Advice Inspiration

How to Efficiently Manage Your Time

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Are you struggling to get everything done in your workday? Perhaps instead of thinking that there aren’t enough hours in the day, you can learn to utilize each hour to complete your daily tasks and efficiently (time) manage your business!

Here are 6 time saving tips that we utilize in our company to ensure an efficient workflow!

1. Prioritize

First things first, decide your priorities for the day- or week if you’re planning ahead. The best way to make sure things get done is to complete your most important and pressing tasks first. That often means working on the hardest task first.

Others may prioritize items that have a closer deadline. Tasks that take the longest or things that will get your day moving and plan all other tasks accordingly.

2. Create organized schedules and to-do lists. 

Once you’ve prioritized your projects it is highly important to create an organization system that’s simple to understand, see, use and is also effective at helping you and your employees stay on task. At Ricoma, we use a system called Teamweek, which gives us the opportunity to create daily tasks for everyone on the team, with time limits, color coordination, deadlines and detailed notes and descriptions.

This is how we stay on top of the projects our team is working on, how long it is taking them to complete, how many tasks they completed daily and what they still have to do. This way, organizing and prioritizing tasks is simple, portable and customizable to work for your team.

Whether it’s a personal agenda, a hand-written to-do list, a bulletin board with post its or whatever works for you, a visible system that keeps you on task is essential to streamlining your workflow.

3. Delegate and Outsource

You’ve got your tasks organized and you’ve got them spread out in front of you. Now, is it REALISTIC that you can do them all?

You can’t do everything by yourself, so delegate tasks to capable employees and outsource jobs that will ease the workload but still pay off. Consider whether it is cost effective to pay a freelancer and if the time you save is significant.

In the embroidery industry, embroiderers tend to outsource the creation of the embroidery designs they use, which can be a cost-effective time saver since this process, called digitizing, can be a time consuming and the software is expensive. Outsourcing the digitizing is an efficiency tip we encourage new embroidery business owners to utilize when first starting out with our machines!

4. Set Deadlines!

Allotting yourself a specific amount of time to complete a project or task is a great way to manage your time. Setting deadlines will push you to get something done in a timely manner but remember, the time it takes to complete tasks tends to expand to fill up the entire time frame allotted. So, setting deadlines that are both realistic and challenging is the best way to make the most of your time.

A great way to get in the habit of efficiently planning out the hours of your day is to track your time so that you’re aware of how long regular items on your daily to-do lists take you, and then you can start to set proper deadlines!

For example, at Ricoma, we record our sales team call times to assess how many calls we can realistically expect our team to complete in a single day and how many calls we can challenge them to make during a product sale or promotion!

5. Devote your entire focus to the task at hand.

Once it’s time to hit that deadline, the most productive way to do so is to remove all distractions and focus on one task at a time.

Depending on how urgent the deadline is, close your office door, close other Internet browsers and put your phone on silent. Focusing 100% on one task will not only produce high-quality, thoughtful work, but it will also keep you on task.

Avoid interruptions: dedicate a certain amount of time to answer emails and return phone calls, answering calls and emails as they come in will ruin your workflow and break your train of thought. We know this might not be a realistic ability, as multitasking is essential to running a business, but immersing yourself in priority items will ensure timely completion.

6. Create habits

The everyday tasks of organizing your to-do list, your tasks and your schedule should become habitual. Create a routine that becomes second nature so that managing your time, does not take up any of your time!

About the Author

Henry Ma is a business expert who has helped over 3,000 startups and established business owners in over 140 countries grow their decorated apparel businesses in his role as CEO of embroidery machine manufacturer Ricoma.

As the host of Apparel Academy, a show on Ricoma’s YouTube channel, he offers insights and strategies for people looking for success in the decorated apparel industry and is also the founder of several online startups, including Garmeo, an order fulfillment platform for decorated apparel businesses.

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