Does the phrase tempus fugit (time flies) ring a bell? Time never waits for anyone. Its here today, and boom its gone. Its easy to get distracted, consumed on less critical issues and lose track. Before you know you will be postponing one thing after the next, feel exacerbated, frustrated and less accomplished.
When it comes to time management its either you are good or bad with it. Time management is a process, more like a habit you ought to develop. It is a sort of skill that you need to develop. You can get better with your time management when you learn and create habits. Being in the habit of using calendars, planners, and just sticking to deadlines can pay off in the end. If you don’t put a stop to the way your let time slip, you can end up playing a chasing game.
When you fail to prioritise your tasks and let less important activities to creep in, you are sure to lose your valuable time. I am talking about entertaining friends, taking time to hit the movies, play games, take long on phone, ever on social media—in your busy times. None of these are any bad but when you begin to allocate more time than required in doing less productive and less valuable things, you leave yourself vulnerable. Time management can get you from your current hot mess and give you the control you most need, here is how;
A to-do list is a must have
When you have a single task you can get away with doing things as and when. When you have a business with demanding and competing deadlines then you might need to have a re-think – you are certainly better off with a to-do list. You need to put down what needs doing on a day to day basis, prioritising the most important urgent things first. When you go through each task and tick what you have achieved, you also get a sense of accomplishment-you will be more encouraged to continue working through your list.
Going about without using a list is futile, you can easily lose track of things that need doing. You are more likely to get surprised when all of a sudden you realise you have looming deadlines or have missed critical activities. You are likely to lose sight, control and understanding of what is still pending. Businesses sometimes fail not because they are bad business but because you fail to control what needs doing. As entrepreneurs, we at times get frustrated and are ever complaining that we lack time but never bother to document anything-When you just go about doing things from your head, you are more likely to feel like you aren’t achieving much and that you are ever chasing time. Don’t let deadlines sneak up on you, just stay ahead and stay prepared.
Block your time and learn to say no.
If you have been holding up and not wanting to exercise your right to say No, well coincidentally we are now in NO-vember. You might as well. You might have been suffering from the “nice girl syndrome”, bending over backward just to help and be there for others. You spend loads and loads of time focusing on what you can do for others whilst your business and enterprises are on the hold. You aren’t doing yourself favours but rather stretching way too thin so you can be the nice one.
Realise one thing, NO is a complete sentence, it doesn’t need the support of Why, How, Because—its just NO. You need all the time to make things work for you and your business. Yes, you can help others but it doesn’t mean you have to do it at your expense. When you can’t, it’s a NO.
Identify Your Time Leaks
Can you manage what you can’t track, can you even budget if you don’t know what you spend on, in the same way can you manage your time if you don’t where most of it is disappearing to? Its just but hard. Know what distracts you the most and find ways of dealing with it. If being on the mobile is a distraction, try and use it only when you have to.
Your time is leaking, no matter how much you try, you will always be chasing it. You have 24 hours a day, work from reverse and start accounting for each hour. Track your time to the last minute and identify things that end up consuming your time.
Are you spending more time on emails, social media, gossip or letting your meetings run over. Get your fingers on it and start accounting for lost time. Get yourself back in control. Time can be an elusion. You wont even notice how an hour passes by when you are browsing the net, checking your facebook or Instagram, but try an hour training or grinding. Does the time go faster-not at all. Things that can distract you, can ‘quitely’ take your time. You can easily lose track of your time when you are busy catching up on the gossip or just following social media.
Batch any Similar Tasks Together
There is no one smart way to manage your time than batching-All you have to do is find your similar tasks, bundle them together and dedicate time to handle these. This magical approach decreases your distraction and improves your ability to focus.
For an entrepreneur, business owner or even a professional you can easily get distracted with daily tasks like checking emails, phone calls, meetings or even social media. Each time you attempt to focus on any of these you lose an extra 15 minutes trying to re-focus on your main tasks. When you are ever shifting between tasks, refocusing your attention you are likely to get fatigued, stressed and even less productive.
You can still remain in control and in charge when you batch these important but less crucial tasks together. Get yourself a block of time that you can dedicate to these tasks. Reading and responding emails as they come is distractive but giving yourself an hour or so to commit to emails, voicemails or phone calls or any related small tasks improves your focus. Instead of taking several minutes or hours each time, you now have dedicated blocks to get shi* done.
Be open to new ideas
We now live in the world of technology. Just as they say there is an app for everything, they are surely many ways you can do your business or run your enterprise. Sometimes all you need is the right system that works for you. Are you using the right technology or using efficient business approaches? The right systems can make your workload lighter. There is always a technology or system that can free up your time, ideas that improve your efficiency or even the way you do things. Don’t work in a closed manner but be ready and open to take on new ideas.
Be at the forefront and research on current technologies, current software and even just current management techniques. Something out there can work for you and reduce the time you need for your business.
Don’t be drawn into other’s busyness
Most people are caught up in the “I am busy” phenomena. You feel by saying you are busy it means you are getting things done; feel important to your colleagues or friends.
But if you are ever busy, never able to spare 5 minutes it literally means you got loads of work and stuff pilling up on a daily basis. You are drowning in your own work-hence you are ever shelling the busyness phrase. You might be doing something wrong, either taking more than you can handle, taking more than you are capable of or that you have a lot more distractions.
Could it be that you haven’t found ways to change the way you are handling your business—Instead of ever following the busy crowd, start getting things done. Change the way you work, how you plan and manage your time.
Plan your day and activities
You can get allocated 48 hours a day, even 72 but still feel like there is never enough hours. That’s right-for us mortal beings there is never enough time—there is always so much to do but so little time to carry out what we need. This applies in business or in career development; time is never on your side.
The magic in time management lies in planning and conscious control of the time you allocate in your business, enterprises or work. Whatever you do, for as long as those activities aren’t part of your plans, view them as distractions. Its much easier to get distracted especially for entrepreneurs as you manage the time you start and finish work. In-fact its much difficult for us entrepreneurs as the start and finish lines are hardly defined. What makes distractions difficult is they resonate with our desires. Those desires of wanting to catch up with friends, the desires to relax, go out and have fun. What you need more is DISCIPLINE. Without it, you will lose focus on your plans. Planning is that essential tool you need to deliver on your goals and meet targets.
At times we might be moaning, grumpy, frustrated and even paralysed thinking we haven’t got much time to build our career, business or enterprises. I know time is limiting but at times we need to think differently. If time was like cash in your hands, would you let it vanish? You can get the focus you need when you place monetary value on time – give it currency and make sure you save. Consider your time in a day as your bank balance. Budget your time balance into the necessities, the must haves, reserves and emergency funds. Have a new approach, in the same way, you don’t want to over-run your monthly budget – avoid running out of time by overspending on things that are not necessary.
Audit yourself – know what you can and cannot do
Sometimes you can only be the team there is until your business grows. You could also be working with a team or teams. When it comes to taking work, be sure you are taking on jobs that you can actually do. There is no ingenuity in taking on tasks that are going to drive you crazy simply because you haven’t got the necessary skills. Its okay to challenge yourself but do it within reason. A failure to accomplish tasks can erode your confidence and better still build on more workload than you can do.
When you embrace time management and develop habits you will start enjoying tons of different things.
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