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  • Dean Van Dyke

4 Of The Best Time Management Tips Ever

Have you ever heard the phrase, “If you don’t manage your time, your time will manage you”?

Do you ever feel like you are on a hamster wheel, just constantly running and running?

Or maybe you are juggling too many things and struggling to prioritize your time.

Or even trying to figure out what to delegate.

You are not alone.

These are all everyday struggles of business owners related to time management.

Why Time Management Matters

Time management is an essential part of achieving success. Being able to manage your time well can have a positive impact on almost every aspect of life.

Good time management skills can increase productivity, improve focus, and achieve more.

Steven Covey talks about time management in the form of big rocks. He had someone from the audience list the crucial things in life and label them on big rocks: family, church, vacation, learning, etc. Then, he filled a clear bucket with tons of little rocks (which is symbolic of all the tasks and action items that get in the way). He asked her to fit the big rocks in the bucket with all the little rocks.

It was nearly impossible.

Then he had her put the big rocks in the bucket first, then dump them in the smaller rocks.

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule; instead, schedule your priorities.

Time Management Errors

Scattered tasks

Where are you keeping track of the tasks you need to complete? Sometimes we forget what we have to get done because we have so many lists of things to do.

I recommend my clients keep a notebook (physical or on their phone) or use voice notes to keep track of tasks that pop into their head.

Then, when you do your weekly planning, assign those tasks a time to be completed within your planner - whether paper or digital. I use Trello, so I always have a running list of projects and actions.

Miscalculating time needed to complete tasks

Often business owners need to pay more attention to how long tasks on their to-do lists will take. When you recognize that the time is longer or shorter than planned, it will help you develop a strategy to tackle tasks in the future.

External Factors

External factors often disrupt your time.

Health problems (especially in the winter!) can limit your energy. Or you had a life event that impacted the time you had to focus on your to-do list.

Unrealistic Workloads

It’s not uncommon to have unrealistic workloads, especially in the corporate world. As companies downsize, they add more and more work to the folks that remain behind. It creates more challenges for those employees.

Psychological Obstacles

Lastly, some psychological obstacles get in the way of time management. This is often attributed to unclear goals and priorities.

“Consider the chaos” is one of my favorite phrases. People think they work well in chaos, but they’ve trained themselves to do so.

There are many ways to manage your time, but these are my favorites.

1. Time Blocking

Time blocking is a powerful technique for improving productivity. It involves scheduling specific chunks of time dedicated to certain activities. This can help you stay organized and focused on the task rather than getting sidetracked by distractions. With time blocking, you can ensure you're getting the most out of your day and efficiently meeting your goals. Plus, it makes it easier to stay accountable and on track toward achieving success.

Elon Musk measures time in 15-minute marks on his calendar. Some people chunk their days into 90-minute blocks. Whatever block of time works best for you is the right amount.

2. Time Management Matrix

Time management boils down to this: What results matter to you most? And what activities produce those results? Whether you use a paper or electronic calendar, it’s crucial to figure out when you focus the best. That’s when you want to schedule your more important tasks.

All of my clients create a Skill Fun Box. This enables them to understand what activities they are doing daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly that could be delegated. The tasks you focus on should require a high skill level but have a high level of enjoyment too.

When you decide not to delegate something, what are you saying no to? I talk with my clients often about this principle because if you say YES to one task, you are saying NO to another. It should make you pause and think about what you are really saying YES to.

Steven Covey’s Time Management Matrix is designed to increase productivity and enhance success. It’s been labeled as one of the best time-management techniques and decision-making frameworks in business. It will help you determine what matters most.

All of your tasks will fall into one of the four quadrants:

  1. Urgent & Important: projects to be completed ASAP

  2. Not Urgent & Important: projects to be scheduled

  3. Urgent & Unimportant: projects to be delegated

  4. Not Urgent & Unimportant: projects to be deleted

3. Set Boundaries

Boundaries are essential for time management. There are a few ways these can help you be productive.

Office Hours

Do you want to be available after 5 pm? Turn off notifications on your email and phone. If you respond to people late at night, they’ll think you are available.

Do Not Disturb Mode

Do Not Disturb Mode is a great way to focus and be productive. It will block distractions while you work by silencing incoming notifications and calls. With this feature, you won’t have to worry about being interrupted in the middle of important tasks.

Peter Drucker said, “If there is any one secret to effectiveness, it’s concentration.”

4. Track disruptions

Monitoring distractions is a powerful tool for staying productive – it allows you to gain control over your environment and make sure that you’re getting the most out of every day.

I have my clients track their distractions. This can be instrumental in maintaining an optimal level of productivity. Not only will this improve your ability to stay on task, but it can also help you avoid time-wasting activities.

When you sit down to do a task, every time something distracts you, make a tick mark on a PostIt. You will be surprised how many times you get distracted in a day.

We all have days where our time management skills could be better, but using these four techniques can get you back on track to optimal productivity.

If you need support with your time management, I can help. Sign up for a complimentary 60-minute coaching session here.

Listen to the full podcast episode here.

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