One of the most challenging issues I’ve faced in my years in business is making the most of my time. I used to find myself working what felt like 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and it felt like I hardly accomplished anything. No matter how many hours I worked, I was still having to rush to get something done at the last minute — to put it simply, I was not getting the most out of my time.
I would spend hours sitting at my computer with a million ideas running through my head, and I would try to do them all at once. I would have 5 or 6 separate tabs open in my browser, and 3 applications open. I would start doing one thing then my email inbox would ping so I would have to go and check email, then I would get side tracked and start something else. Before I knew it, the day had gone it was midnight and I had nothing to show for all my time spent! I would feel so frustrated that I wasn’t getting anything done and my business wasn’t moving forward. It was only in one of these moments of utter frustration that I knew I had to make some serious changes to the way I managed my time if I wanted my business to grow.
Once I started getting a handle on my time, my business started to flourish!
I’m so enthused by how much these tips have helped me, that I want to share them with you. And the best part is, they’re actually quite simple. It just takes a commitment to making them stick, to using your time to make the most of your business and your life.
Ready to get started? Here are my six strategies for taming the time beast and finally conquering your goals, within the 24 hours every one of us has to work with each day.
1. Identify where you make money
The first thing you need to do is sit down and identify where you make money. You can do this by asking yourself some simple questions:
- How does my business make money?
- Where do my customers/clients come from?
- Where can I spend my time in my business to maximize my profits?
This is a crucial step in starting to plan your time!
2. Develop a daily plan
Every morning, once I have dropped off my children at school, I sit down and write out my plan for the day. It doesn’t take long; I just jot down the few key tasks that I know I need to concentrate on today. And I prioritize the tasks according to how these activities support my money-making efforts (see Step 1).
It’s important to be realistic with this list; don’t put 25 items on that list if you only have 4 hours to spend on your business — unless they are only going to take you a couple of minutes each you won’t get it done, and worse, you’ll feel frustrated that once again you have not completed your tasks. Go easy, and don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself!
3. Set clear time limits
When I create my daily plan, I also set time limits for each task. Again, getting a firm grip on my business priorities guides how I do this — I always ensure that I am spending the biggest chunk of my time in the areas that will actually make me money. If I spend the majority of my time focused on tasks that don’t produce income and then only 10 minutes in the area that is making me money, inevitably I’ll be hurting my income potential. Set aside only 20 minutes for emails, 15 minutes for social media and so on; grab a timer and get working!
4. Break it down
Some tasks can be incredibly time-consuming, and might seem overwhelming if you did it all at once. A good rule to ask yourself is, “Is this something I have to complete today? Or can I break it down into smaller tasks and do a bit every day until it’s done?”
For example, if I wanted to create a new website for my business, it would take me 1 full day and half of another if I wanted to do it all at once, and I can’t afford to set aside nearly 2 full days without doing anything else in my life! Instead, I put an hour aside each day to work on the website. Yes, it took me slightly longer but I still completed it and I didn’t compromise any other work that I needed to do, either.
5. Don’t multitask!
I know as women we love to say how great we are at multitasking and yes, around the home I can load the dishwasher, cook dinner, and catch up with my husband all at the same time! But — I would never attempt to multitask when it comes to my businesses and neither should you! When I started my first business, I constantly tried to multitask and it was awful, then the situation only got worse when I launched my second business. I would sit there trying to do everything at once with so many things running through my head and really it got me nowhere!
One of the first things I did when I realized I needed to make a major change to the way I managed my time was to stop trying to do everything at once! No longer would I try to answer emails while talking on the phone and writing a sales page all the while having a million ideas buzzing around my head at the same time! Instead, I stopped and actually concentrated on only one. thing. at. a. time. Not only was I suddenly getting things done, but my business started moving forward and I had a clear mind!
6. Keep track of your ideas
In the throes of my multitasking frenzy, I would have so many ideas running through my head, but I never got around to writing any of them down. So when I actually had some “down time” to think about those ideas, I would have completely forgotten what they were!
Now, when I think of an idea for a new program or webinar or whatever the idea might be, I make a note of it on my computer at the time I think of it. This way, the ideas are out of my head and tucked safely away where I can access them — when I am ready — at the click of a mouse. This step alone has saved me countless hours of trying to recall a great idea and it’s helped me to generate some exciting new business plans for myself!
Now I want to hear from you:
In the comments below, let me know what you think of my strategies. Do you already do any of these yourself? I’d love to also hear your best tips for time management.