tips for small businessThis post by guest blogger Alari Aho appears in our series Small Business 500.

Time is something everyone has plenty of. Yet if not taken care of, it'll run through your fingers unnoticed. Here are some tips on how to help you make better use of your time.

1. Measure it as it is happening

You can't improve on things you don't measure. Try to log and visualize your habits around how you spend your time. Often the outcomes will be shocking. Logged 4-5 hours of productivity during a full 8-hour workday? Where was the rest of the time lost? The most efficient way to improve this figure is to log your time throughout the day. This way you don't have to guestimate later.

2. Focus, don't multitask

Doing too many things at once is never a good idea. You achieve more by focusing your attention on one thing at a time. Multitasking will only create a perception of being busy, while the most you'll do is waste time switching from one task to another.

3. Avoid interruptions

Interruptions are the biggest time-hogs. You'll need 10-15 minutes to get back into your workflow after that random chat about something else. Map out time periods when you're most productive, and discourage interruptions at those times. You'll be amazed at your increased efficiency.

4. Do routine things when it's not your prime time

As some interruptions are inevitable, set aside time for them. Use this time for routine tasks that require less focus. That way if you do get interrupted, it doesn’t take as long to get back into the flow and you’re more likely to get everything you set out to accomplished within a given timeframe.

5. Be consistent

As you start coming to grips with your time management, the most important thing is to keep going at it. By persistently moving forward one small step after another, you will in time achieve big results. You can do more in less time and avoid the things that waste your time.

5 ways to be more efficient with your time

—Alari is the co-founder and CEO of Toggl.com, a timetracking tool so easy you'll actually use it. He is from Tallinn, Estonia where he has been into software development for over a decade.

5 ways to be more efficient with your time

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