Time Management Made Easy
I recently noticed an advertising for a handbook on time management: “Today’s time constraints include shorter deadlines, conflicting priorities, continuous meetings, distractions, and even greater quality standards. Despite this, the number of hours in a day stays the same.”
As entrepreneurs, we all battle with time management at times.
I once heard an entrepreneur claim that, of all the individuals he knows, his entrepreneurial buddies are the worst at time and priority management. Too frequently, we succumb to the erroneous belief that being busy equals development.
There are many areas involved in effective time management:
o your attitude
o goal setting
o setting priorities
o analyzing your progress
o dealing with interruptions
o delegation of tasks
o taming procrastination
Here are some key principles that can hep anyone manage time more effectively:
1. Good habits are the key to good time management.
The cornerstone of effective time management is the development of positive habits. Concentrating on results is a beneficial habit to cultivate. Setting objectives and pursuing them must become ingrained habits. Prior to your next meeting, ask yourself,
- What am I hoping to accomplish by doing this or meeting with this person?
- What precise outcomes do I like to see from my time?
You must learn to value your time highly. There are a million things fighting for it: advertising, literature, media events, and people. You must establish a distinction between what and who are significant and what and who are not. This may seem harsh at first, but concentrating on outcomes while building habits can help you stay focused on yourself and your time.
2. Good habits start with setting goals.
When setting goals, there are numerous factors to keep in mind. The first step is to write down your objectives. Studies have shown that writing down your goals significantly increases your chances of success.
A short pencil is preferable than a lengthy memory. Categorize your objectives into three groups: immediate, intermediate, and long term. Keep a separate list for personal, professional, and life goals.
The personal goal list might include items such as personal relationships, how you spend your spare time, personal growth activities, reading up on a specific subject, and enrolling in continuing education programs or seminars, among other things.
Your professional objective list should be laser-focused on growing your firm, generating income, reducing costs, strategic planning, marketing, staff management, forming partnerships, and meeting valuable business connections.
Your life objectives would encompass a larger picture of what you hope to accomplish in life and how you wish to be remembered.
3. Pursuing specific goals is the key to reaching success.
Setting effective objectives needs some forethought and concentration. Far too many entrepreneurs have wonderful intentions for their businesses but lack precise goals that will guide them to success.
The majority of entrepreneurs who fail to achieve their goals do so due to a lack of specified, or S.M.A.R.T., goals.
S.M.A.R.T. objectives are the following:
Your objective should be as specific as feasible. For instance, “By Wednesday at noon, I will phone all new prospective clients I met at the previous networking event.”
“I intend to take at least three weeks off next year.”
A well-defined goal enables you to quantify your efforts.
“This quarter, my firm will boost top-line sales to repeat customers by 2% by understanding their current needs and providing a solution to satisfy those needs before anybody else does. This will be accomplished by a survey of each of them and a follow-up phone call to explain their responses.”
It is beneficial to establish lofty goals, but not impossibly lofty ones.
“This month, I’ll meet with three new venture capitalists and begin developing a connection with them in preparation to seek investment from them within the next six months.”
“By the end of this month, I will rewrite the three major areas of my website to better represent who my new targeted consumer is and to assist them in finding the solutions they want more quickly on my site.”
To be SMART, your objectives must be focused on what you DO want, not on what you DO NOT want. For instance, a goal such as “I do not want to fail in my business” focuses on the opposite of what you desire.
A SMART goal may look something like this: “This year, I’m going to boost my passive income by 15% by producing a “How To” manual on “10 Steps to Small Business Forward Financial Planning” and selling it for N10,000 on a website.”
Put a time restriction on your goals and choose someone to hold you accountable for achieving them.
“Within the following six weeks, I will complete my marketing strategy study and then spend two hours each day for three weeks building my personalized marketing plan.”
QUESTIONS TO ASK
There are 168 hours in a week for each of us. How we prioritize our lives and spend our time has a significant impact on our personal and professional success. Finances, future plans, family, fun, friends, current objectives, pressing projects, and demanding individuals are all competing for our time. If you don’t manage your time, someone else will use it.
Consider these questions while considering how to effectively manage your time:
o Do I have specific things I want to accomplish each day?
o What percent of the time do I meet my daily goals?
o What specific things do I do to manage my time successfully?
o What are the priorities in my life?
o Does my schedule reflect those priorities?
o How successful do you feel in managing your time effectively?
Fact! Let’s keep it simple and start with some other time management facts.
Time Management Fact 1 – a day is 24 hours long.
Time Management Fact 2 – We spend around 10-12 hours each day being ourselves. Sleeping, eating, resting, and meeting other fundamental requirements consume a significant portion of our time. That’s at least 40% of each and every day.
Time Management Fact 3 – The remaining 50-60% of our time is entirely up to us. How we spend this time is totally up to us.
To be fair, the majority of us must work to support ourselves. However, we can still choose how we use this time.
Certain time management strategies are designed to save you a few minutes here and an hour or two there, but have you made the most use of the time you have saved?
Or have you packed another thing into your schedule?
There is a well-known anecdote on how to fill a bucket quickly and efficiently :>)
The following is a shortened version.
To begin filling the bucket, place the rocks in it.
Is your bucket overflowing?
No, you can fit some stones in there.
Is your bucket overflowing?
No, you may incorporate some sand.
Is your bucket overflowing?
No, you can fit some water in there.
What is the story’s moral?
That you can always squeeze in more?
No, you will never get the rocks in if you do not put them in first….
Create a list for yourself with this in mind.
Here is one I produced previously.
Rocks – family time, time spent with friends, learning new skill, undertaking a major project, important things
Pebbles – not so important things like your club membership, volunteer services, coaching
Sand – routine chores, reading, or other fluid activities
Water – housekeeping, watching movies, surfing the internet
Determine the amount of time that should be spent on the “Rocks.” Is 50% of your waking hours sufficient, or would you go as high as 80%?
A quick mental calculation tells me that’s at least six hours each day spent on activities that are truly meaningful to you!
That, my friends, is good time management!
(I told you it would be simple!)
Thus, a few hours remain for the Pebbles, Sand, and Water. It makes no difference how you divide your time between these pursuits. The critical point is to recognize that little details can get in the way of the broader picture. And when the minor details do get in the way, ask yourself why.
What can I give up or do less of in order to reclaim my time?
Early starts and late finishes, hurried or missed meals, and infrequent or non-existent social interaction all contribute to fatigue. It’s tempting to take time away from our fundamental “being human” time, but reclaim it!
You will be rewarded.
You have complete control over your time.
Bear in mind that effective time management requires an understanding of what is essential and prioritizing it. And you don’t need an expensive diary to do so!