5 Time Management Tips To Master Right Now
Are you burning the candle at both ends?
Most business owners are exhausted and discouraged. They don’t have enough time in a day and work harder than ever. They are barely keeping their head above water and getting everything done.
Life is too short not to be doing the stuff that matters.
These five time management tips will help you manage your time better.
1. Prioritize your Time
In Steven Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he talks about the four quadrants of effective time management.
I find that business owners will work in the not-important or not-urgent areas. They may also be so busy firefighting, so they’re always in the urgent area.
Quadrant 1 - Necessity
What are the Important AND Urgent tasks that need to be accomplished?
These are tasks that you must take action on. It’s important to ask yourself, “Am I doing this because it is essential, or am I doing this because it is simply urgent?”
If it truly is an emergency, you don’t want to ignore it. But the more you spend in Quadrant 2, the fewer emergencies you’ll have in Quadrant 1.
Quadrant 2 - Effectiveness
Quadrant 2 is all about effectiveness. It’s for planning, prevention, and improvement. Most of these tasks should be scheduled in advance.
I’m a big fan of time blocking for business development, employee performance reviews, and other big rocks. If it’s not on the calendar, it won’t get done.
Recently, our son relocated back from Minneapolis. This was important and had some urgency; however, we could schedule time in advance to support him.
Our other son was promoted to major in the army. It was important to us to attend his ceremony. We were able to plan our schedules to attend that event.
Quadrant 3 - Distractions
Quadrant 3 is for distractions and interruptions. These could be unimportant emails, tasks, or phone calls.
I often use the Do Not Disturb feature because I want to pay close attention to important tasks and avoid distractions.
Quadrant 4 - Waste
The last quadrant is for not important and not urgent tasks. These are time wasters such as social media, online games, texting, and other unproductive activities. Even meetings can be unproductive.
2. Track how you spend your time
One of the first things I do with new clients is to have them track their time. They create a word document with the hours they work in 30-minute blocks.
Here’s how to do it:
Track the disruptions, distractions, and everything you do for 1-2 weeks.
Every 30 minutes, document what you’ve worked on for the last block.
At the end of the day, assign a quadrant to each task you completed.
For most, this is a huge light bulb moment because they can start understanding how they are spending their time.
As a business owner, knowing what you are good at and delegating the rest is essential.
I know marketing is not my forte. So I outsource my marketing to focus on business development and supporting my clients. Delegation isn’t easy. But if you want to turn your business into a revenue-producing asset, you must master the skill of delegation. After you’ve tracked your time for a few weeks, you’ll be able to more quickly identify the tasks you need to assign to someone else.
4. Find Staff
Have you ever considered that you may have to fill staff gaps? It may be challenging in today’s environment, but it can be done.
I work with my clients on their Employee Acquisition Plan, so they don’t struggle to find team members to cover the tasks you just decided to delegate.
5. Use a Default Calendar
There are many ways to calendar - digital, paper, whiteboard, etc. Whatever works best for you is the one you should use. If it’s in the calendar, it gets done because it shows you what to do each hour of the day.
Block out the most critical things on your schedule. If you have heavy tasks, block those in the morning when you are most productive. Book time on your calendar for yourself to hold yourself accountable and achieve lasting success.
Time management is not difficult, but you either manage your time or it manages you.
TL;DR: Life is short. Do the stuff that matters.
If you need support with your time management, let’s work on it together.