For business owners and entrepreneurs, time can seem limited when you have so much to accomplish in a day. Looking at various Post-it sticky notes all on the desk, computer, walls, or the desk calendar seeing in bold – appointments from 9-5, reports to run, conference calls to attend…the list just goes on and on. This is very common, for many of us, and can cause a level of frustration that is unexplainable. For some, time management is a breeze because it comes naturally to them, but for others…not so much. For those of you who struggle, here are 5 key ways to improve the way you manage your time.
- Everything is not Urgent – When looking at all you have on your plate, it is very overwhelming when you have the sense of urgency for EVERYTHING! But here is a little secret…. Everything is not URGENT, as we cannot do it all. Being realistic is a necessity when trying to determine what can be done now and what can be done later. Identifying everything as urgent will cause a feeling of failure when not able to do it all and only a few things are completed. Take a look at all you have, write it down and give yourself deadlines but keep them as realistic as possible to be attainable. For no one knows you better than you. You will begin to feel the pressure lighten, clearing your mind to focus better.
- Commitment to You – Having a list of things to do with deadlines are great, but they mean nothing if you don’t commit to what you have written. For example, if you hire a contractor to complete work on your home that will require you to relocate, the deadline date is crucial to the contract. There is a dependency factor that impacts multiple things, family, temporary location, costs, etc. If the contractor comes back and tell you it will take longer, this will cause frustration, distrust, and your confidence will decrease in their ability to complete the job. And this is the feeling you should have for yourself. Making a commitment to yourself is just as important as it is with someone else. Supporting your goals by committing will help you win confidence in yourself and your ability to stand by your word, not just to yourself, but others.
- Technology is great…Now use it! – With all the new technology, we are exposed to so much information. At times we don’t have the capacity to consume it. Social Media is now a trend that has gone above and beyond our imaginations. But technology is not a bad thing when used to your advantage. Take a look at the cell phone, previously known as the mobile phone. Well, not anymore. It is no longer just a talking device, it has improved with apps such as calendars, reminders, notes, task lists and other tools to assist with managing your day. Don’t be afraid to use them. Let’s be transparent, we can be on our way to that important client, or meeting we have scheduled, walk out the door and 4 lights away before we realize we left our phone, and will go BACK to get it. It is the most reliable and dependable device in today’s world. So take advantage, use it.
- Who goes first? Prioritizing is the foundation – Just because it is not first, doesn’t mean it’s not important. When looking at your lists you will have to determine the level of importance and urgency. In your mind, visualize a priority chart of Urgency & Importance. In reviewing your list, prioritize by asking yourself is the following:
- It’s time to begin – Just Do it! – We have all heard or used the saying, “actions speak louder than words”. This is your chance to prove to yourself you can do it. You can start with the things that are priority and urgent with tangible deadlines, then work your way down the list. Soon you will be done in no time at all! And when it’s all said and done, you will have achieved your goal with the commitment you made. Victory is yours!!!!
Thank you and until we meet again, remember – Do today what others don’t to have tomorrow what others won’t.
Recommendations and Suggestions of Tools you can use:
- Email Calendar – Gmail, Outlook have integration with your phone for on the go people and is very user friendly for the newbies entering the technology world.
- Task Lists or Notepad – There are applications supplied with your laptop or cellular phones based on the device you use and has the ability to synchronize with each other.
- Planner or Personal Date book – A planner is a easy starting point to keep all your information in one location for those not quite ready to use technology. To capture your information in a planner or date book helps you track your due dates and emphasizes the commitment. Franklin or DayPlanner are very popular and are easy to use offering various options to choose from with a professional look and appeal.