Small businesses often have to juggle lots of tasks with limited resources, making time management a critical factor in achieving productivity and success. By understanding how to improve task time management, small business owners can streamline operations, reduce stress, and create space for growth and innovation. In this blog post, we explore 11 practical ways to enhance time management and boost productivity in small businesses.

What’s in this article?

You can head straight to the areas of this article that interest you most by clicking below.

The benefits of good time management
Prioritise task time management using a system
Implement time-blocking strategies
Use technology to help you
Delegate tasks
Targeted tactics for improved task time management

Master task time management to boost productivity

Time is the currency of productivity in the business world. By mastering the art of task time management, even the smallest business can be sure that every minute is invested wisely, directly contributing to bottom-line results.

In our experience, small business owners take on pretty much every business task themselves. This results in some tasks not being completed properly, poor time-management and an unhealthy work-life balance. But there is a better way. By doing just a few of the things in this article, you can transform your productivity, delegate the tasks that you find difficult, time-consuming or even just boring, and free up your valuable time to concentrate on strategy, sales and income.

We believe that streamlining your approach to time management allows you to optimise your daily performance, reduce stress, and achieve a more rewarding work-life balance – all of which are essential ingredients for thriving as a small business owner.

The benefits of good time management

Effective time management elevates your operational capability, directly influencing your success. Before we look at how you can improve your task time management, here’s a quick run down of some of the benefits.

Enhanced Productivity

When you complete tasks efficiently, your productivity naturally increases. It becomes easier to adjust strategies and redistribute resources where needed, boosting the overall speed and quality of your work. Starting a small business is a risk – people who can master the art of effective time management will be able to differentiate themselves, resulting in improved customer satisfaction and better business growth.

Stress reduction

All new business owners get stressed. Starting and running your own business is a huge responsibility, and small business owners often take everything on themselves. Stress isn’t good for productivity, though – so instead of ‘getting used to it’ and assuming it’s part of what makes you a small business owner, why not look at ways to make things easier for yourself?

Methods like prioritising activities, using time-blocking systems, delegating tasks elsewhere – like a to-do list task manager, for example – and using technology to help speed up some processes, will help you to reduce your own stress and give you the headspace you need to focus on growing your business successfully.

Improved work quality

The more you try and fit in, the less likely you are to produce quality work. If you’re committing 80 hours a week or more to your business, there will be times where you’re not concentrating, where you are distracted, or where disorganisation is disrupting your productivity. You need to be able to handle the most important tasks accurately and reliably.

Effective task time management allows you to work sustainably and at a consistent level. For example, by breaking down large projects into manageable segments and setting realistic deadlines, you can handle the task at hand without the pressure of an impending, potentially unachievable time limit. You may also want to delegate parts of your project to someone else. This means you can be confident that your tasks are in safe hands – even if those hands are not yours.

Generating commercial opportunities

Good time management can free up the space necessary to explore new projects and innovate, keeping your business ahead of the competition. By getting in to the habit of prioritising tasks and delegating appropriately, you can carve out much-needed hours to incubate and implement fresh ideas. This will help your business to remain resilient and agile, ready to capitalise on emerging opportunities that can influence your success in the long term.

Work-Life Balance

Even if you are completely devoted to your business, you need some time out. Using good task management to create a more balanced approach to work gives you time to rest, time to create and time to think. This not only contributes to a more fulfilling and less stressful lifestyle but also improves overall productivity and job satisfaction in general.

Here are our top tips for improving your approach to task management:

1. Prioritise task time management using a system

There are lots of ‘systems’ out there to help you prioritise tasks. One of the most common is the Eisenhower Matrix. Using this system, you can work out a priority order for your day, and see which tasks you will have to do yourself and which you could delegate on a long-term basis.

Categorise tasks into four quadrants:

  • Urgent and Important
  • Important but Not Urgent
  • Urgent but Not Important
  • Neither Urgent nor Important

Tackle the urgent and important tasks immediately. Schedule time for important but not urgent tasks to ensure they are not neglected. Delegate or minimise time spent on tasks that are urgent but not important, and eliminate tasks that are neither urgent nor important when possible.

Fine-tuning the balance between urgency and importance can save small businesses from the constant firefighting mode and pivot toward a more strategic, goal-oriented workflow.

2. Implement time-blocking strategies

Planning your day allows you to allocation specific time or windows for focused work. It’s a recognised task time management method that acts as a barrier to the constant interruptions you get in your everyday working life. Here’s how it could work for you:

  • Establish blocks for deep-focus tasks
  • Allocate time for other duties separately
  • Use visual aides like colour-coded calendars or post-it notes to help you keep track
  • Plan breaks between time blocks to refresh and reset

The key to effective time blocking is sticking to your plan. It may take a while to get used to working this way, but it will make you more productive in the long term.

3. Use technology to help you

Adopting the right technologies can help you to automate routine tasks, freeing up valuable time for more strategic, profit-driving activities.

Although it may sound expensive, small businesses that harness these technologies can gain significant advantages. Some of the most useful tools are completely free. And where you might need to pay for a tool – such as an accounting system or CRM – it will be worth the money because of the amount of time you get back. For example, you might:

  • explore tools like Asana, Trello, or for project management
  • use automation software like Zapier to connect apps and automate workflows
  • consider CRM systems to manage customer interactions efficiently
  • choose accounting software to streamline financial tasks

If you choose to outsource some of your tasks to a virtual task manager, look for someone who understands and can work with your technology, so that delegating tasks is a seamless process.

4. Delegate tasks

Delegation is the sign of a great manager! Understanding the tasks that you either don’t want to do, don’t have time to do, or don’t have the skills to do can make a huge difference to your business. For example, if you hate managing your diary, why not delegate that to an online diary management service? Don’t really understand LinkedIn? Delegate it. Struggling to keep up with your invoicing? Delegate it.

Our clients tell us that they can’t believe what a difference delgating tasks to a dedicated service makes to their day-to-day lives and to their business.

5. Review and reassess

You need to make sure you’re always on top of this. So once you’ve implemented these strategies, build some time in to review on a regular basis to make sure everything’s working the way you want it to.

Targeted tactics for improved task time management

Now that you have the four key ways to get started with managing your business tasks, it’s time to look in more detail at how you can get there.


6. Figure out how you’re currently spending your time

The first step to making meaningful changes to your time management process is understanding where your time is currently being spent.

Initiating a time tracking analysis process can give you a really good idea of how long certain tasks are taking. For a week or two, rigorously monitor how you spend each portion of your day. Use digital tools or a simple notebook to log your tasks, meetings, breaks, and any distractions you encounter. Be honest and detailed in your entries – this process is only beneficial if it accurately reflects your regular activities.

By the end of this period, you’ll have a wealth of data. With this, you can identify time drains, periods of peak productivity, and tasks that perhaps don’t align with your key objectives. This insight is invaluable for reshaping your daily routine into a more efficient and focused one, ultimately leading to improved task time management and greater productivity.


7. Prioritise wisely

As we’ve said above, distinguishing between urgent and important tasks ensures that your tasks are managed in the best order and the most productive way.

Now that you have analysed the time you spend on tasks, you can start to see what you need to prioritise as a task for you to complete, what could be taken on by your existing team or external advisers, and what could be sent to an external resource, like a virtual assistant task service.

By continuing to prioritise these tasks in this way – and by applying the same approach to new tasks that need to be done as your business changes or grows, you’ll be able to remain efficient and productive.


8. Select tasks to delegate

If you’ve chosen to delegate some of your tasks, you need to take the time to set them out clearly and find someone else to manage them for you.

Some businesses choose to hire an employee at this stage, but this can be an expensive option, and a significant commitment for a new business. You will have to buy equipment, pay National Insurance and pension contributions and make sure you are meeting all relevant employment legislation.

