We have all heard the sayings “time is money,” “no time like the present,” “killing time,” and “saving time.” Time is the big equalizer, we all have the exact same amount of time allotted to us each day, but what separates us is the way we use our time.
If you had only two hours a day to work on your business or complete tasks, what would you spend your time doing? Your priorities would come into focus really quickly.
Here are some tools I’ve found very useful to help me organize and accomplish more in less time.
This tool makes a huge difference in a busy person’s day, whether a business owner or managing a household, it helps not only in efficiency but in their stress level being reduced. As a rule, the more things that you keep in your head the more your stress level goes up.
When you first get to work or start your day, don’t open your email or dive into the piles on your desk. Take a few minutes and put all those thoughts, reminders and things you need to do that are floating around in your head, and write them down on paper.
Once you have everything written down, then it is time to categorize, prioritize, and schedule when and how these tasks will be completed.
You should have a system that can be accessed from anywhere, so it’s with you at all times. I’ve found Trello an easy system to use. It syncs with my computer and phone, and whomever I need to share information with, I can add. For example, I share a list with my assistant on a “board,” so anytime I have a task for her to complete, I list it there. She can reply and add notes on the list and let me know the status of the task and when it’s completed. Whatever system you use should be mobile, easy to use, have plenty of flexible options, free if possible, and allow you to add others to it.
Follow a schedule
Create a schedule that keeps you from losing track of what you should be working on. Knowing sleep deprivation decreases productivity, I like to start by scheduling my sleep time first — what time to go to bed and get up in the morning. Then, build a schedule that can keep you focused throughout the day. Use a timer to work on a project. When there is a certain time frame, we can focus completely, not allowing interruptions and distractions that can keep the project moving too slowly.
If you find you need breaks during the day to get a breather and refresh yourself for more concentrated energy, schedule it in. Don’t feel guilty about it; you are the creator of your schedule. Build your day so it works the best for you, your business, and your family.
I enjoy a book called Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy, and it’s on our recommended reading list. I like the concept he acquired from Mark Twain, who said “eat a live frog every morning first thing and everything else after that will be easy.” Pick something every day that you know, once completed, a weight will be lifted from your shoulders. It will probably be something hard that you really just want to put off for another day. Write it on your calendar to do first thing and just get it done. You will have a better day because of doing something hard, and you will become empowered, allowing other tasks that seemed hard to be done without as much resistance.
As a business coach, I work with people who have taken on all aspects of a small business. There are countless jobs they do, from marketing, sales, service, administrative work, to shopping for supplies. Managing time and understanding where to spend time is essential to make a business grow and be successful. Take a look at the way you start and spend the hours of your day. With some focus and changes, your time can be spent in more productive ways, leaving more time for family, fun, and favorite actives.
By Kathleen Dorson
Win Win Fireteams