You know it, I know it, and it’s pretty much a universal truth that time is money. And if you’re not being realistic about what you can accomplish in a day, or you’re just not good at time management, it can suck the success right out of you. Because let’s face it, poor time management can cause extreme stress if you’re always running behind or continually pushing up against deadlines.
I’ve found, in my own struggles to deal with time management that there are a few things you can do to get a clearer picture of how you’re using your time and what you can do to improve that.
Here are 5 tips for realistic time management:
Tip #1 – Time yourself
Make sure you understand how long each essential task takes. How long is the average for you or the person you are working with? Don’t try to rush it or see how fast you can do it.
You want the actual time it takes to accomplish each task plus a few minutes to account for variables and unpredictable events. Write these times down in your schedule so you can be sure you schedule enough time out of your day to get finished without interruption or being late for other things.
Tip #2 – Automate what you can
Investing in technology or outsourcing your work are great solutions that allow you to add more time to your day essentially. While you may only have 24 hours each day, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it by paying for other peoples’ time.
While I’ll probably never outsource the actual writing of my blog posts and newsletters and that’s a personal choice, other tasks like social media posting and posting the content on my blog are things that I’m perfectly willing to outsource to a VA. My goal for the coming year is to have at least two designers and two VAs on my team.
Tip #3 – Stay focused and avoid shiny objects!
Don’t let yourself get off-plan or run off schedule. Planning, creating goals, and scheduling tasks only work if you do it and stick to it. In fact, the less you stick to your plan, the more work you create. Staying on track prevents burnout, stress and keeps you motivated as you continue to see progression each day.
Tip #4 – Schedule appropriately and don’t over-book
Everything always takes longer in reality than it does in your mind. No matter how lucrative, fast, or talented you may think you are, overbooking is terrible for business. That is the best way to lead you straight to burnout and dread coming back to work. You don’t need to rush the process to be successful. You need to set an appropriate amount of time to get things done and allow yourself some breathing room in between.
Tip #5 – Be mindful of others
As easy as this may sound, it’s easy to get into tunnel vision and only think about what you need to complete a project. The truth is, no matter what you do, more than likely other people will be involved too. Never expect the same type of work ethic you display, and always be sure to over-communicate when scheduling meetings or delegating tasks.
In the end, to create a realistic and successful schedule, you need to take time to evaluate every aspect of your life and others. Be aware of your expectations, other people’s expectations, and never underestimate what it takes to get there.