Tasks that you might choose to delegate to an external resource like a virtual assistant could include:

  • Bookkeeping, invoicing and credit control
  • Sales and marketing activities including lead generation support
  • Social media or email campaign management
  • To do lists, secretarial work, email and diary management
  • CRM or web maintenance and data entry
  • Event and travel planning
  • Making or taking calls

After identifying the tasks you are ready to delegate, the next step is to prioritise them.

As a small business owner, choose tasks that can be transferred without compromising the quality of the work. Start by analysing which tasks are repetitive yet critical for the smooth running of your business – these are often top candidates for delegation. Consider time-consuming duties that do not necessarily require your expertise, such as data entry, inventory management, or even certain aspects of your digital marketing efforts, like scheduling social media posts.

While offloading these might seem trivial, it frees up valuable time for you to concentrate on strategic planning and growth initiatives. By delegating these responsibilities to outsourcing to skilled professionals, you ensure efficiency without diluting your focus on core business objectives.


9. Structure your time

Planning task time management efficiently is all about understanding the principles of effective working. For example, the Pareto Principle, often referred to as the 80/20 rule, suggests that 80% of outcomes come from 20% of efforts. Apply this to your task management by identifying the high-impact activities that will drive the most significant results.

Start your day with these ‘big wins’ to ensure your time is used most productively. Prioritisation goes hand in hand with structured timing—by assessing and organising tasks based on their importance and urgency, you’ll find it easier to focus on what truly matters. This not only boosts your efficiency but also brings a greater sense of accomplishment and reduces stress levels. Additionally, make use of task management tools and apps, which can help categorise and remind you of these priorities, keeping you on track throughout your day.


10. Develop standardised processes

Doing things in an ‘ad hoc’ way is never going to improve your productivity or efficiency. Even when it’s just you in the business, think about developing a standard way to manage your tasks. Having these processes will help you to get your tasks done more quickly, and remove some of the administrative headaches you might have.

You might find that working with an experienced external resource, like a task management service will give you access to advice on how to work more productively, helping you to make real improvements to the way you work.


11. Use task management tools and apps

We discussed technology above, so perhaps now is the time to look at the systems, tools and apps that could help you manage your productivity.

  • Trello: Trello utilises boards, lists, and cards to help organise and prioritise projects in a highly visual and flexible way.
  • Asana: This tool is great for both individual and team use, allowing users to track the progress of their tasks and projects with a user-friendly interface.
  • Microsoft To Do: Integrated with Office 365, Microsoft To Do is a straightforward app for creating to-do lists and task management.
  • It is a highly customisable tool that enables teams to manage workloads and streamline workflows with ease.
  • Evernote: Beyond note-taking, Evernote can be used to capture ideas, create to-do lists, and attach related documents to the tasks at hand.
  • Todoist: Known for its simplicity, Todoist allows users to manage tasks from various devices and collaborate with others.
  • ClickUp: ClickUp is an all-in-one productivity platform that combines task management with time tracking, docs, and goals.

These tools are designed to fit different working styles and preferences, so it may be beneficial to explore a few to determine the best fit for your personal or team productivity strategy. You might also want to look at the free and paid-for versions of these tools to see if it is worth investing in a monthly subscription cost.

While we’ve listed productivity tools here, don’t forget that there is a range of other technology available to help you streamline your processes and make your daily tasks more achievable. These include:

  • Accounting software, such as Xero or Sage
  • Process automation software, such as Zapier
  • Videoconferencing software, like Zoom or Microsoft Teams
  • Social media scheduling software, like Buffer
  • Website building tools, like WordPress
  • Design tools, like Canva
  • CRM software, like Hubspot
  • Email marketing software, like MailChimp

Improving task time management is not a one-size-fits-all process. It requires a clear understanding of your business’s specific needs and the willingness to adapt and refine techniques. By leveraging the 11 strategies outlined here, small businesses can create a framework for lasting productivity and the kind of operational efficiency that drives growth and success.

From using project management tools to fostering a culture of open communication and beyond, each step forward in task time management is a stride toward a healthier, more vibrant business and a well-balanced working environment.

If you found this blog useful and you’d like to talk to us about using a virtual task manager to help your business – or if you would like to know more about our other virtual assistant services feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above.


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