No matter how many time management tips I discover, I still get excited when I find more, because, as far as I’m concerned, there’s NEVER enough time! There are just not enough hours in a day to accomplish what I want to accomplish! And I’ve tried the ol’ “pull an all-nighter” thing…sure doesn’t work like it used to!
So I came across an article from Entrepreneur called “10 Time Management Tips that Work”. I figured there were only 10 of them, so it wasn’t too overwhelming, and hey, if they worked…
1. Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going. You’ll see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions.
Really? Has anyone else ever done this? My automatic thought is that I would waste more time logging what I was doing than actually doing anything! I scratched this one off the list real quick,
2. Any activity or conversation that’s important to your success should have a time assigned to it. To-do lists get longer and longer to the point where they’re unworkable. Appointment books work. Schedule appointments with yourself and create time blocks for high-priority thoughts, conversations, and actions. Schedule when they will begin and end. Have the discipline to keep these appointments.
This I totally agree with, and I do this all the time. I schedule days to stay home and do nothing – I call them “The Day of Nothing”. My husband gets a real kick out of this, because he says he’s never seen me do nothing, and he doesn’t think it will ever happen. His nothing is different than mine, so he may just be right. But I am a HUGE proponent of scheduling planning time and “me” time and “nothing” time. I highly recommend this one.
3. Plan to spend at least 50 percent of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce most of your results.
This is interesting. If I knew the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce most of my results, I might arrange my time likewise. How does one discover these things? (Probably by utilizing the first tip…and we all know how I feel about that…)
4. Schedule time for interruptions. Plan time to be pulled away from what you’re doing. Take, for instance, the concept of having “office hours.” Isn’t “office hours” another way of saying “planned interruptions?”
I don’t necessarily schedule time for interruptions, but I certainly allow time for interruptions. If I think I can finish a project in 30 minutes, I give myself 45, just in case.
5. Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don’t start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time.
This is great advice, as well! The only days I do not do this are Saturdays and Sundays. I DO feel that I function much better during the week if I have a plan in place.
6. Take five minutes before every call and task to decide what result you want to attain. This will help you know what success looks like before you start. And it will also slow time down. Take five minutes after each call and activity to determine whether your desired result was achieved. If not, what was missing? How do you put what’s missing in your next call or activity?
If you make lots of calls and you want to be more efficient with them, then this is a good idea. If there are activities you are striving to receive results from, this would be a neat exercise, as well.
7. Put up a “Do not disturb” sign when you absolutely have to get work done.
YES YES YES. I do this frequently, as well. Now, some of you may not be able to do so. For instance, if you’re a mom of tiny ones, this might prove difficult. However, taking some “do not disturb” time for yourself when you have someone else who can watch them would be a great idea. When my sister and I were a little older, my mom would tell us: “Don’t come bother me unless there’s blood or throw-up.” She was never “hiding” for long, but she just needed some “do not disturb” time. And my sister and I survived through it, no worries!
8. Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing and e-mails just because they show up. Disconnect instant messaging. Don’t instantly give people your attention unless it’s absolutely crucial in your business to offer an immediate human response. Instead, schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls.
Again, if you have a crying baby, you’ll obviously have to give your immediate attention! But if you’re making great head-way on a particular organizational project, and someone sends you a text message, generally you don’t HAVE to answer it right then! When you can focus your attention on something without being distracted by other things, you’ll accomplish much! (This is very hard for multi-taskers, like myself, to do! Something to work on!)
9. Block out other distractions like Facebook and other forms of social media unless you use these tools to generate business.
It’s very easy to be distracted by these things. You decide to log onto the computer to finish a chore chart, and the next thing you know you’ve been scrolling through Pinterest for 30 minutes. Save these “fun” distractions as a reward for yourself when you accomplish a task!
10. Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done. Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results.
I despise the fact that it’s impossible to get everything done, but I sure do tolerate it much more than I used to! I’m still a work in progress on that one, though! As for the odds on thoughts and activities, I would be interested to know how accurate that is. What do you think?
If you’d like to see the entire article, you can find it HERE.
What is your BEST time management tip?