Have you ever walked into your office and realize you missed a deadline? Or maybe been so swamped with work that you didn’t have any time to take advantage of a promising opportunity?

One of the major challenges for any business owner is time management, but if you can get a handle on your work and get out ahead of your deadlines, you give yourself flexibility and the ability to spend your time more profitably.

Below are some tips to keep in mind as you seek to get ahead of the eight-ball:

  1. Budget your time and only focus on one thing at a time.  It can be easy to get so engrossed in a particular project that you lose track of other deadlines.  You then either miss a deadline entirely, or do the other job poorly because you did not have the time to get it done right.  Before beginning work each day, make sure you have identified your priorities and any upcoming deadlines that must be met.  It is important that you focus on the task at hand, no multi-tasking. Prioritize, and budget accordingly.

  2. Take on the most intimidating projects first. If you’re dreading a particular project… 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.  It’s counter-intuitive and demands discipline, but I can tell you from personal experience that this approach is very helpful.

  3. End the day with a “status check”. Before you leave each 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 well and working effectively (focusing on the very few things that matter most) 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 a moment’s notice.