Time management has MANY champions! That nice Brian Tracy is one of my faves with his “eat that frog” book and the late Steven Covey was also an amazing time management flag waver, providing us with tools and ideas that made our lives better.
Time management is NOT easy. Stop beating yourself up, EVERYONE is screwing it up right now and you are not alone. That having been said, I would like you to consider how your life would be different if you managed your time effectively and could stop running around like a chicken with your head cut off!!!
These time management tips are sort of in order…but feel free to skip around as you like!
Stop thinking you can do everything that you NEED to do – It is amazing to me the things I heap on my plate as “need to dos” when I already have a full plate. I decided to write a book, EXACTLY when my business was booming and a family member became injured. Seriously? I still was holding myself accountable to that commitment even though I knew there was NO WAY to accomplish it well (could maybe have done it half assed but that is the topic for a different post). Take a look at your todo list and see what you cross off or save for laters on the need to do side.
Stop thinking you can do everything you WANT to do – Entrepreneur readers, this one is for you! We all see shiney objects every day, things that could be the next great thing and take us to the next level. STOP! For the next 90 days, pick three things to do and master. Start, work on and complete them, then pick three more for the next 90 days. If you have purchased training, no buying any more until you watch and master what you have. If you have a great idea, you need to wait until the next cycle to get it into play. If it is REALLY a great idea it will keep and be even better when you can devote honest time to making it work.
Get a calendar! – SO many people come to me with a list of things to do each day thinking this is a calendar. Nope. A calendar is a way to schedule your time in big blocks so you can accomplish something. A calendar is a way to plan IN ADVANCE what you are going to do and when you are going to do it. I KNOW, you are different, you can’t use a calendar because of “X” (fill in your blank, you have kids, you have tenants, you have a service business, you have a products based business, you don’t know timelines, your suppliers vary). For everyone who thinks that they can’t have a calendar, please seek help. Find a business coach, find a friend who always seems to be “on it”, stop giving yourself permission to let time beat you up and take control.
Be honest about your todos for todays! – Want the recipe for self hatred and loathing? Give yourself so many things on your daily to do list that you NEVER accomplish them all. Having all those things there hanging out at the end of the day means that you LOST, FALIED, WEREN’T GOOD ENOUGH! Instead have a todo list and then pick your top three things you need to do today, do those, get them done, succeed!
Fall back in love with your business – Schedule time together with what made you pick your industry in the first place. Take a couple of hours of week to learn something, business plan or just think about why you are doing what you are doing. I LOVE MARKETING, but when I spend to much time working at it, that glow fades and I am left with just work. You are your own boss. Tell yourself that being in the now and appreciating how cool your work and company are is important.
REALLY look at how much time something will take – I tend to underestimate how long something I like to do will take and overestimate how long something I dread will take. I had in my head that paying my bills was at least an hour long task. I timed it…sigh….less than 10 minutes. Writing a blog post, scheduled at a half hour or so, ALWAYS takes about an hour with making a picture, seo’ing it, researching keywords, etc. Both are things I need to do for my business, both NEED to be giving the proper amount of time and energy!
Stop procrastinating – Here comes the “eat the frog” moment! If you have something that HAS to get done, stop stalling, finding other things to do, checking your social media and SIT YOUR BUTT DOWN IN CHAIR and DO IT! The world is FULL of distractions and we all have things that are less than fun to do for our business. Quit stalling, do the things that are important, three at a time and in order from most important to least important.
Hold yourself to high standards AND give yourself a break! – Entrepreneurs like us tend to think we can do everything. We tend to think of our failures and what we tried that did not work. Stop that. Right now! My company has a policy of being AMAZING. We try to produce amazing work, and get amazing results for our clients. That having been said, sometimes things go wrong. What you need to do is stop, apologize, make it right and then MOVE ON! Beating yourself up for past failures is not a recipe for success.
Finally, decide to take control of your time. – This is the most important one. A number of years ago I saw a presentation about planner manners by Deb Ward and decided that day to make time management a priority. Since then my life has become more manageable and fun. I have time for work and time for play. I have the ability to give my clients realistic deadlines that we can both live with. I can feel good knowing that I am not letting things fall through the cracks (too often). You can have this too. Stop making excuses about why you can’t and just decide, today, to make it so!
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