Over the past year, I have made a strong effort to work on my time management skills. The effort began when I realized how much time I had been losing from disorganization. When you are busy, an hour is a lot of time!
An hour is a yoga class, family time, or even extra sleep! I am sure that I am not the only one that could use an extra hour to their day.
As a business owner, time management has been one of my most valuable skills to improve. If you want to put an extra hour in your day then consider trying these few steps:
Step 1: Find Your Purpose
The first step to mastering time management is to find your purpose. What would you do with an extra hour?
My purpose is not the same every day. Nevertheless, these are a few of my top purposes:
- Go to a yoga class
- Read a book
- Mountain bike ride
- Spend time with the family or friends
- Watch the new episode of Breaking Bad
Finding your purpose is the motivation to developing time management skills. Don’t skip this important step! After you find your purpose schedule it into your calendar. Make it an important part of your day.
Step 2: Decipher Urgent Versus Important Tasks
Many of us have a long list of 10 minute tasks to complete every day. Distinguishing your tasks between “urgent” and “important” can help you prioritize your workload.
First let me give you the definition of “urgent” and “important”:
- “Urgent” tasks demand your attention but do not have serious consequences if they are not done immediately.
- “Important” tasks demand your attention immediately and could have serious consequences if they are not completed.
For example, an important task could be returning a potential client phone call. If you do not return the phone call immediately, you could lose the client to a competitor. An urgent task could be going grocery shopping. Unless you have a starving teenager, it can wait!
Review your task list and determine which are urgent or important. Get the important tasks out of the way first!
Step 3: Create a Schedule
Google Calendars is a blessing. I program my life in Google Calendar. If you do not have a daily planner then I recommend using Google Calendar. You can program tasks to the minute with lengthy descriptions on location, details, and attendees. The calendar can then be synced to your smartphone with alerts.
After you determine what tasks are urgent versus important, schedule them into your planner. Schedule the important tasks first. After determining the important tasks, add the urgent tasks and your purpose. The more you stick to your schedule, you will find out what works best for you. I am most productive in the morning. I need to get my work done first before I can do my purpose.
On the other hand, I know other business owners that work best at night. What works best for one person might not work best for you.
- Keep tidy
A messy workspace can be very distracting. Keeping your workspace tidy can help you work more productively.
- Don’t procrastinate
Procrastination –we all do it! Unfortunately, procrastinated work can be sloppy and incomplete. Schedule out your tasks in advance to avoid procrastination.
- Minimize your multitasking
Sometimes our only option is to simultaneously juggle as many tasks as possible. By concentrating on one task at a time you can create better work.
Find a way to keep your stress level down! I try to do yoga four times a week. Keeping your stress level down will help you juggle difficult tasks.
Improving my time management skills has been one of the best things that I have done for myself professionally. I am able to get better work done quicker. If you are trying to improve your work performance then you might want to start by evaluating your everyday work life.
When are you most efficient?
Do you habitually multitask?
Can you cut your Facebook time?
Better time management can leave you time to do the things that you love.