The one commodity you can never get back is time, and boy does it fly! It almost seems as though the older you get, the faster it moves. It seems like just yesterday your first boss was handing out management tips like Halloween candy.
In business, time is money. That’s why it’s vital to learn how to manage your time efficiently, not just for your bottom line but for true happiness and satisfaction.
After all, what’s the point of having your own business if you can’t reap all the rewards of—you guessed it—more time?
By enhancing your productivity in the office, you will not only grow faster as a business, making more money with less effort, you’ll also find more precious time to do the things you love to do outside of your business. Quality of life is what it’s all about!
What is Time Management?
Time management is simply the methodology you use to prioritize tasks and activities so that you can get the most done with the least amount of time wasted. It’s all about working smarter rather than harder, and it starts with learning how to juggle your priorities with skill instead of stress.
There are lots of ways to do this, and some methods work better than others. Time management is highly individualized, which means you need to establish processes that work for YOU. Below are some great tips to help you get started.
Create a Brain Dump
Really, take out a piece of paper and write down every single thing in your brain that comes to mind, even if it’s not specifically related to your business. Having ideas or “things to do” floating around in your mind, even subconsciously, can be distracting and draining.
Writing these things down is like mentally reassuring your brain it can focus on other stuff, and you won’t forget anything important. You’ll be amazed at how mentally liberating it is to write every thought in your head down on paper. Then you can review it and start plucking out biz tasks you need to focus on for the day.
Prioritize Literally Everything
Once you start plucking out those tasks you need to get done, you can begin to prioritize them in order of importance. A simple way to do this is to remember your ABCs. Create a list with A tasks, B tasks, and C tasks.
- A tasks—vital and time-sensitive. You cannot NOT do these today.
- B tasks—important but may not be time-sensitive.
- C tasks—these would be tasks you’d like to get done, but no harm, no foul if you don’t.
- Someday, tasks—self-explanatory, but these would be tasks or ideas you’d love to get to or implement “someday.”
Delegate and/or Eliminate
You could even take it a step further and create an additional list with tasks you can delegate or eliminate altogether. There’s no right or wrong way to prioritize, just do it in a way that works for you and doesn’t have the opposite effect of making you feel overwhelmed.
Some people thrive on seeing a ton of tasks on their list ready to be checked off. Others feel intimidated and would rather create a shortlist of 3-4 necessary tasks for the day and chalk everything else up as okay to rollover if need be. You do you, as long as it’s working!
Everything Important First
Focus on your A and B list when you first start the day. Morning is typically when you’re the freshest, your brain is operating at full capacity, and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate as you tackle all of the biggies on your plate first.
Multitasking is actually a brain-drain, and it won’t serve your goals. It’s much more efficient to focus on one thing at a time until it’s completed, then move on to the next. The bonus is getting to check things off as “done” much faster, which is like a little mental reward to your brain.
Of course, these low-level items you learned early on in your executive career aren't an exhaustive list, but it’s a great place to restart. It’s also important to do things like keeping your workspace clutter-free, minimize distractions, scheduling breaks, and identify and eliminate any habits holding you back.
Essentially anything and everything you can do that helps streamline your daily processes and doesn’t hinder them are great to help you manage your time more efficiently and work smarter, not harder.
Remember, satisfaction in life is all about the quality of your time. Take less time to do what you have to do, so you can have more time to do what you want to do!