakeholder’ in the business and represent the requirements and goals they each have, you’ll fall foul of the most common error; listening exclusively to the operations guy or girl.

What I mean by this, is that before you try and manage your time and tasks requirements, you need to review your organisational chart for the business.

This is more than a list of people that work here. It is a breakdown of the roles and responsibilities that exist inside the company, and then an allocation of how many hats you personally currently wear.


What does this look like in a real world scenario?

In my case, I am the managing director, head of HR, head of sales, head of coaching, and also one of the coaching staff.

Each of those roles have requirements in terms of outputs for the business, but also inputs required to make them happen.

If I break my target working week into a number of hours, I can then assign the right ratio of hours to the right roles more easily e.g. 12 for the MD, 15 for the sales role etc.

By segmenting the different roles in this way, it’s easier to develop a disciplined mindset around which to manage the tasks and actions.

If you for example were to walk into the Managing Directors office and demand that they stop what they are doing because they need to come and coach a client, they’d likely ask why you were underperforming in your own department.

The fact that this conversation is notional (because you are in fact both people) doesn’t matter… you should still adopt that form of thinking.

Business owner time

What are the steps for doing this yourself?

So the process goes as follows:

  1. Create your business organisational chart by ROLES
  2. Assign the roles to yourself as needed.
  3. Define the core responsibilities under each role, and ID the MINIMUM time requirements to not drop a ball on any of them.
  4. Map these time blocks into your diary, and book them as appointments on ‘repeat basis’ for each week, month, quarter or year as relevant e.g. sales calls will be weekly, business planning might be quarterly or annual.
  5. Once these are mapped into your diary (your diary looks full before you have any ‘client appointments’ and so on, then you book in the real world tasks to the appropriate area, and DON’T overwrite another role unless it truly is critical and costly to not do so.

What are the benefits of doing so?

By taking this approach, your time is more efficiently planned, your task management falls into pre-defined periods of activity that naturally align, and you limit the ability for one of your multiple personalities to ‘over-ride’ others just because they speak louder.

Here is a link to a client story about using better systems to change their lives.

For a fun video about procrastination click here

Need more help?

For more tips of time management, or to discuss your own challenging diary situation, do get in touch.

If you’ve got tips of your own to share, I’m all ears (everything above is the sum of learnings to date, so do pitch in and let me know your best add-ons!).

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