Time conscious business owners know that good time management starts days and months in advance. All the time management books, classes, day planners, and notepads won’t get the job done. A well planned, and implemented, time management strategies system will.
Time Management 101
To begin, keep the gadgets to a minimum. They might help, but they are only as effective as your follow through is. Aside from a time management checklist, I find that a desktop calendar and to do list are my only must have gadgets I need to get the job done.
Time Management Strategies
- Create a to do list – an online, desktop, or simple paper and pen to do list
- Assign the activity a due date.
- Any activity must be added to your calendar and project management software. When I get a project, it’s immediately added with a due date to my desktop calendar where I will see it for up to two days in advance of the due date.
- Priorities are a must. When you fail to prioritize, unimportant tasks can be given precedence over important tasks, which is never a good thing.
- Assign each activity a time priority. If two tasks are of equal importance, care for them in the order assigned.
- Understand that priority doesn’t mean that you overlook other tasks. It’s simply the order in which each assignment must be done. If a client gave you a listing coordination project, they would want that cared for before your wrote their blog post.
- Email needs to be dealt with, but only at assigned times. If you check your email every ½ hour, you will waste too much time. For those who might have urgent tasks, give them your cell number to text you or use Skype. As I write this, I just received a text message asking if I would be available in 15 minutes.
- Systems must be implemented. It’s not enough to create an amazing time management checklist. To be effective, it must be implemented.
- Resist the urge to overschedule. This is the quickest way to frustration.
- Plan time for interruptions. Yes, there will be unexpected interruptions. Plan for them in your day.
- Schedule routine tasks. It’s never a good idea to leave Thursday’s tasks to memory. You might forget something that, though small, is crucial to a smoothly running business.
- Declutter your workspace. Much time is wasted sifting through papers looking for something that you need.
- Review systems regularly. When you schedule a time to review systems and do this regularly, you will find ways to create more time by removing unnecessary tasks or steps.
- Create two planners: a daily or weekly planner and a monthly planner for tasks that must be done regularly.
Time management doesn’t need to be overwhelming. If done regularly, it’s a simple solution to a big problem. Time management strategies work to bring your productivity to a level you never dreamed of.