Setting Priorities: How to Stop the Clock!

This is a guest post from Christopher Wallace, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing, one of the nation’s largest providers of promotional products for businesses large and small.

Tips for Managing Your Time to Make Your Business More Productive

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You are a small business owner and you have many irons in the fire. If someone asks you to identify your most valuable asset, how hard do you have to think before coming up with an answer?

If you have to think hard, you are probably not thinking clearly.

For most small business owners,
the answer is as easy
as it is obvious—
your most valuable asset is your time.

No doubt you’ve often heard the old adage “Time is money.” And yet all too often small business owners are finding themselves with way too much to do and not nearly enough time to get it all done.

As a result, they often are forced to work extra-long hours, leading to stress, frustration, and usually less than enough productivity to show for it.

Maybe this is because many of them don’t really think about managing their time properly. Everyone knows that valuable things need to be carefully protected. You are very protective of your money and your other tangible valuables.

Be protective of your valuable time!

Time management tips to conserve your most valuable asset

1) Prioritize.

  • Start with the realization that you don’t have enough time to do everything you can think of, or everything you would like to do, or even everything you think you need to do. So you first need to identify the things that matter most.
  • When you make your “to do” list, assign a value rating to each item.

Base an item’s value on how much it influences
customer satisfaction and/or how much
revenue it will generate for your business.

  • Then re-work the list so that the high-value items get done first.
  • Don’t do the lower-valued items until the high-value ones are finished! Do this on a daily basis.

It is NOT wasting time to spend the first 30 minutes of
every day setting priorities and carefully planning your day.

2) Make a schedule and stick to it.

  • After you make your priority list, develop a schedule to get the tasks done. Assign a timetable and stick to it as closely as you possibly can. Realize that unexpected events will happen and some flexibility will be needed. But developing a routine is very important and there are smart ways to go about it.
  • Try to schedule important meetings on the same days of the week. This will let you get into a consistent pattern of being in the right frame of mind when they happen. And it will leave you more focused on the other days because you won’t be forced to lose your concentration or momentum by having to be diverted by meetings.
  • Do you know your peak times? For example, are you a “morning person”? If so, don’t schedule your most important tasks for afternoons.

Know the times when you are at your best and set your schedule
so that you do your most important work at those times.

3) Avoid multitasking.

  • Most small business owners try to do everything at once, thinking they will get done faster that way. But doing things fast doesn’t mean doing them well. Don’t fall into the “multitasking” trap!

Focus on tackling one thing at a time and when you do so,
give it your full, undivided, and yes, even intense attention.

  • Most importantly, give yourself breaks! After an intense 90-minute period of work, step away for a few minutes.

Give your brain a rest and re-charge your batteries so
that you can give that next task the full effort it deserves.

4) Never be afraid to delegate.

  • It’s only human nature for those of us in charge of running the show to also want to be personally involved in every facet of it. As a result, we often find ourselves wasting our time doing things that others can do just as well if not better.

Micromanagement is the worst time-killer of all
If you have employees, use them!

  • Train your employees or use their existing talents to manage the smaller things so that your time and energy can be focused on more important activities. 

If you don’t have enough of the right talent in-house,
don’t hesitate to outsource.

Running a small business is not easy. Business owners are busy owners. But being busy and making a business work are two different things.

Smart business owners are not afraid to take a good hard look
at their daily routines and ask themselves whether their hours
are being spent in the most productive way possible—
and if not, then do something about it.

Can you stop the clock? Maybe not completely, but if you manage your time smartly you can slow that clock down long enough to watch your business grow.

Christopher Wallace is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing, one of the nation’s largest providers of promotional products for businesses large and small. Amsterdam specializes in custom pens and other promotional items such as calendars, laptop bags and T-shirts. Christopher regularly contributes to Promo & Marketing Wall blog.

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Gail Gardner

Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.

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