Get Ahead of the Eight-Ball

Have you ever walked into your office and realize you missed a deadline? Or maybe been so swamped by current work that you didn’t have any time to invest in a promising idea? One of the major challenges for any small business owner is time management– but if you can get a handle on your work and get out ahead of any deadlines, you give yourself flexibility and the ability to better invest your time. To get ahead of the eight-ball:

1. Don’t get caught up in any one project. We’ve all been there—it’s easy to get so engrossed in a particular project that you lose track of other deadlines. You then either miss the deadline entirely, or do the other job poorly because you did not have the time to get it done right. It’s important to stay aware of your projects and deadlines. Prioritize work by due dates. If Job A is due tomorrow and Job B isn’t due for a week, start with Job A. This sounds obvious, but it’s human nature to gravitate towards easier or more pleasant work. Don’t fall victim!

2. Take on the most daunting projects first. If you’re dreading a particular project, whether because you know it will be time consuming or because it will be difficult, get it done as soon as possible. You’ll eliminate the stress caused by the black cloud looming in your mind, and you’ll build momentum for the rest of your day. 

3. Wrap it up. Before you leave for the day, prepare yourself a short to do list with any important meetings, deadlines, or other items that must be addressed the next day. This will allow you to be organized and get back on track the moment you show up at the office. It will also help you relax and enjoy your time away from the office because you’ll know exactly where things stand.

Prioritizing and working effectively will allow you to get out ahead of the deadline crunch. As a result, you’ll be more relaxed, have a greater margin of error when things do go wrong, and have flexibility to spend your time as you deem best. As a small business owner, you know how often “things come up” throughout each day—getting ahead of the eight-ball will leave you in a much better position to deal with emergencies… or to take advantage of golden opportunities that arise with only short notice.