There are only 24 hours in a day, true, but how come I still can’t get everything I want to do, done? Here are 7 tips to get you started.
1. Find out what your ‘time wasters’ are
Track what you do each day, for a week. The activity and how much time you spend doing it. This will give you a good idea of where your time goes and how you can manipulate it into a better system. Spending a bit of time planning to save time is time well spent!
2. Changing your behaviour
You can’t change time so you must change your behaviours to manage your time effectively. Referring to your ‘Time Waster Tracking’ above pick the areas that you can cut down and apply to other areas more important to you. Slowly put the new behaviours into action. Don’t rush them, just add a new one every few days when you are comfortable.
Learn to say ‘no to the unimportant requests’. Once you do it a few times and see the benefits to your time you’ll find it easier. Saying ‘no’ is not rude, inconsiderate or selfish. It’s just that you don’t have the time to do everything and say ‘yes’ to everything and everyone.
3. Time management goal setting
Setting achievable goals and writing them on a list where you can see it daily is the next step. You want to focus on what you want to do and how you are going to achieve it. These are usually the bigger issues that are concerning you. Start with the easiest first and work towards larger goals. eg; instead of spending 30 minutes on a time waster I’m going to spend 30 minutes replying to important emails. If stress is your problem then set this 30 minutes for total relaxation. Setting goals will give you personal satisfaction and a sense of direction in life, both very important to your well being.
4. Planning the day
In the morning, every morning, write down the tasks you want to achieve that day. Now prioritise them. Don’t stress if don’t complete all the tasks on the list, it’s just a way to train yourself in time management. If you aren’t a morning person then write your list before bed the night before. A ‘running’ list is another way to organise your time – use whatever method works best for you.
No matter how large or small your business you can’t do it all and expect everything to run perfectly, it wont. Your business can only grow, flourish and be successful if the right people are doing the right tasks. This could be as simple as hiring a bookkeeper once a quarter to take the burden off doing the paperwork/books. Don’t forget you need time to concentrate on your business. If you are juggling all the housework, a couple of kids and a home business then, oh boy, you need to delegate immediately! It could be a cleaner once a fortnight, car pooling at school, someone to mow the lawn etc.
A streamlined system, no clutter, no rubbish and a place for everything and everything in it’s place is how people conquer time management. Start with your office – get your computer files into an easy system for you to use. Set up your email system so emails are automatically sorted into folders before you open them. Have your filing cabinet organised and your desk functional, by that I mean have the pens, paperclips etc where you can access them easily. Keep the envelopes, stamps, an address book etc together and make sure you have back up ink cartridges, pencils, copying paper etc so you aren’t caught short (which causes stress).
At home be just as organised by having an organiser with all the information you need at you fingertips. Get a calender for the wall and write when to pay bills a few days before they due as well as all the other appointments your family has.
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7. Set time limits for tasks
This is a guide for yourself so you don’t spend too much time on a task and turn it into a time waster! Set about 30 minutes for emails and stick to it if you can. Doing this allows you to give yourself permission to stop a task and start another.
Expert organisers suggest that you only plan about 50% of your time so that you have a decent amount of time left for anything unexpected that might ‘pop up’. If nothing ‘pops up’ then you will achieve more than you first planned.