When it comes to time management, most people consider it to be the ability to get everything done in a set timeframe. But time management extends so much deeper. It’s about accomplishing things in the most efficient, productive way possible while doing the best for you, your business and your life.
Time management is all about working smarter, not harder.
1. Set aside time to plan out your week
Has your to-do list ever been so long that when you finally sit down with the intent to conquer it, you don’t even know where to start? We’ve all been there. Your first step should be to prioritize your week’s agenda as a whole, then break down each day into segments.
You spend your work day attempting to reach a goal. But are you working at your optimal level? Think about what the ultimate goal of your job is and break down your day into sections. Utilize time to your advantage. Are you making client phone calls at the best time of day to reach someone? Are you spending too much time checking email and social media instead of chasing leads and marketing your business? Are you doing your assigned tasks in the most effective manner? Can you brainstorm with your coworkers, supervisors, or employees to come up with a more effective way of completing a task? Work smarter, not harder.
2. Chunk activities and errands together to optimize time
Are you dropping off the dry cleaning while taking the kids to activities? Stopping at the store on the way home? Take a few moments before starting your journey or your day and create a mental roadmap of the things you need to do and where you need to go. Then take into consideration the time factor of when activities start or businesses close. I recommend starting at the farther point out if possible and work your way back home, since that will ultimately be the final destination.
Set aside time to focus on business development. Don’t just squeeze the time in in-between assignments, but create time in your daily schedule to focus on specific tasks. Organize this time but chunking time slots where you focus on similar tasks. By grouping these activities together, you are maximizing your time to its fullest potential.
3. Make the most of your most productive time of day
The key to being productive is to work smarter, not harder. Are you working with the most efficient tools? Are your strategies up to date or do they need to be reevaluated? Do you know someone who does the same or similar thing and seems to get their work done faster? Ask them how!
Have you ever said to yourself “if I go to sleep right now, I will get X amount of hours”? I think we all have. Studies say the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night, but the reality is that life puts demands on us that often leave us with much less. But is less the same as enough? Sleeping only 3-4 hours will leave you drained and sluggish during the day. You can’t be productive while low on energy.
To make up for the lack of sleep, we drink coffee. But try to limit and balance your caffeine intake with eating enough fruits and veggies. Limit sugar and fat intake to avoid feeling lethargic and heavy. Exercise and take care of your body and it will take care of you.
5. Be realistic about time management
When we budget our week we always allow what we think will be enough time. But is it really? How many people have you known that can say “yes, my house was built right on schedule. I didn’t have to wait 30 minutes to be seen at my doctors. The cable guy got here right when he said he would”.
As much as we would love to say that our project will only take us 30 minutes to complete, the reality is that it may very well take a full 60. We should prepare for such things by building extra “padded timing” into our schedules. By doing so we are preparing our schedules for the unexpected without allowing it to interfere with other events. I would rather have padded time in my schedule that will accommodate a hiccup instead of backing up my entire day.
As an Online Business Manager and systems expert, Christine Morris is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs grow their businesses. By helping them to streamline and automate their systems, she allows the focus to remain on further growth for that business and its services. Her website is YourSGD.com and she encourages small business owners to participate in a 4 week program filled with information and tools on overcoming overload. Find more information on this program here.