Time management can be extremely tricky and sometimes seems downright impossible. However, to manage a business, you’ll have to learn how to manage your time. Start with managing your own. If you can stay on top of yourself, you can stay on top of your business.
What is Time Management?
Dictionary.com defines “Time Management” as “the analysis of how working hours are spent and the prioritization of tasks in order to maximize personal efficiency in the workplace.” So, according to the very definition of Time Management, you must:
Let’s take a look at how you can do that…
Planning is everything when it comes to Time Management; however, in order to come up with a proper Time Management plan, you will first have to analyze your life (and/or your business).
Some questions to ask yourself when analyzing your time are:
- What are my short term goals?
- What are my long term goals?
- How long, ideally, do I want these tasks to take? (Make sure you set time-limits! If you don’t set due-dates for yourself, then you’ll be more likely to get distracted).
- What is my capacity for stress? (Know when to take a break! Time Management doesn’t mean turning into a non-stop working machine).
- How important is my Personal Time compared to my Business/Work Time?
- What are my personal goals?
- What are my business goals?
- What is it I really want to achieve by making a Time Management plan?
After you’ve analyzed your time and your goals, prioritize them. Arrange tasks in order of importance, urgency, and by how much it will enhance your life/business.
- Planning is everything! (Plan, plan, plan, plan plan!!)
- Write everything down. (Having a diary or day planner can work wonders).
- Use an alarm/timer. (Even if you’ve designated certain blocks of time for certain tasks, it can still be easy to lose track of time if you don’t have something—like an alarm—to remind you)
Remember: “Important” doesn’t always mean “most urgent.” Think ahead!
To maximize your Time Management plan, it’s important to have a good balance.
Here are some tips to maximize your Time Management plan:
- Break larger tasks down into smaller chunks. Instead of doing a lot all at once (which can be overwhelming), you can do smaller tasks more often.
- “All work and no play…” You know the rest. Remember to take breaks! Make time for your hobbies, friends, pets, exercise, family, and/or anything else that’s important to you.
- Stay away from the Internet. Or at least turn off your instant messengers, e-mail alerts, social network sites, and other distractions…
- Stay organized. A messy environment can lead to a “messy” mind. Keep your workspace/home clean and you may find yourself having less trouble focusing.
- Allow for some flexibility in your schedule. There will always be unexpected things that pop up in your life—medical emergencies, for instance—and if your schedule is too tight, you may not be able to recover your plans when things go awry.
- Do it NOW! If you’re finding yourself putting off something on your Time Management plan, ask yourself “Why?” Most of the time, procrastination doesn’t have any logical reason behind it. Unless you have a valid reason for your procrastination: just do the task already!
- Outsource. If you can’t finish your task (or really, really, don’t want to), then you might want to consider sub-contracting the job.