Time Management… Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock

If you often finish your work day feeling that you haven’t accomplished anything then this article may be

If you often finish your work day feeling that you haven’t accomplished anything then this article may be of great interest to you because more than likely the problem you’re facing is simply poor Time-Management skills.

Our lives are in general pretty hectic and it seems that 24 hours is not enough time to fit everything in but hey, all the big names have the same amount of time as the rest of us and they have built empires so it is possible to make the most of the 24 hours we’ve been given but only if we use them wisely.

Running after yourself all day like a dog chasing its own tail is not going to generate business for you and is not productive at all so if you value your time you must first sit down and work through the following tips to excellent time-management and you’ll find that you get so much more done and in a shorter space of time.

1.- What Am I Normally Doing?:
Over a period of a working week for example, jot down at 15 or 20 minute intervals what you have done. Look over your notes at the end of the week and I’m sure you’ll be surprised at the amount of time you are actually wasting. You may assign a bulk of your time to non-essential tasks, constant email checking etc. Once you’ve established your bad habits you will be able to control them and better use the time you have now gained. As a business owner, time = money so the more time you free up from these lesser important tasks, the more time you will have to actually further your business.

2.- The Art of Prioritization:
Not all tasks that need to be done deserve immediate attention. Look over the jobs that must be completed and determine which ones have to be taken care of as soon as possible and which ones can perhaps be done towards the end of the day or even towards the end of the week.

3.- Daily Planning:
Take the time to plan your day. I know that unexpected issues will arise but if you’ve already mapped out the bulk of your day, you will find that the unexpected will not necessarily throw off your whole day and you will be able to allot time to resolve whatever problem has arisen. It isn’t a good idea to mix your personal diary with your business diary; some people use a diary and pen whereas others prefer electronic agendas or similar software to manage their time. That’s personal preference but I would recommend that you find a system that suits you and that you stick to it. For example, you can use online software such as Google Tasks, HiTaskRemember the Milk to get organized by means of reminders. Make a list of the tasks you are to do during the day and set a reasonable amount of time to complete each one, perhaps breaking certain ones down over a few days. Don’t go overboard with the number of tasks you assign yourself otherwise will only become overwhelmed which completely defeats the object of time-management. A key point here is to find out at what time of the day you are most productive. Some are early morning people and others are night owls, which are you?

4.- No Distractions:
Hopefully after completing point one on this list you will have picked up on the ways in which you waste a lot of time during your work day. If you work from a home office, distractionsunfortunately are all over the place; the TV, the laundry, going in and out of the kitchen, unexpected visitors, personal email and social networking sites like Facebook, constant email checking etc cut into your time and stop you from actually getting your work done. It is vital you avoid unnecessary interruptions and distractions. Work as if you were at a regular office and assign yourself coffee breaks or work other tasks into your schedule in a way that they don’t take away from it. Tell your friends that even though you are at home, you are running your business so social calls should be kept to a minimum or they should know when it is convenient for them to pop by for a coffee (ideally on one of your assigned coffee breaks!). Get rid of distracting clutter from your workspace and close yourself off from whatever housework needs to be done as this can be taken care of at another more appropriate time.

By exercising good time-management, you can go from this...

By exercising good time-management, you can go from this…

Some of us have picked up on an extremely bad habit and constantly check our email, Facebook and Twitter accounts and the like. Take a tip from one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, Richard Branson: “You must manage your Blackberry; do not let it manage you! Many executives check their smartphones throughout meetings and during their off-hours. This is not good for one’s concentration, and has a negative impact on decision making. Use it only in bursts: check e-mails for an hour or so and then put it away, so that you can focus on the task at hand”. There you go, this is sound advice that will let you focus on whatever tasks you should be completing

...to this

…to this

instead of allowing yourself to be distracted by other issues.

5.- There Is No Shame In Delegating:
If you have employees, you can delegate some of your daily tasks that may not necessarily need your direct input. There is no shame in that because at the end of the day as a business-owner there are more pressing issues for you to manage and wanting to take care of ever single menial task will only detract from that. Learn to say NO to matters that do not require your personal or perhaps not your immediate attention.

Hopefully these pointers will guide you to better time-management skills allowing you to become more efficient each day and make a real difference to your business if you put them in practice. If you haven’t done so already, read a previous post of mine “Business Goals” for more tips on how to set a clear path for business success and definitely check out my Victory “V-Store” Store and download my FREE e-Book Optimize Your Time: Effective Time-Management in a Fast Paced World. Yeah, you read that right, this e-Book is for free! There is nothing more satisfying than crossing off a job well done!

About Sabrina L. Williams

Although I was born in the UK, I moved to the Canary Islands, Spain at a young age and I haven't looked back. The Canaries is a fantastic place to live, I mean you can do all types of outdoor activities practically all year round because of the great weather. Horses are my poison but the islands are also a superb spot for water sports so they do attract a lot of attention from people around the world. Anyway, enough about that. Back in 2011, I made one of the biggest, scariest yet best decisions I'd ever made and set-up my own business in the middle of a recession. I love what I do as no two days are the same, plus Spanish law keeps me on my toes as it is constantly changing (often without warning!) so there is always something new to learn. As I've branched out in the world of Administrative Consultancy, I decided to create a blog to discuss topics of interest to others in my industry and my clients, share tips and experiences, to see what new ideas people have for improving their businesses and the like so I hope you'll find the time to join me on this venture...

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