How do you create time?
There have been articles and books written about how to better manage our time for decades. I read a bunch of them but never seemed to get above the chaos that was my life. But now, I run a business helping people create time. How do I do it?
First, I have to confess, I used to procrastinate. Everything.
I used to put things off, especially the things that I don’t want to do. In school, I would put off doing assignments or studying for tests until the very last minute. I told myself I thrived on the stress, but I just hated reading boring texts that I didn’t think mattered in my life. (and really, most of it didn’t matter) I always found much more interesting (not mind growing) things to do like watch TV, or read magazine articles.
When I started working, I always felt like I couldn’t get everything done. So much work on my to do list and every day there just seemed to be more and more. It never got smaller. So, I learned to set up priorities and work those first. But then, priorities changed and I was managing a list that was always changing. I kept wondering, how am I ever going to get all this done.
Now, I have learned a few things about time management. I am not always perfect, and sometimes my list gets the best of me or I go wallow in the TV, but I can truly say, I am managing my time. And, I know how to get work done and checked off the list.Time management takes planning. Tip: Slow Down to Speed Up! Click To Tweet
Here are my tips to you:
Slow down to speed up. Time management takes planning. Take time at the end or beginning of each day (whichever one works best for you) and plan out what will happen that day (or the next day). This planning will help you see what your priorities are for the day and put them in your brain. If something of a higher priority comes up, you will be able to shift everything else accordingly.
Put it all on your calendar. Estimate the time it will take you to do each of your priorities and schedule them on your calendar. This will give you a realistic look at what you are doing each day and what is taking your time. Make sure to schedule things like lunch and workouts too. All of your priorities should be on the calendar. I even schedule my sleep now, because it is important to me and I want it to happen. If I didn’t schedule it, I might find something else to put in its place and I need my sleep, priorities people!
Recognize you cannot do it all. The first time you try this, you will find you need more than 24 hours in the day. Trust me. This is where it gets hard. You need to figure out where you can delegate. Delegate can mean lots of things too. It can mean you find someone you trust to take it over, like having a trusted work associate pick up a report you need done. It can mean you hire it out, like getting someone to clean your house. (I do this!) Or, you can delegate it to the “not a priority” list, meaning you decide it really isn’t a priority for you right now. The key here is that you recognize there is a finite amount of time in your day and you are only one person. You can only do so much.
Stick to your planning. Once you have planned your day, try to stick to it as much as you can. Set reminders, so you finish or start on time. When you don’t finish something in the allotted time, end what you are doing, note it, and put it in a future day with time to finish it. Or move one of your other priorities to accommodate the time to finish this one. And if there is an emergency, tend to the emergency. When it is over, re-adjust your plan and continue moving forward. Going back to step one and slowing down helps you re-focus your energy and gets you back on track for what needs to be done.
Be flexible. This step is the great contradiction. Things happen, kids get sick, bosses cancel projects, cars break down. Your plan needs to be able to change when your priorities change. But you can’t forget steps 1-4, when things change, do them again. They will keep you grounded and get you going in the right direction every time.
Finally, forgive yourself. This is a big one to remember. People, all of us, tend to beat ourselves up if we don’t get the plan done. I do it to myself all the time. We need to remember that as humans, we are constantly learning and changing and we must forgive ourselves for the mistakes that we will inevitably make. So, if you fall off the path and things get crazy again, stop and forgive yourself first. Then, do steps 1-4 again.
I have found that when I follow my daily plan, even with some hiccups, I have checked most things off my list. Because I like checking things off lists, this is my ultimate goal, and that makes me smile.
Business owners, these tips can be vital for your health and the health of your business. You will not be able to lead and grow your business if you can’t slow down and plan where you want to go.
So when you decide you need to hire a delegate to take some of the more mundane tasks off your list, contact me and I will create a customized plan for you that will outline how I can get you out of the weeds of running your business and back to the flowerbed to grow your business.