Business Cash Flow: One Big Juggling Act

Is your business life (maybe your personal life too) one big juggling act? Chasing new business and opportunities, pleasing customers, finding suppliers, complying with government regulations, ‘fighting fires’ – the to-do list can be endless. If you’ve got too many balls in the air, the stresses can make you wonder why you ever gave up that steady income for the stress of running your own business.

Unfortunately there are only 24 hours in a day, no matter how much you wish there were more – and you do need to sleep.

So, if you’re having problems fitting everything into one day, here are some useful time management techniques I’ve used to improve my business cash flow. They’re in no particular order.

  • Be clear about your goals and objectives: A lot of time gets wasted on work which steers us away from our goals and objectives. Get clarity.
  • Steer clear of the time-sucking traps of attending dead-end meetings, allowing constant interruptions, and constantly checking your emails, text messages and social media. A report I recently read said we spend less than 60% of our day working productively because of the above traps.
  • Use your diary effectively: Schedule your time for each day, each week, each month. Start by scheduling the must-do jobs first, then see what time you have left for less urgent ones.
  • Set deadlines and stick to them: Deadlines are about budgeting your time. Without establishing deadlines, we are all inclined to put things off. But don’t set deadlines which will only cause more stress or, worse, failure. If you need three days to accomplish a task, allocate three days.
  • Make lists: This becomes more important as we get older. A simple daily To-Do List can be a huge help. But avoid any list that reaches outrageous length and is overwhelming to even look at.
  • Focus on just one thing at a time: Avoid multi-tasking as much as possible. The human mind works most efficiently when it is focused. So focus on one thing and finish the job. Think how satisfied you’ll feel upon completion.
  • Delegate or outsource as much as possible: Consider hiring a Virtual Assistant or outsourcing your accounting or the multitude of other jobs which are causing you to choke on your responsibilities.
  • Avoid procrastination: The ultimate time-killer is procrastination. What decisions have you been avoiding making? Save time; make a decision!
  • Exercise and eat well: Donald Trump gets up early and regularly squeezes in a game of golf. Richard Branson claims exercising gives him an extra four hours of productivity a day. If the world’s leaders can find time, so can you. Remember exercise will help reduce your stress levels as well as improve fitness. Good nutrition is also essential. I know quite a few small business owners who say they haven’t got time to eat, at all, during the day. This is a recipe for disaster and a real time management issue too because, when you’re in bed sick, you’ll have no time at all for your business!

And finally:

  • Slow down and breathe: You can’t make good decisions if you can’t think straight. Breathe, take breaks, and plan your next holiday.

Effective time management will lead to an improvement in your quality of life. I challenge you today to choose one of the above tips, action it for a month and monitor the results. Let me know how you go!