What is time management really?
Websters defines time management as effectively using the minutes, hours, and days available to you in order to best accomplish your goals in the most effective way. But how many people actually plan their time for the day to achieve this goal? Not nearly enough. What is time management for you? If you are like most entrepreneurs, it is just trying to get to the 100+ near impossible tasks facing us every day! But by adopting a few effective behaviors, you can turn things around.
How are you managing your time?
Can relate maybe a little too well to the image above? It is 7 pm and you feel like you have gotten nothing accomplished all day? I know for me there was a time when that was so true. I would get up with a “plan” every day, but because I wasn’t blocking time out for specific tasks I was like a little jumping bean just reacting to things, getting distracted, and going from one this to another without completing any one single thing to my satisfaction. So then I would get stuck, frustrated, and discouraged.
UNTIL…I started actually using a planner to physically plan my day down to the half-hour all day long. But it isn’t that simple. Writing things down doesn’t stop you from getting distracted and feeling like a….
Creating good time management behavior
We all know that creating a habit takes repeating the same task day after day, week after week, for at least a month. So I have designed a planner that you can grab for free here that is designed to help you build those good habits.
But it isn’t only about planning for your day. Like I just mentioned above, that doesn’t stop you from getting distracted or keeping you on task. That comes by understanding where and how you get distracted. Is it when the kids get up? When hubby gets home from work? When you get hungry?
But the biggest place it goes off of the rails is by not time blocking! Time blocking is when you say “Ok, I’m going to schedule social media posts for the next hour.” and you look up and you have been at it for five hours!
Learning to effectively time block
So first, you have to plan. I find I am most productive when I have a goal for the month. That doesn’t mean I can’t add other tasks to my day, but by the end of the month, I should have achieved that goal. So take time to define your primary goal for the month, and then plan your month, then weeks, then plan one day at a time.
Allocate time for meals so you are taking regular breaks. Also, have a hard shut-down time. Walk away during that time. If you are like me and like to power back up for a few hours when the house is quiet, try to make it no more than an hour or two at most.
When you start for the day, set an alarm for your first time block. So if I scheduled website work for an hour, I set an alarm for one hour from my start time. When the alarm goes off, I let myself snooze for no more than five minutes. DON’T turn the alarm off and keep working! That five minutes is enough time to finish a thought and save. Then you stop and do the same thing for your next task/time block.
Like when trying to change any of our normal routines you have to work at it to make it work for you. So these are a few tips that help:
- Set an alarm to wake up in the morning and start your day
- Don’t work through or skip meals
- Don’t stress about not finishing the list, add it to the next day
- If you get tired, take a break
- Stick to your time blocks!
Identify your obstacles
Finally, the quickest way to change behavior is to become aware of it. So the last thing is to journal each morning about your productivity the previous day.
The planner linked above has a journal with prompts to guide you through it. But basically, acknowledge what you did well the day before, what could have been better, and identify what your obstacles or distractions were. Once you start identifying your obstacles or distractions, you can begin to try to plan around them so that you are as productive as possible.
Just by doing this exercise, you will become more aware of your own behaviors and be able to better navigate your day.
For more business help and an awesome coaching community be sure to get on our waiting list
Leave any questions or comments you have in the comments below.