Time Management Tips
Time management is a struggle for just about every entrepreneur I know. If you’re a visionary or someone who tends to think in the abstract (big picture thinking), time management can be especially challenging. At its root, time management ensures that the right thing gets done at the right time. If you have a plan for the day, for example, and you’re able to check off those things on your list, you feel like you’ve won the day, right? Alternatively, we’ve all once hit 7pm and felt like “what the heck did I do today?” This is mostly due to how well you managed your time. I’ll be honest, I've mastered a few time management tactics and I wanted to share them because they're useful and powerfully effective. One the biggest values I provide to my clients is my ability to produce excellent work, efficiently. I can build a plan, stay laser focused, and deliver desired results in really good time. In part, it’s because of my time management methods. Let me share a few tried and true tactics that have worked wonders for me (some I’ve been using since college), if you’re interested:
Make a plan well in advance // As obvious as this may sound, few rarely plan in advance. On sunday, I make a high-level plan for the week, then I break it down into a plan for each day. I have five priorities that absolutely must get done each day. No. Matter. What. Identify your must do’s and eliminate the rest. Tim Ferriss wrote a great book about this called “Four Hour Work Week” and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to prioritize and focus.
Block out your time and protect it // I use my Google calendar and I add all of my to-do’s in half-hour or hourly blocks. Each activity is color coded so that I can quickly see how much time on spending on each client, on my own business, and on other things that need my attention. This is all well and good, pretty to look at and a great method, but the real kicker is that I stick to my schedule, religiously. With my plan locked down and visual, I know what I’m supposed to be doing and when. I protect that time. I don’t scroll Instagram, I don’t check my email (unless it’s during the scheduled time), I don’t check my phone, I don’t schedule meetings during specific hours of the week. The only thing that can interrupt my scheduled activities during my working hours are a) a phone call from my children’s schools, or b) a phone call from my husband which would mean something important.
Set a realistic agenda // Hey, I’m all for stretch goals, but if you’ve over-scheduled yourself to the point where there’s no way you’ll be able to take a bathroom break during the day, then you’re doomed. Make sure you add time for lunch, exercise, time away from client work or the computer screen. I have an hour scheduled for exercising and getting ready for the day, and I protect it like it’s a client meeting. That hour is vital to creating excellent work, my effectiveness, and happiness for the rest of the day, so it’s a priority, just like the client work that follows it.
Multi-Tasking is enemy #1 // If you’re eating lunch, just eat lunch… no scrolling, no checking email, just sit with your thoughts and your food. You may just think up your “next best thing.” Put your phone in the other room on airplane mode if you have to. The point is to stay centered on one thing at a time; to isolate an activity and do it well rather than half-assing two or three things at once. This is a skill that can be learned, one that I had to learn. Focusing on one thing at a time for a specific duration, followed by short breaks are scientifically proven to increase productivity and focus. If you’re interested in this, check out this article, or this article, or this one.
I hope you find this useful and gives you some tools to use to propel you forward!