Busy happens. Even to the best of us – but even more so for a solopreneur. Do you even have time to worry about how to improve your time management skills?
There are vendors to meet, books to keep, inventory to stock, emails to send and phone calls to return. And that’s on a light day.
It’s said that time is money, but we’d argue that such a philosophy is not only patently false, but also incredibly misleading. Money is fluid – it comes, it goes – but time, well, time comes, goes and then – POOF!
So if you constantly find yourself at the end of each day asking, ‘Where did the day go?,’ it may be time to implement some time management skills. Here are 10 ways to make sure you’re thriving – and not just surviving – every day.
Improve Your Time Management Skills by:
- Track Your Time. First things first: Complete at least one day of time logging. From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed at night, list every task and the total amount of time spent on it. This way, you’ll have a solid baseline for what occupies your time – and can move on to the next time management skill.
- ID & Eliminate Time-Wasters. Identify what your time-sucks are – social media, anyone? – according to your time log, and find ways to avoid them. For example, if you waste too much time on social media, set up a blocker for those sites. If you spend too much time on emails, set a time limit on emails each day.
- Try The Pomodoro Technique. This technique involves setting a timer for 25 minutes while you focus on one task, then taking a five-minute break before starting the next. This technique is especially effective if you have trouble focusing, structuring your time, or if you want to make sure you devote enough time to a particular task.
- Apply the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule says that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your efforts, so effective time management suggests that you spend 20 percent on the task(s) that will yield the greatest results.
- Avoid Shiny Objects. This phenomenon is also known as ‘SQUIRREL!’ Much like a barracuda, we are often – and easily – distracted by ‘shiny objects.’ Shiny objects are adept at distracting us and pulling our time and attention away from tasks that matter. See a shiny object, admire it, if you must … then keep it moving.
- Set A Schedule – And Stick To It. Pick a day – preferably at the beginning of each work week – to list the week’s priorities. Then, organize your time based on your set priorities, either by making an hour-by-hour breakdown or a bulleted list of tasks for each day.
- Don’t Multitask. Seriously. Somewhere along the way, ‘multitasking’ was exalted on high, right smack dab next to ‘busyness.’ And while we’ve been led to believe that multitasking is the holy grail for effective time management, it’s decidedly not. Pick one task, and stick with it – and nothing else – to completion.
- Delegate. Sometimes, effective time management means hiring someone to whom you can delegate so you can multiply your efforts. Hire people you can trust, and give them the work you don’t have time for – or the work you don’t know how to do. *Insert gratuitous plug for BELAY Virtual Assistants or Bookkeepers*
- Automate. ‘There’s an app for that.’ Literally. For every difficult, time-consuming, or tedious task, there is a seemingly endless number of automation apps, programs, and online services available so let the 21st century help shoulder some of the burden.
- Remember To Rest. Even God took a breather when creating, oh, you know, the entire world so there should be no shame in your rest game. Sometimes, it’s in our quietest and stillest moments that our minds breathe and expand – often yielding our most intellectually productive moments. Think of it like this: If you’ve ever tried in vain to remember someone’s name or the words to a song, you know that it often comes to you when you stop forcing yourself to remember.
What’s The End Result to Managing Your Time?
If you can master these time management skills – even just a few of them – you and your small business will be humming in no time. And who knows? You may even find yourself with some much-needed free time.*
*free time /ˌfriː ˈtaɪm/ time when you do not have to work, study, etc. and can do what you want
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