If you’re like most business owners, you’d like to add an extra hour or two to the day.  There is simply not enough time for you to accomplish everything you’d like to accomplish, and you inevitably end up neglecting areas that you don’t want to neglect.

In the years that I’ve spent working with small business owners, I’ve observed that many of them aren’t making the best possible use of their time. In particular, below are four steps that can be very helpful when it comes to time management:

1) Prioritize.  Everything you do should be prioritized.  Don’t try to accomplish everything, rather concentrate on those few things that will move you toward your key objectives. This means taking time at the beginning of each day and going over your “must-do” list.

2) Delegate.  Many managers spend too much time doing work that could be done by their employees.  Before assigning yourself a task, consider whether one of your employees could handle it.  Invest the time to teach them new tasks… the more that they can handle, the more time you will free up to focus on your true priorities.

3) Minimize multitasking.  We live in a culture that encourages multitasking.  While this is unavoidable in some cases, we are effective when we focus on one task at a time.  Whenever you can, shut yourself off from the world and focus intensely on completing the task at hand.  When you’re done, take a breath and check in with your employees, and then focus like a laser on completing the next task on your list.

4) Set times to check email.  Most of us are constantly monitoring email.  This ends up being an incredible waste of time, and in most cases isn’t necessary.  Check your email every hour and respond to messages all at once—rather than addressing them as they come in.  You’ll be amazed at how much more effectively you work when you’re not worrying about your email.

Using your time effectively is critically important to your success as a business owner. These four steps will help!