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Eight steps to effective time management

The productivity of a business can be bolstered by effective time management – which can be achieved by creating routines and habits, according to Taimur Khan.

The founder of the productivity app Skylightit.com added that time wasted could never be recovered, and outlined eight tips for how to use time efficiently.

Step one regards organisation, which involves making a list of daily tasks, listing them in order of priority and ticking them off when finished.

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Mr Khan said: “Start small and build a routine that works for you. Notice which activity consumes most time and ask yourself if it is relevant.

“Avoid multi-tasking; you’ll end up not doing anything constructive,” he added.

Step two requires the individual to ask himself what it is he would like to achieve and how it might look, while step three is the incorporation of technology into a business.

The latter could involve replacing physical meetings with video conferencing, long emails and instant messaging, Mr Khan said, adding that productivity apps can help in the management of tasks.

Step four is delegation and outsourcing.

Mr Khan said: “For most small and medium enterprises, hiring staff becomes the major bottleneck for growth; so stop creating excuses to delegate.

“Look at your list of business goals and activities; identify what you will not be able to do and what takes valuable time. Build these tasks into processes so that, when you delegate, it becomes easier to explain and follow through. Create a process document and list the activities and actions. This will help you to identify what skills you need, how long you will need them and at what expense.”

Step five requires employers to look after themselves. Company chiefs should ensure they get enough rest, eat well – avoiding junk food – and exercise, Mr Khan said.

Step six is to set aside 20 to 30 minutes slots in the daily schedule for emails – prioritising the important messages to ‘folders’ or ‘flags’ and replying according to the level of importance, according to Mr Khan.

He added: “Don’t start your day looking at emails; they are a trap because you’ll be tempted to reply or clog your mind with how to respond.”

Step seven is to curb procrastination. To do this, individuals must ensure that they organise their priorities and remain focused on their goal and breaking down large tasks to smaller, more manageable chunks, Mr Khan said.

Step eight is to take action and review.

He said: “If you feel you are not getting the results you want regardless of how hard you push – then it’s time to pause, reflect, and take a look at what is working and what needs to be changed.”