One of the most common things my clients say is that they don’t have time to do all the things they mean to. They have problems with their time management.
Meaning to do something is great, but the job is not done unless you do it. Think about this for a second. “I meant to go and buy my lottery ticket.” My numbers came up, but I did not have the time to buy the ticket and so I did not win. Regardless of your intent, you did not win, because you did not take the action of buying the ticket. Now think of that in a business context. I meant to advertise my business and go out networking. I did not have the time and now I don’t have any clients.
This sounds self-explanatory, but how many people go to sleep at night and say, “I meant to do this”, or “I did not have time to do that.” Time management is extremely important in our hectic daily lives.
Default diary for time management.
We all have 24 hours in the day. How is it that Richard Branson can own over 300 businesses and often we can’t do everything we need to in just one? It comes down to time management. There are a number of things we can do to make our time keeping better. For starters, let’s look at a default diary.
Start by making a grid with 30 minute increment time slots for each day in the week. You can start and end each day at whatever time you choose, e.g. from 06:00 to 17:00. You may choose to start earlier or end the day when you go to bed. That way you can include more family time and commitments as well.
Now you add the things that you have to do each day into their time slots. Eg. Go to gym between 06:00 and 07:30. Maybe you have regular sales meetings on a Monday morning between 09:00 to 10:00. Add in all the regular things that you have to do each day into the diary. Now add all the others things you need to do or want in the times that remain available.
You may notice that you have much more time available than you thought you did. The important thing is to be specific about how and where you spend your time. Complete the tasks within the allotted time you said. Do not let things slip as that would mean they need to get done some other time, which might affect future tasks not getting done. Think of spending your time as you would spend money. Only your time is worth much more, as you can never get it back once it is spent.
Manage when you check emails.
Do the same for checking and replying to emails. I suggest checking email three times per day. In the morning, lunch time and before you finish for the day. Often people get caught up in doing their social media or checking and replying to emails as they come in. That takes a lot of time and it distracts you from what you should have been doing. The next thing you know, you say, “I ran out of time.” I would also suggest taking the first hour or two each day to market your business. Whether that is networking, social media, blogging, or whatever you are going to do. Get into the habit of doing it regularly. If you don’t, your competition will.
By using the default diary you can allocate time to everything you need to do. You will be amazed at how much time you actually have when you don’t squander it. This is just one simple tool for having better time management and we will look at some more in the next post.