BIG easy changes to get a time advantage…
Okay so as an entrepreneur you have a natural tendency to be attracted to activities that expand the mind and create possibilities. Couple that with the fact that as an Internet Entrepreneur you are in THE worst environment for distractions, especially in the new wave of Social Media marketing where you’re attention is highjacked by people ‘connecting’ and posting (hopefully) valuable info literally right under your nose. If your Blogging, Twittering and YouTubing then you know exactly what I mean. Lets face it; you are highly likely to get diverted easily, immerse yourself in something you hadn’t planned for and loose track of far too much of your day. Before you know it, it’s midday and you haven’t done a thing on your to do list.
It’s not your fault. You’re a creative soul. If you didn’t take opportunity to feed your creativity you wouldn’t be doing what you do. However, you are responsible for your own direction and success. I’m sorry but the buck stops with you matey.
In my years as a business professional I’ve read time management books, attended courses by employers, tried different software applications. There are tons of strategies out there and just learning and implementing them can be a major time cruncher in themselves (maybe I’ll visit in future posts if people want it).
If you just don’t have the time or inclination be a student of time management. There are some really easy chunky things you can implement that can potentially have big impact.
Here are my tips for getting on top of your game:
1) Start now
I’m not kidding. Don’t plan to start planning and managing your time. Do it. Now. Be aware of your time allocations and enemies and audit them. Literally write a list for work and home/family/personal life and your must/should/want to do’s. How do you really perform against these? Not only will it help you evaluate and re-organise your time but it will help you identify and focus on what’s actually important to you – maybe Facebook isn’t! You’ll be amazed how you can kid yourself until you see the detail written before you.
2) Use daily, weekly, monthly and longer term action plans
Be strategic. Think about the big picture. Begin with the end in mind. Then break them down into the smaller plans based on how valuable they are to your goal achievement. I’m talking holistically here. The personal and business goals you have as an entrepreneur are likely to be intertwined so treat them that way. For example if you have a personal health or family time goal that your business is supposed to be delivering then plan and make that happen.
3) Optimize your environment
Spring clean! – each season ;o) Not for the freshness (though that can only benefit!) but to de-clutter and maximise the way you operate. Look at your space with fresh eyes. Clear everything out; your draws, cupboards, filing, notice board, bla, bla, bla, and only put it back if it really helps your productivity. Recognise and systemise the things that slow you down. Store excess materials away. Have supplies readily available and remove distractions. (Don’t role your eyes but I have a really bad habit of filing my nails when I’m thinking and it inevitably ends up with me giving myself a full manicure before I get back on track! – I just make sure I don’t have a nail file anywhere near my lap top – job done).
4) Consider where technology can give you time back
No – this isn’t your opportunity to go buy an iPad. Like in the sales; it’s only an awesome buy if you needed it before you saw it. Think about your time consumers. Think about how much of that could be automated, structured and managed better. Things like schedules, communication, collaboration, campaigns, contact management, project management, mobility, multi-tasking. The list and the solutions are endless. Before you spend any money ask yourself: What are my needs from a product or software? What do I expect this particular product or software to actually do for me?
5) Decide quickly. Delegate. Say ‘No’.
One leadership trait is the ability to evaluate and make a quick decision. It’s a core value thing. If you have the courage of your convictions based on what your personally driving for things become quite simple. The natural addition to that is that you will confidently delegate and reject requests of your time if the requirement doesn’t support your objectives of moving towards your goals. Get passionate about your business (or create a business that you’re passionate about) and you’ll find this one a doddle.
6) Multi-task – one for the ladies ;o)
It’s obvious and we may do it naturally sometimes but plan ahead and standardise the multitasking of activates that frequently either steal time from you or you don’t manage to fit in. When you know what these things are for you, you can operate so that you just automatically do them. Think about things like phone calls, reading, travelling, exercising, cooking, watching/listening to the news or TV in general, taking a bath – mix it up!
7) Anticipate time high jackers
As a mother of 2 little munchkins alone with everything else I’ve got going on I know that even the best laid plans go pear shaped so that you can loose as much as whole days. You can plan for some.
Think about what emergencies you might need to deal with for example with child care and pre plan your contingency.
Educate yourself on common technology problems and their trouble shooting. Educate yourself proactively on other tools of your trade (eg. software) so that just working out how to do something doesn’t hinder your progress.
Anticipate failures and have duplicate items or contingency options to hand.
Don’t allow people to high jack your time through your politeness, be clear about your schedule and build time where you can anticipate its needed. Turn off phones, instant messaging, email, PDA’s if you have a time slot to focus on.
Be clear up front in meetings and phone calls how long you have and what will be covered so you don’t go of on a tangent, then finish on time. There are endless scenarios that you can pre-plan for.
Above all when it comes down to it these points should enable you to just focus, plan and execute – without distraction.
Really easy stuff isn’t it? Has this helped you? Do you have any other chunky time savers to share with our visitors? Let me know below.
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