I was born with the ‘time management gene’. I’m one of those Type A organized folks you hear about. I think Martha Stewart and I must be long lost cousins or something. I remember on my third grade report card my teacher wrote “Uses time wisely”, because if we had even 10 minutes left in class, I would spend it doing my homework. Why? Because I didn’t want to go home and have to do it then, I wanted to go home and PLAY! So I didn’t want to just sit there doing nothing for those 10 minutes, so I did my homework. This is the way my mind works. I am always trying to figure out ways to get the most use of the time I have.
I was recently asked to post some of my best time management tips. So I thought I would share those with you.
- You are in Control
- Plan Your Day
- TV Off
- No Lone Rangers
- Communication Control
- Take a Break
- Get Some Sleep
You are in Control
You control your time and what commitments you take on. There is no end to the worthwhile causes and activities that could occupy your day, but you need to be selective in what you choose to do, as no one can do all things well. You need to know what your goals are for your business and your life, and stay within those goals. Goals can change, of course, but over-committing and then not honoring those commitments is worse than saying no to begin with. You are in control: say no when the commitment does not fit within your goals and available time.
Plan Your Day
The old ‘To-Do’ list is still as effective today as ever. Whether you have yours on a PDA, your desktop or on paper, just use it. Creating a ‘to-do’ list accomplishes two things: it gives your day direction and focus, but also gives you a sense of accomplishment when you check something off the list. This is especially important for those who work at home, as it gives them some accountability and a sense of structure in their day that is often lost when not in an office atmosphere.
Never has their been a greater waste of time than the TV (or video games, computer games, etc..). Hours can be wasted doing nothing more than sitting there staring at a box. It’s a distraction. Turn it off. If you have shows you like to watch, then plan it into your day and put it on your ‘to-do’ list and set the timer!
No Lone Rangers
Hire yourself some help. Successful business leaders delegate responsibility to others. They do not run their businesses all by themselves with no help. This philosophy also holds true in the case of a home-business: one person can not do all things to run a business and a household. Hire a virtual assistant, at the very least. If you have children, you should be training your children to do some work around the house, that’s our job as parents to train the children to be competent adults who can live on their own. If you do not have children; hire a housekeeper.
Select only certain times of the day when you will check email, Twitter and your other forms of communication; during all other times, turn them off. You are in control of your communication. It can be a distraction. If you have work to do, tweeting, emailing, phone calls and the like will distract you. It can take up to 20 minutes after an interruption for you to get back to the same level of productivity you were prior.
Take a Break
We are more productive if we take a break about every two hours. Get up, walk around, get a drink of water to rehydrate ourselves and then come back to work. A short 15 minutes or so may be all that is needed to refresh you. You’ll find you will feel better and you will get more done.
Get Some Sleep
There have been countless studies showing that most people do not get enough sleep. Yet ideally we need eight hours sleep each night. Our minds will be clearer, our thought processes sharper and we will feel better if we get the much needed sleep. I may joke about those ‘wasted hours sleeping’, but in truth – they are not a waste, they are necessary. I personally need 8-9 hours sleep each night to be at my best. I get that much too, because I want to live each day to the fullest, squeezing out all that I can with the time I have.
If you follow the above tips, you will find success in managing your time, instead of your time managing you.