How you manage your time is extremely important not just to ensure the success of your business but also to ensure that you maintain a healthy work/life balance.
Do you ever feel that you spend a large amount of your time fire fighting and never really achieving anything? Well, you are not alone. The other day when I realised that my ‘to do’ list was getting longer and very little was being crossed off it, I came across this article about how to increase your productivity which I wanted to share with you, http://blog.best4u.nl/4-tips-om-je-productiviteit-te-verhogen-4-4u/
Apologies to those who don’t read Dutch however it is still worth taking a look at, although I am only going to add my comments to it here rather than translate it. What Ivo is saying is that no matter how old we are we always want to get more out of our day – those 24 hours are just never enough! He is right when he says that there are lots of great books available on the subject of
managing your time better and yet while great in theory, it is very difficult to put all this theory into action on a consistent basis.
I have also read a lot of time management books and have often found myself saying ‘yes, I know all that…’ and then a week later I have found myself back rushing around with an ever increasing ‘to do’ list.
So why do we consistently give ourselves such a hard time about not achieving as much as we wanted? And how can we start managing our time better?
The key is the first question, why? Start looking at all the tasks on your ‘to do’ list and ask yourself why you are doing them, what value do they add to your business, could you delegate any of them to someone else to do and what would happen if they weren’t done. You need to start by deciding what is important rather than urgent because very often the tasks that appear ‘urgent’
aren’t actually all that important to the success of your business. If you can’t come up with a valid reason as to why you have to do something then don’t do it – it’s time to start saying ‘no’!
If you are already very busy and can’t take on any more then say so. People are far more likely to respect you for this than if you try to do it and can’t meet their deadline. Will you lose business? I don’t think so. People are generally pretty reasonable and if you explain why you can’t do it now and give an indication of when you could do it or even recommend someone else then there
is a good chance that what initially appeared ‘urgent’ for your client will not be so urgent after all.
You need to think about your health too. If you don’t occasionally say ‘no’ you will end up taking on too much and this could lead to burn out. Your good health is important to the health of your business. And this to me means not being contactable at certain times of the day. When you have your own business, it is very easy to be available 24 hours a day but that doesn’t give you any
time for family and friends. So set a time to switch your phone off at the end of your working day and stick to it – if people need to contact you they can leave a message and so long as you call them back the next day there’s no problem. The same goes for emails – in most cases, checking and responding to your emails twice a day is more than adequate so again, schedule time for this and stick to it.
Finally, at the end of each working day, instead of looking at your ‘to do’ list and thinking that you haven’t achieved anything and beating yourself up about it. Write down the things that you have done (no matter how small) and give yourself a pat on the back for having achieved them. This immediately gets you out of the downward spiral that occurs when you feel overwhelmed by the
volume of work you have.
How can we start managing our time better? Well, I have only hinted at some possible answers to this second question today so please subscribe to ensure that you don’t miss out on the issue of my Inspirational Toolkit,’ tips to managing your time more productively’.
And if you have any tips for being more productive with your time that you’d like to share, please add them as a comment below.