Overwhelm can quickly spin your life out of control. You know it’s bad when you struggle to manage your time. But taking the time to get time management back on track is essential. Having a solid time schedule is a foundation for getting everything else into order.
It’s not enough to just set up a system. You need to maintain it too. Here are 6 tips for managing time in your life and your business.
Keep A Diary
Keeping a diary is essential. If you set yours up online, using a service like Google Calendar, it will sync across all of your devices and send you reminders in advance of appointments or events. You can also set up recurring events over time with just one entry and view your calendar on daily, weekly, monthly or annual views.
If you need extra support, consider a professional online diary management service. This is ideal if you have lots of appointments that need personal communications and occasional re-jigging.
Don’t Multitask if you can help it
Multitasking is second nature to many women, otherwise our families would fall apart! But as a work tactic, it’s just not as productive as focusing on one thing at a time. You’re also more likely to make mistakes when you multitask. Constant distractions can even cause mental health problems like depression and anxiety.
Instead, prioritize. Sort your tasks into order based on how urgent and/or important they are. Split the tasks into 4 groups as illustrated in the table below. Things that are both urgent and important need to be prioritised right now. Schedule things that are important but not urgent. If it’s urgent but not important, deal with it if you have time, get someone else to deal with it, or dump it. And if it’s neither important nor urgent, then you know it’s just a time-waster and to be dumped. Learn to say No!
Reduce Distractions Online
Online distractions usually fall into the Dump box! Nevertheless, they can be very difficult to minimise. You need to be brutal. Switch off alerts on your phone and delete apps that you know are time wasters. You can clear screen clutter by using an ad blocker. By removing distractions such as advertisements and other unnecessary items from your internet browser, you can improve your productivity significantly.
Make To-Do Lists
If you write something down it is much more likely to happen. With all the new tech out there, the good old-fashioned To-Do list is still one of the most powerful tools you have in your time management arsenal. Write a list at the end of every day, so that it’s ready for the next morning. Your mind will start to assimilate the tasks as soon as you write them down. When you’re ready to start your day you can transfer your list into the urgent/ important matrix to prioritise. The added bonus to the To-Do list is that you get a hit of dopamine every time you tick something off. Keep it up for a few weeks and it can become addictive, in a good way!
Create A Schedule
Did you know that we all have a set amount of willpower for each day? It’s a precious and vital resource. You can easily use it up deciding to get out of bed or willing yourself to get started on your emails if you’re not organised. The way to save your willpower for something more important is to automate as much as you possibly can. If your day is largely automated you don’t need to build up to a chunk of tasks, it’s just what you do at that set time. So plan out your days in advance with a clear schedule of what you will be doing at certain times. Every business needs a time for admin and finance, you may also want to schedule in marketing. The rest will depend on the nature of your work, for example, production, sales, client communications. And don’t forget to schedule meals, breaks, exercise, social and downtime!
Remove Distractions in Your Environment
We have talked about social media, which is the number one distraction for many of us. But when it comes to distractions, think about your physical environment too. Do you have a dedicated workspace? Working at the kitchen table can work for some of us, but if other things are going on all around you it can be impossible. Clear the clutter around you and separate yourself, if you can, from people who’re not connected with the task at hand. Make it clear to friends and neighbours that you are not available during work hours.
Being able to effectively manage your time is a foundation of success in all aspects of life. Try these tips out for size and see how much more you can get done.