Organization is a necessity for any successful business and in order to be organized it take careful planning. There are going to be certain tasks that need to be done on a regular schedule and unless you plan the time for them to get done, they will not get done. There are many different planners on the market and it really makes no difference whether you use one that costs several hundreds of dollars or a $2 calendar from the department store.
Every business owner needs to plan their days, weeks and even months to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. Using a planner also helps in establishing a self imposed schedule for when you will be at work every day and by spending the first 10 minutes every work day determining the priorities for the day, will make it go a lot smoother. It also provides a little extra time for that second cup of coffee in the morning.
Whenever possible, every day should be broken into 15 minute increments and every 15 minutes should be filled with something that you need to accomplish. Do not forget to pencil in a couple of breaks and time for lunch or you will drive yourself crazy but you also need to pencil in contingency time. This can be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour a day to be used if a job takes longer than expected or something unexpected comes up. The contingency time can be used instead of canceling another project already on the schedule.
Remember, the first few minutes are used to establish the daily priorities. Unfortunately, priorities can and often do change. For example, you have confirmed your prioritized list of things to do and a client calls about a project you just completed, claiming it needs more work and it needs to be done today. Your priorities have just changed, unless you are willing to give up the client and the money you are expecting from the project.
You can shuffle your daily schedule to put that clients work ahead of others but by using the scheduled contingency time you can still get everything else done that same day. On days when nothing extra pops up, you can use the contingency time to start on work planned for the following day or go ahead and wash the dishes left over from yesterday.
There are certain tasks that will need to be done daily, weekly, monthly and in the case of many state income taxes, quarterly. By drawing up a matrix by the month with each of these items listed, you can check them off as you finish them and never worry about missing a deadline. If you look at the matrix daily, you can quickly spot items without a check mark and then get it done.
As your business matures, you can and possibly delete items from your list of things to do and by looking ahead you can plan for some of these tasks ahead of time. Knowing the business tax return is due on the first day of the month of the quarter, for instance, should be noted in the middle of the preceding month to warn you that it is coming up instead of waiting until the last minute to start on filling out the forms.
Obinna Heche. Los Angeles – California
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