The importance of good time management cannot be over emphasized in today’s fast paced world. Time is the one resource that everybody has the same amount of, however some people seem to get a lot more done within the same 24 hours than the average person. As expected, these time efficient people go on to achieve more in their lifetime. Our success in life and business is directly linked to how we spend our time and our proficiency at using time effectively. Poor time management not only impacts our productivity, but it can cause stress and adversely affect our relationships. Don’t despair if you struggle to manage your time. Time management is a skill that can be taught and learnt. Take the first step by trying the tips below.
Here are my 3 quick and easy tips for improved time management.
1- Are you being productive or just busy? My number one tip is simply to pause in the middle of any task and ask yourself; What important task am I avoiding by doing this? If we are honest with ourselves, these simple question will cause us to rethink what our prioritises are for the day. For example, are you rampantly attending meetings, tidying your office or colour coding your spreadsheet when you could be out there winning more clients or completing jobs for clients in your pipeline? Meetings can be a way of being busy without actually doing much. What activities are you hiding behind in your business? What are your time wasters? Identify your time wasting activities and commit to reducing them.
2 – Avoid interruptions of any form. Avoiding interruptions will direct your focus towards the completion of business critical tasks. I normally do this by shutting myself off from emails, telephone and people for periods at a time to enable me meet my business deadlines. A “DO NOT DISTURB” sign is useful if you work in a busy environment because it wards off casual visitors. Interruptions break your concentration and cause you to restart losing critical time. Of cause we must have a process of dealing with emergencies when using these tactics because we do not want major issues developing whilst we are shut off.
3- Batch together as many similar activities as possible. This tip is for the person who visits the post office, bank, super market etc 3 or more days a week. You should aim to post your mail etc once or twice each week (the aim being to reduce the frequency). Check and reply to emails at each sitting if possible rather than responding to these innocent looking disruptions all day. Other activities that can be batched together are banking, admin tasks, meeting, telephone calls and purchasing. Phone calls are not always urgent and can be directed to voicemail if you have no receptionist. Meetings should be done remotely or batched together if possible to reduce the time lost to commuting.
Review your schedule and be ruthless about eliminating your time wasters. I hope you found these tips useful. Please share your time saving tips and let me know if any of these were helpful.