06 Feb Time Management: How to Completely Save Your Day
Time and tide wait for no one – Anonymous
In an era where productivity rules and the ability to be efficient is of paramount importance, it is easy to see why time management is imperative to success. What’s harder to understand is why it exists as a universal problem. Every business owner or executive seems to struggle with time management on some level. Managing our time is difficult because, well…
There is no silver bullet.
Time management requires discipline, effort, focus and practice. We are all given 24 hours each day and the clock ticks the same whether you reside in Pennsylvania or in California. What separates us is how we use the time we have. To increase your productivity and use your time more effectively on a consistent basis, you need a toolbox of time management tools that will help you achieve optimum performance.
Here are 5 quick-hit ideas on how to manage your time:
- Identify your ‘time wasters.’ Click here for top 20 time wasters.
- Start a morning and end of day ritual: Each morning ask yourself what will make this day most successful and make me feel most productive at days end…write it down and start there. At the end of the day…review the day…what did I achieve? What could have gone better? And then take the time to update your task list and priorities for the next day.
- Ignore emails. Set aside specific times to handle them and fight that urge to check in between.
- Try the Pomodoro technique. Ahh, my personal favorite…set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on one specific task during this time. While the timer is running, you cannot do anything else or take a break. You will be amazed at how productive you become!
- Do not multi-task. The ability to multi-task is a myth. It is actually one of the worst things you can do when trying to be productive. A person can only do one thing at a time. And in order to conduct small business effectively, it is imperative that the owner learn how to prioritize his or her time.
Are you ready to get serious with time management? Here are 3 in-depth concepts to help you reach the next level:
1) Learn what’s on your plate. First complete a time study by tracking your time every 15 -30 minutes for 1 to 2 weeks – this will help you categorize your time and know what to take out. Then, use the nine block time management grid to determine what is of utmost importance and what the skill level is required for each task. This will allow you to quickly discern what tasks need to be delegated (less important and requiring less skill level) and what tasks have the most amount of overall impact and could possibly be outsourced (important and requiring high skill level).
2) Manage your calendar. Making time for important but non-urgent tasks is vital in the time management game. We must schedule the urgent tasks but they shouldn’t take up our whole day. Use a default calendar to not just schedule your appointments, all your must do’s, daily work, and then those important but non urgent tasks. You should also schedule for some uncommitted time to take care of interruptions and reactive items that might pop up. If you plan for these interruptions, the interruptions will never plan you day. Here is a link to a time block calendar…a form of a default calendar.
3) Delegate, delegate, delegate. When we delegate, we are setting ourselves up for success in the time management arena. There are 5 steps in the delegation process: 1) Choose what to delegate and to whom. 2) Communicate what you would like done. 3) Clearly define responsibility and authority. 4) Clarify the results you are expecting. 5) Follow up and track progress.
Keep in mind that we must implement tools that work for us as individuals. If it doesn’t work, you won’t use it. So, use what works for you. If you want to delve deeper and learn more about our time management tools and tips, register here for our upcoming webinar on time management.