Are you sick of being overwhelmed all the time, thinking that whatever you are doing is not the right thing at the right time? These are my top time management tips…no I am not perfect but I sure do try!
My Name Is Tara and I Am A Time Addict
So I have been a time management junkie for a long time. I have tried hundreds of calendars, time tracking tools, and time management systems. As I child I was fascinated by the book “Cheaper By The Dozen”, both because they had so many kids but also because the dad was an efficiency expert. In it the dad, who seemed a little weird, spent every waking moment trying to make his giant family more efficient.
As an adult, I have been fascinated watching people who seem to be more time efficient also. One of my favorite quotes is that..
You have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyoncé
Now some people take this as a put down, that they are not doing things well enough, but I take it as a challenge. If I really do have just as much time as Bey, or Richard Branson, or Oprah Winfrey, what am I doing with the hours that I have?
Let's be honest here, I used to have all the time in world. I had a great husband who paid most of the bills, no kids and a dog who needed to be let out occasionally. Then we adopted 3 kids and the wheels fell off! Those little suckers are not good for time management at all…great for hugs, super fun to love on, and wonderful little people, but damn can they take up every waking hour.
So I have had to figure some thing about time out.
1. Oh Crap, There Really Are Only So Many Hours In A Day
If you are stressing out about time too much, I guarantee that somewhere along the line you got the mistaken notion, like I did that there are a million hours in the day. That putting something on the calendar would make the time to finish it magically appear.
Well that is wrong. So the first thing that you have to do is have a serious talk with yourself about being more realistic. If you want to accomplish something, then more than likely you are going to have to stop doing some other things that seem important.
For example, I gave myself two weeks to write a book. Yay! That is a week longer than I usually do so good on me, but what that means is that other things have to take a back seat for a while. I CAN write that guest post, just not this week. I can get my blog posts done, just not a big researchy one, it has to be more talky talk. I can let my family know that I will be head down working for a couple of days and that I still love them, but I will be a little less available.
Now you do this….so if you are reading all of this, it is time for you to start putting your money where your mouth is. You need to make a realistic “perfect week” calendar that shows all the time you realistically have. Here is mine:
2. You REALLY Can't Do It All
So my next big epiphany after seeing my calendar in a realistic light of day was to realize that I had A LOT of things that I could do, but not all of them were equally important (to my business, my kids or me).
I took a look at all the things that I had on my to do list and started ruthlessly chopping things out. Facebook, hmmm not for me so much. Yes I do pop in occasionally, but social marketing efforts are focused on Twitter instead. Writing books and creating products, front and center, prospecting for more social media monthly clients, off the list. See I don't love doing that kind of work and I have to be careful that anything I spend my time on is moving me toward my future fabulous life, not just keeping me treading water where I am now.
On the Mommy front, I had to admit that I would never get the Mother of the Year award. I am not going to be able to volunteer to be class mom, I will not be running my kids to 5 play dates a week and no, they can't be in 3 extra-curricular activities a week (although they can all pick one that they are interested in). I don't dress like the other Moms and I am not interested in doing a coffee clutch to talk about children, I like talking about marketing.
You do this now… so now that you know how much time you have, figure out what is important to you! Make lists, ask other people what you are good at, go on an off-site meeting with just yourself and figure out what is important to you (not what you THINK should be important). Be brutally honest with yourself and just pick a few things that really matter.
Stop Saying Yes, RIGHT NOW
I have two time management challenges…being nice and squirrels.
First off, when someone asks you to do something, it always seems easier to say yes than to have to make them sad or let them down. We went to the Bunny House the other day and my middle girl, who really will help take care of it, asked for a rabbit. I SO wanted to say yes, but I know who will be feeding the bunnies, cleaning up after them and taking them to vet. I am already at my limit for animals with a dog, two cats, a gerbil (who Desy takes care of) and a fish.
This happens in business too! A dear man asked me if I could help him find a location to hold his event. I SO wanted to help, but that is not something that I am good at. I said no but I would help with his graphics and everything turned out great. But for a moment I thought…well I could help with that. It would so have turned out badly, I would have spent way to much time doing something that is not in my wheelhouse.
Your turn…make no your default. I KNOW, that sounds terrible and you might feel like you could let someone down, but say no and only agree to do things that fit into your plan!
Now to squirrels. They are everywhere! There was that really cool course about marketing books that I could buy, I could research Meerkat the new social network and get on board early, I could start a new website, or do a video a day, every day.
I am sure that there are squirrels in your life too! You really do have to stop chasing your tail and start having a real focus on what matters. Vow to ignore squirrels for just one week and see if you get more done. Ignore the ads, don't open emails that could get you off track, put your butt in your chair and do your work-work for a whole week without even entertaining doing something new and different.
Get Some Help
For some of you, this kick in the pants will be enough. You will be able to take this advice, turn your life and time around and go on to live a blissfully happy life.
For me, I needed a little help. I hired a business coach who I admire and respect. I pay him what is a big sum of money to me and then listen to what he says to do. When the squirrels pop up I ask myself if they are on track with what we have decided is important (they never are).
Now, I had hired coaches in the past and they hadn't worked. Some were group coaching (that is NOT for me), some were charlatans who sold a good game and didn't come through and some were well meaning but just not for me.
I know that all top athletes and business moguls have coaches so I bit the bullet and signed up.
Want more inspiration? Check out these goal setting quotes!