Time management is SO important to me as a work from home entrepreneur. It’s a skill I haven’t completely mastered yet and it’s something I want to crack in 2018 in order to get more done.. or should I say, more of the RIGHT stuff done.
I’m a great believer in working smarter not harder, and anything that can help with that is a winner in my book. Managing your time ‘smarter’ is not about squeezing as many tasks into a day as you possibly can.
Do that and you’ll burn out pretty fast. Rather it’s about simplifying things, doing them faster, and freeing up your time -and mind- for other things.
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20 BRILLIANT TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS
Here are 20 quick tips to help you manage your time and stay focused during your day!
1. QUIT MULTI-TASKING & PRIORITISE!
Jumping from task to task, never finishing anything really well will leave you frazzled with lots of niggly loose ends. Entrepreneurs killing it in the ‘work smarter’ thought space, like the brilliant Tim Ferris, recommend identifying your top two or three ‘crucial’ tasks and doing those first. Tim uses RescueTime to block off social media and email distractions.
2. SET DEADLINES
Deadlines keep you accountable. They challenge you to work harder and faster, particularly if you tie them in with SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely).
Set a goal for each part of your day or each task, and set a deadline to achieve it by. I use the totally awesome productivity app FocusKeeper (ios), which is based on the Pomodoro method. It gives you 25 minutes to focus on your task, followed by a 5-minute break.
3. PLAN YOUR DAY
I find it so much easier to stay focused and get more done when I’m in a quiet and clean space. Use a planner or an app on your phone to make a note of what you’ll be doing each day. Planned out in advance like this it allows you to stay on top of housework, work, meal times, shopping, bills, and more.
Decide what needs to be done today and prioritise that. Work on the longer term goals once you have accomplished your main focus for the day. Chipping away at the bigger tasks and goals like this daily pays off over the long run. 20 minutes study per day towards a big test is less stressful and more productive than spending the night before the test cramming in revision.
You can make bigger, long-term plans, then use your monthly, weekly, and daily planning to move you towards those bigger goals. Click here to read about how to set achievable goals and crush them.
4. REFRESH YOUR MIND
After several hours of work and hard concentration, it’s normal to feel frazzled. Overwhelm takes over and you find yourself endlessly re-writing the same sentence or doing totally inane things just for the sake of it.
Make sure to take breaks regularly and combine this with a walk out in the fresh air to clear your head and refresh your mind.
5. LEVERAGE YOUR MOST PRODUCTIVE TIMES
Do you work better in the mornings? Perhaps you’re more of a night owl. Figure out when your most productive times are and leverage them for the best results.
Complete all your biggest to-do’s then and save less tasking things for later/earlier in the day.
6. SET REMINDERS
Set reminders throughout your day or week so you know what tasks need doing and when it’s time to do them.
7. GO ‘OFF-GRID’
Well, not literally off-grid, but off the social network. Turn off those email alerts, and step away from Instagram. Nothing kills your flow faster than constantly stopping to read emails or check the latest updates from your friends! Schedule twice daily time slots for email checking.
8. BATCH YOUR TASKS TOGETHER
Have repetitive tasks that need doing regularly? Try ‘batching’ them together. Scheduling your social media posts gets a whole lot easier if you do a week, month, or even longer all in one go.
And how much simpler would your life be if you didn’t have to cook dinner for the whole family at the end of a long day? Batch all your meal prep into one day instead and have a fridge/freezer full of ready-made food for the whole week!
Studies show that batching tasks like this can make you more productive. It works for anything too. Give it a go next time you have bills to pay, cleaning to do, writing or reading etc.
9. DUMP YOUR THOUGHTS
It’s really difficult to stay on track with so much going through your head, (trust me, I know!). Get a notebook and try brain-dumping those pesky thoughts. When your mind wanders, write down what you’re thinking about in the notebook.
This isn’t the time for perfectionism, no need to worry if it makes sense. Just getting your thoughts out there onto paper can help you get them out of the way and get back to business.
10. JUST SAY “NO”
You are NOT Wonder Woman! Let me repeat.. you are not Wonder Woman. You only have so much time in your day and rather than compromising it by agreeing to take on too much, learn to say no. It’s OK to be picky about opportunities. If you try to do too much you’ll end up doing very little.
Steve Jobs said it best when he said:
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas.’ – Steve Jobs.
11. TIDY YOUR WORKSPACE
Yes, yes we all know the old saying about messy people being the most intelligent *rolls eyes*. But studies show that a messy space makes it harder to focus.
