When I started my business planning process, I researched a huge number of things; various industry practices, start up business processes, business people and individual businesses themselves. During this research 'journey' I found that the most productive people in business, all had one thing in common. They are remarkably awesome at time management. I'm not talking about people who have a unique skill of 'appearing busy all the time' the ones that somehow get very little done in the end... I am talking about the productive people, the 'get things done' types, the achievers.
We each have 24 hours in a day, but we all know someone who manages to fit in more than the average person, more activities in a day or week and they seem to do so with ease, or so it appears. How do they do it? What can we learn from these time management masters?
"If you want something done, ask a busy person." Benjamin Franklin
A friend of mine is well known as an 'energiser bunny' for the incredible amount of activities and tasks she manages in her day. I took note of the way she managed her time, how could she fit all of this in? Her habits and routine were effectively always planned. Aha! Mental note: Planning what she will do with her time. The tasks didn't just get crammed in 'willy nilly', she actively thought through and planned out how to effectively get things done in the time she had available. Idle time is never wasted, she would use every spare moment to accomplish a quick task that could be managed in that short space of time. No time wasting on her watch!
This is not to say we need to be constantly busy and never stop! Scheduling down time, time for fun, friends and family time and time for yourself is equally vital. This 'time for YOU' concept is a must! Schedule it in.
'You' time... The Busy bees especially need to remember this one.
Start by finding extra hours in your day
Focus on being productive instead of busy
What are your main distractions? Minimise them and manage them effectively. When I decided to start my business, I was already working a paid 35hour week. I knew I would need to be able to manage my time well in order to fit in the business work outside of my core employed hours. I began by mapping out what activities were absorbing my time and tasks that were unproductive, distracting me from my goals. I monitored my routine and habits for a period of time and noted down what I needed to reign in. Where could I cut out some time wasting activities and tasks in my daily routine to replace with my business work. I was able to see that I had available, up to another 15-25 hours a week if I was to manage my priorities and time more effectively. But I needed to do some more culling to pave a clearer path to be able to see a way to achieve my goals, task by task, one day at a time.
Being busy and being productive are two different things.
I set my sights on my business goals, while consciously refraining from certain time wasters (even indulgent hobbies) and redirected my energy and focus to where I wanted it to be. I found that I was able to achieve a great deal more which felt great, I felt so productive and surprisingly more energised. Soon the feeling of accomplishment outweighed the phase of mini-grief I felt for giving up some indulgent time wasting 'hobbies'. I still set time aside to indulge and schedule that as part of my 'down time'. I make the rules. If I want to schedule in some time wasting activities I can, it is just as important to stick to the guidelines that I set for myself otherwise I could end up back in that time wasting vortex!
Work out when you work at your best. Maybe early in the morning is your peak performing period. Think about when is your high functioning time and plan important tasks for that time of day and leave the tasks that don't require as much brain power and energy for the afternoon and evening. Plan it, map it out. Manage the things you DO have control over and that are not set in stone time-wise. Be aware of the times you are tired, if evening is when your brain unwinds, get up early and focus on powering through the work at that time.
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