All business owners worry about not having enough time. We all want to achieve the maximum amount of tasks in the minimum amount of time, so how we manage our time is crucial to our success. So what are the options available to us for time management and how can we best utilise our time?
Take the first 30 minutes of your day as planning time. This is the time to get focused on what needs to be completed today. Doing this everyday will enable you to focus on what’s really important.
Block Out Distractions
This includes social media, email and phone calls, so close your email management program down, shut those social media windows and turn on the answering machine! Plan in a set amount of time each day to focus on social media, email and phone calls – so you’re not tempted to check them throughout the day.
Get all of those tasks out of your head and onto paper… and I mean ALL tasks. Whether they’re work or personal, involve calling or typing; get them all down on the list. Before you panic at the length of this list, remind yourself that this is your master list of “to do’s” – it isn’t just for today! You will be separating today’s tasks when you prioritise your list.
Now go through that list and prioritise those tasks. You can either pick only those tasks that are most urgent, and then write them in for today, or you can go through and prioritise the whole list. A good way to prioritise is to go through and label tasks “A”, “B” or “C” for importance and then, within those classifications use “1”, “2” and “3” to further break them down. You can then write down a selection of categories in today’s “to do” list or, if there are lots of high priority (A1) tasks, you can focus on them.
Grouping similar tasks together is another great way of getting control of your time. You can group tasks by method (i.e. telephone calls, emails or ordering) or, if using the above classification categories, by their category (i.e. A1, B1 or C2 etc). This ensures you are using maximum time with minimum extra effort. Just make sure you only write down today’s tasks in the diary, so you avoid overwhelm.
If your list leaves you feeling overwhelmed, try time chunking. Start with five or ten minute slots of time and set the timer. Make a start on the first task on today’s list and, when the time is up, reset the timer for the same amount of time and start on the second task, then third etc. When you have completed the first time cycle, increase the time slot and repeat the cycle of tasks.
Allocate Extra Time
Whenever you want to focus on something, you can guarantee you’ll ever get interrupted or need time to think… so allow extra time for that. Give yourself 50% more time than you originally estimated to finish a task.
What time management tips work for you? Do you chunk tasks or time? Do you have a set routine to ensure you’re maximising time or do you prefer to be spontaneous with your task? Why not share your tips and thoughts on today’s time management post in the comments box below?