10 Ways to Better Manage Your Time
10 Ways to Better Manage Your Time
Managing Your Most Valuable Asset - Time
If you are a busy entrepreneur, mother, homemaker, and volunteer like myself, then you might struggle, as I do, with time management. So I've put together this article exploring ways to better manage time from the perspective of an entrepreneur.
KNOW YOUR GOALS
At the very beginning of all conversations with clients, I always ask them - "What are your goals?". This is an important conversation to have because it can drive the direction of all future conversations. Having a clear list of personal and professional goals can guide you in everything from creating a marketing strategy, to planning how to spend your day. My friend Deborah Eckerling, Author of "Your Goal Guide", encourages everyone to go through a goal setting journey to help you clarify your path.
So ask yourself, what are your short term goals, and what are your long term goals, and write them down. This will help you with your time management because when struggling with what tasks should be priority you can refer back to your goal list, and schedule tasks that are in alignment with your goals.
HAVE A TO DO LIST
Having a MASTER to do list will get all of your tasks out of your head and onto paper. This will help you immensely in your time management because you won't be floundering each day feeling overwhelmed knowing that you have tons to do, but don't know where to start.
I have a to do task list that is organized by: Client Tasks, Marketing Tasks, Sales Tasks, Personal / Self Care, Kids, Household, Financial. You get the picture.
Literally write everything down that you have to do.
Then have a to do list for the day. Some people like to organize this further into MUST DO, SHOULD DO, and do if you can.
There are lots of online and physical organizers to help you with your to do list and daily schedule. I came across this one and love it!
If you are feeling overwhelmed trying to schedule your week and your day, you are not alone. But as humans we are reliant on predictive schedules that guide us through how to spend our day. Many successful entrepreneurs that I speak to have a habit of scheduling literally everything. Waking up, exercise, self care, all work related tasks, all outside work activities. The experts suggest that you schedule all tasks in your life. This can includes times of rest, and times for FUN!
One thing I found for myself is I love to use highlighters to block off in my agenda by colour coding types of tasks so I have a visual overview of my schedule.
BLOCK OFF TIMES FOR TASKS
Instead of just blocking off times in your schedule for "work", try to block of specific allotments of time for each task. Including, maybe especially time sucking tasks like checking email, and checking social media. Refer to your task list, and schedule what needs to be done each week and each day in blocks of time, so that you know during that block of 15 minutes, or 1 hour, or whatever it is that you will be focused on that one task alone.
USE A TIMER
I love this simple piece of advise that I was given from a truly busy and successful blogger. She told me she had a cute little kitchen timer shaped like an owl, and she used this to keep focused on one task but just for a set amount of time. I personally can see this being useful when I tell myself I'll just spend a few minutes checking TikTok, and a full hour later I wonder where the time went. If you need to write for an hour, but then know you should take a break, set a little timer for an hour, and stop when you promised yourself you would. Your phone and your computer will both have the ability to set a timer if you don't have a cute little owl shaped timer lying around.
OUTSOURCE OR DELEGATE
My absolute favourite time management tip of all time is to OUTSOURCE! You can not possibly do it all alone, though as business owners I know so many of us try to wear all of the hats. And if you are like me and also running a household, children, and have outside obligations and hobbies, it will not be long before by trying to do it all yourself you burn out.
DELEGATE absolutely everything you can think of so that you are left remaining with the tasks that provide you will the most results. This is often referred to as the 80/20 rule. Many business owners spend only 20% of their time on the tasks that provide the most results. How much time do you spend on tasks that build your business or generate income? Compare this to all of the "busy" work you do. Bookkeeping, responding to emails, doing social media posts. Just think about how much more time in your day and in your week you would have if you could delegate these tasks, and then focus your time where it will be the most productive, and get you closer to your goals.
Tasks that just make sense to outsource in your business:
- Social Media Content Creation
- Social Media Management, Engagement, Paid Ads
- Website Content Management
- Office Cleaning
- Market Research
- Answering Phones
- Email marketing
- Managing your calendar / appointments
The award winning team at Dufferin Media can help with any of your digital marketing tasks you might like to outsource such as website, social media or email marketing.
They say the brain takes an average of 15 minutes to focus on the task at hand, and when diverted, takes that amount of time to refocus.
To better manage your time, you might benefit from becoming aware of what distracts you. Remember your goals. You will not achieve your goals if you do not have a plan, and carry out the action items of that plan. You will not carry out the action items or tasks of your plan to reach your goals if you are constantly distracted. Wherever possible avoid distractions. Personally, I am often distracted by checking my emails WAY too many times a day. If you struggle with email management check out this article "How to Better Manage Your Email"
Another distraction I am guilty of is to always check my phone if I get a notification. Turning off notifications can save a ton of time.
Distractions can be time consuming and costly. The more time you can focus on productive tasks, the more efficient you will be with your time.
There is a great quote; "People that can focus, get things done. People that can prioritize get the right things done"
If you are working towards having better management and control of your time, and making sure that all efforts are working towards your goals, then prioritizing your tasks is going to be key to your success.
You have your goals. You have your master task list. Now when you are scheduling your week, or your day, think about giving priority to the tasks that you know will get you closer to your goals faster. Do one of these as the first task of the day, even before you open your email. Prioritize what is important and urgent and do these items without delay.
LEARN WHEN TO SAY NO
Is anyone else a chronic people pleaser? I know this has been one of my major downfalls in life. Setting boundaries is part of good self care. Learning when to say no is also part of good self care, and can help you get towards your goals faster and have a more productive life. Say no to anything that does not bring you closer to your goals. It's that simple. If it doesn't serve you in some way, don't do it. Unless its require by law obviously, or required for survival. I'm not talking about avoiding responsibilities, I'm talking about saying no to requests for meetings that could be an email. Not answering the phone when you know it could be a text, or isn't even worth answering.
If you have a client that is sucking up your precious and valuable time and causing you stress and anxiety, let me assure you from my own experience, it's not worth it. Say no. It's okay to fire a client.
Learning when to say no is a key part of better time management, because you are trying to focus on tasks that will get you closer to your goal, which means anything that is not - you can say no to. Do not waste your precious time. Now that being said, always be respectful and kind. Some ways you can say no politely may include:
- I appreciate your time, but no thank you
- Thanks for thinking of me, but I just have too much on my plate right now
- I'm so sorry this just doesn't fit in with my goals at the moment, have you thought of calling ______
- I wish I could, but I already have another obligation at that time
FOCUS ON ONE TASK AT A TIME
Think about the power of a smart phone. It can literally do thousands of tasks, from checking email, to texting, to playing a game, watching a movie, checking social media. But a smart phone can only do one of these tasks at a time. Your brain is like a smart phone. It can only focus successfully on one task at a time. How many tabs do you normally have open in your browser window? Probably too many. Multitasking is not a thing. It's overrated and impossible and will cause you more stress and anxiety. In order to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible, trust me, focus on just one task at a time.
YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET IS TIME
The old saying "time is money" is actually true. If you are an employee working for a company chances are you get paid hourly for the work you do. As a lawyer or an accountant you bill out your clients by the hour and charge them for your time. And if you are a busy entrepreneur every second that you spend working on or in your business represents money. Time is literally your most valuable asset. Are you managing your time to the best of your ability? How could you improve? I'd love to know in the comments below if you have any other suggestions for managing your time.
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