Managing time is all about making a plan and sticking to the plan.
Here’s a process for staying in control:
1. Separate working time from personal time.
2. Decide on the hours you’re going to work in your business each day and mark them on a planner (9-5, 10-2 or whatever, including meal times and breaks – see the Rest Activity Cycle).
3. List the all the most important things that you MUST do in your business, e.g. check the cashflow, make sales calls, send invoices, do client work; whatever your business demands. Ideally, include some thinking time, planning time and learning time.
4. Block out the time for these activities in your schedule. Some of them may not take up much time e.g. checking the cash flow, but in terms of importance they are big rocks and must be included before other, less important items.
5. Look at the time that’s left. If there isn’t any, you either need to increase the hours you work, cut down on the tasks you’ve scheduled or delegate some of the work. If there is time left, plan how you will use it and then:
Stick to the freaking plan!
If a client wants to move deadlines, your computer crashes or you have unexpected demands on your time that you really can’t avoid go back to your planner and make a new plan, taking into account how this will impact all the other commitments you’ve already made.
Change things deliberately, consciously and in full control.
Don’t do anything during working hours that isn’t in your work schedule.
Always running out of time?
If you’re always running out of time is it because:
a) you’ve underestimating the time it takes to do things
b) you’re wasting time with procrastination
c) you’re doing things that aren’t scheduled?
There are fixes for those that are covered in other posts but the most important thing is to identify what you’re doing that needs to be fixed.
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