6 TOP TIPS FOR TIME MANAGEMENT
A big part of being successful at time management is being organized. Time is precious, particularly when it comes to running a small business but with the right approach, you can work efficiently, productively, and relatively stress-free. Here are few tips for effectively managing your time:
1. Evaluate how you spend your time.
The first step in time management is to evaluate how you spend your time on daily tasks. You can use a time-tracking app or the ol' pen-and-paper method to record what you're doing, when and for how long.
2. Organize your time wisely.
Time management is hard. If you want to become successful at time management, you need to start using a planner. This can be either a weekly paper version or a computer software program - whatever you’re comfortable with. Ideally, it should come with a calendar app function so you can schedule your time more effectively, as well as remind yourself of important events and tasks including appointments, project deadlines, exercise and social events.
As Coach Marie Forleo advises "If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real."
3. Plan, prioritize and follow through on tasks.
Many people fail at time management because they haven't planned, prioritized and followed through on tasks. The best way to correct this is by creating a routine.
To get started, create a weekly schedule comprised of essential tasks, such as responding to emails or doing laundry. Next, establish set block times for these essential tasks. Because you’ve already evaluated how your time is spent, you should have a ballpark estimate of how much time you should set aside for each task. Be consistent and keep the times the same throughout the week.
For larger tasks, break them up into smaller chunks. This makes the task more manageable; you can set aside a realistic time to work on each chunk.
4. Drop bad habits.
One of the reasons you may be disorganized is because you've developed bad habits that are preventing you from being organized. If you want to get better at time management, you need to drop those bad habits, such as taking on more than you can handle. This happens frequently when you have just started your own business and are doing everything yourself. As a result, nothing gets done. Learn your limits and how to say no. Remember, it’s better to underpromise and overdeliver.
Another bad habit is relying on your memory. No matter how great your memory is, it can fail you. Carry a notebook with you at all times to jot down everything from thoughts and ideas to meeting notes so you can refer to it when you need to
Multitasking, surprisingly, is also a bad habit. Doing several things at once isn't effective. Instead of helping us get more done at once, it takes us longer to complete tasks because our brains are switching back and forth between tasks. Focus on completing one task at a time.
5. Learn how to manage external time wasters.
There will be times when your time is affected by external factors, like unexpected visitors or meetings that drag on. There are a few ways you can learn how to manage these outside forces. One is by setting a specific time to respond to phone calls and emails. When you're working, turn your notifications off and use voicemail.
Another is establishing blocks of time when you’re free to meet. When you’re not available, you can keep your door closed, place a "do not disturb" sign outside or politely ask people to return at a more convenient time.
Only plan meetings that are absolutely necessary; make sure there’s an agenda in advance and a facilitator so the meeting stays on track and ends on time.
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