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Given the economic climate many small businesses owners are forced to work even longer hours to keep afloat.  It can be hard to keep on top of everything.  It can be difficult to keep an eye on the bigger picture while attending to the everyday tasks that are necessary to keep the engine of your business running smoothly.

Everyday tasks like call backs, emails, bookkeeping, meetings and general administration certainly take up a lot of time but they all need to be taken care of. Throw the responsibilities and pressures of a busy home life into the mix and it becomes very clear that time management is a huge issue for many small business owners and employees.

If all of this sounds familiar to you read on for some top tips on time management:

The Diary

Yes, a simple diary. It sounds so elementary however having a diary and entering the times and dates of your various appointments will make it so much easier to plan the rest of your week. The high priority items can be detailed in the diary so the less important tasks or duties can be worked around them. Use your diary to evaluate your time and to consider how you can use it more effectively.

Utilise Technology

Even the most ardent technophobe would have to concede that technology can make life a lot easier in many respects. Mobile Apps are great. They allow you to balance home life with running a business -they enable you to read and send emails even during your leisure time.

Using Skype allows you to communicate with people effortlessly without having to chase up meetings through emails and incessant phone calls. It can also save you time waiting for phone calls from clients. It puts the ball firmly in your court. For more on Skype click here.

There are a number of useful Apps out there that can be used for effective time management. Here’s a short list:

Signeasy – This App allows you to send your signature online. It saves time scanning and printing off documents. It’s a real timesaver.

Cloze – This handy little App gathers up all emails, Facebook posts, tweets and prioritises them in order of who is most relevant to you. It saves you trawling through pages for correspondence. – This is a great help for organising your tasks. It has a snooze function but will keep reminding you complete the overdue task. It also includes location based reminders.

Try and ignore your emails

Yes, you read that correct. Many people spend an inordinate amount of time checking their emails during the day.  They check their inbox, maybe every five minutes. All that time adds up throughout the week. Instead check your inbox periodically during the day and then take the time to reply when necessary. Set aside certain times during the day to check it.


Prioritise your tasks and sort them in order of importance. Spend your time on the most important tasks. You also need to take the take the time necessary to do a good job.  There is a difference in being busy and being productive.


Teach employees to make decisions and allow them to have a certain degree of responsibility. As employees become more competent, and confident through encouragement and training they will be able to relieve you of some of your workload.

Don’t Procrastinate

Try and get the unpleasant tasks out of the way. Spend a portion of the day doing unpleasant tasks.  These are probably the jobs that you would normally leave ‘on the long finger’. Break larger jobs into smaller tasks which are easier to complete.

Finally make sure and take a break when necessary. A healthy diet and relaxation will make you more effective and efficient when you approach your workload every day. Take a day off when you get a chance to recharge and avoid burnout.


Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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