So if you want to super-charge your productivity and power through your goals, tidy up! You’ll see how much brighter it makes you feel. I love the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up for helping you improve your skills.
12. ORGANISATION IS KEY
It’s tough having so much going on isn’t it? It can be a real struggle trying to juggle business projects with family, exercise, and trying to have a social life!
Setting up a workflow for your home business will helps things run smoothly. There are a number of online and offline programs and products that can help you plan things out.
I use my Evernote for EVERYTHING! I also love my Happiness Planner, not only does it let me plan everything out effectively, it makes me happier in the process 🙂
13. GET INTO A ROUTINE
Having a routine really helps increase productivity. If you know exactly what you need to get every day, you get quicker and more efficient at it.
Let’s get you started on setting up a weekly schedule to help organise your time – Click here to download your FREE daily planner.
You can also use apps such as Google Calendar to block out set times to do things.
14. STRESS LESS
Are you the type that tends to stress? Join the club! If you’re constantly on edge and feeling overwhelmed by everything you need to do, RELAX!
Meditation is seriously life-changing, try it. Just 10 minutes per day can change everything. I love the Headspace app for easy, guided meditations. They’re great to listen to just after you get up to start your day off right. I like to follow this with exercise.
Do you find yourself getting sucked into scheduling posts on social media, creating graphics, answering emails (talking from experience here!)? When you look around you wonder where the time has gone and realise you haven’t done anything today to really push your business forward. You have fallen victim to the ‘busy work’ trap.
You only have so much time in a day, and it’s precious. Consider outsourcing the smaller tasks. Paying someone else to do them frees you up to focus on the things that really affect your bottom line. You can use PeoplePerHour, Fiverr and Upwork to find professionals to help you with just about any task.
So reduce your workload and start outsourcing those tasks you aren’t good at and that don’t bring you true benefits.
16. PRIORITISE BY VALUE
Though these tasks like scheduling and answering the majority of admin type emails may be necessary, they are of low value in terms of how much money they are worth to you right now. Imagine instead if you prioritised your schedule and to do lists based on how much something was worth, either right now or later down the line.
Spending time on ‘deep work’ like mapping out your business strategy and brainstorming ideas for new products or services, may pay off better down the line by leading to bigger opportunities and more, higher value, sales. So build this time in, and outsource the small ‘busy work’ tasks to make room.
17. BREAK IT DOWN
There’s nothing quite like the thrill of a new project. The adrenalin is flowing, the blood is pumping. Then BAM, overwhelm sets in and it’s a major mood killer.
Why not reduce the chances of that happening by breaking everything down into small steps. These are much more manageable, and you can track them with apps like the 1-3-5 method, Focus Keeper and the Pomodoro desktop tracker.
17. KEEP IT SIMPLE
Always taking on projects you can’t complete then feeling anxious about it? STOP. Save yourself a whole bunch of stress by learning and paying attention to your limits.
18. BE INSPIRED
We often underestimate the importance of inspiration. Just keeping things on hand that remind you of your goals is oftentimes enough to ensure we take action to see them through.
Start by gathering images you love that relate to your goals and pin them to your Pinterest board. It’s that simple. You could call it something like ‘Vision Board’ (a lot of people do) and add images, links, and quotes to look at every day and keep you on track.
19. DO LITTLE THINGS, OFTEN
Doing small things regularly, and as they need doing, helps just about everything else fall into place. What can you do while dinner is cooking or the washing machine is on? Do that. Never leave a room without taking something with you to where it needs to go (going from the living room to the kitchen? Grab the dirty cup from your last cuppa and put in in the dishwasher).
Plan your errands so they’re easy to do in one drive, like passing the chemist on the way to do your main shop so you can pick up a prescription on the way. Then, when you’re at the shop, organise your list by aisle and group items together so you’re not walking backwards and forwards wasting time.
Not only will these methods free up time, but they will seep into every area of your life both personally and professionally.
20. DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
What can you do today, RIGHT now to move you forward in your goals? Look at the big picture and start with the end in mind. All those small, nitty picky things get in the way something terrible if you don’t stay on track.
So use an app, or good old pen and paper, I don’t care, but just stop nitpicking and get moving!
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Success comes down to how you spend your time. Spend it on too much management rather than creation, and you will find yourself constantly fighting fires in your business rather than moving forward. Use the tips above to help you plan your time effectively. Organise your work schedule by your energy level, and by the value each task has to your business. Make time outside of work to enjoy the things you love, improve your skills, and deepen your knowledge. Do small things, often in every area to optimise your productivity.
Liked this post? Tell us in the comments your favourite time-management tips.
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