How To Manage Your Time Better
As a business owner (or even just a human being), time is one of your most valuable resources and these days, there never seems to be enough of it. You're very busy, struggling to fit your everyday duties, meetings and more into a seemingly crowded scheduled. And just when you think you're winning the battle, a traffic jam sets you back by a couple of hours. *sigh*
This is an intervention.
We're saving the day with a mix of tips and free apps to help you do more and sleep soundly knowing that you give your best every 24 hours.
1. Make to-do lists and schedule everything.
Seriously, planning every day is the first step to managing your time better. Make a to-do list and assign a time slot for each task, that way you'll be able to account for how you spent your day. Even fun activities like family time and breaks need their own slots otherwise they'll eat into time meant for other things.
Recommended apps: There's nothing like a good old notebook for documenting what needs to be done, but complementary free apps like Wunderlist (Android, iOS), Google Calendar (Android, iOS) and Todoist (Android, iOS) will help keep you on track.
2. Get your priorities straight.
Logically, the most important and urgent tasks of your day should come first so you can do them while you still have energy and you're at your sharpest, not after you've been in a draining two-hour meeting with an auditor. And while we're on the subject of meetings, never go into one without having an agenda and a goal that must be met. A meeting without a clear objective can easily turn out to be a huge waste of time.
3. If it can be done today, do it.
Procrastination is not your friend, it is the bane of your existence. Pushing things forward just because you don't feel like doing them at the moment will clog your schedule in the future. Free up time tomorrow by getting your tasks for today done today.
4. Be a finisher.
Are you surrounded by half-done projects with nothing to show for the time and effort you've put in? That's because you've been a starter instead of being a finisher. Complete one task before moving to another, please. It saves time and gives you a sense of achievement that can motivate you to take on your next task.
Recommended app: If you like games, you should try Habitica (Android, iOS). It turns your tasks into 'enemies' you must overcome and rewards you for victories. Even more, you can compete with other people. An interesting way to stay motivated.
5. Mute the distractions.
Listen, the world has never been more distracting. From social media to flashing ads, several things are competing for your attention at any given moment. And let's not talk about the phone calls, emails and messages that interrupt your workflow without any regard. Yes, it's frustrating, but you can take control.
Begin by turning off notifications from certain apps (you know the bothersome ones) on your phone right now. If it's not absolutely urgent and important, it can wait. No one will die.
Next, stop replying every email or message the moment it comes in. The same with phone calls: you can choose not to pick up immediately and call back later. Focus on your current task, finish it and catch up with people afterward. It's commonsense.
Recommended app: Boomerang is a fantastic app for snoozing emails in Gmail and Outlook so you can deal with them later instead of dropping everything to reply.
Side note: Get good sleep every night so your work doesn't suffer the next day. Sleep deprivation will have a serious negative effect on your performance and eventually, on your health. It will make you irritable, distracted and uncoordinated. Learn more about the power of rest here.
6. Stop trying to do everything.
Many entrepreneurs try to take on many duties, juggling roles ineffectively and overworking themselves in the process. That's unsustainable. Being a leader doesn't mean you should take on every responsibility. Hire a personal assistant to help you with minor tasks. Learn how to delegate. It's an efficient way to get things done, help your staff grow and save your life at the same time.
Are you a time management guru? Share a tip with us, please. You can post it in the comments section below or send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance.