“A plan is what, a schedule is when. It takes both a plan and a schedule to get things done.” Peter A. Turla, Time-Management Expert.
It’s fair to say that when you’re running a business, time is a valuable commodity. We all want to be on top of our workload and still have availability for our team and for our clients when they need us. But often, we find there just aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish what we need to do without stress or shifting tasks around, rescheduling calls etc, and we can lapse into being reactive rather than proactive.
What is time management?
Quite simply put, time management is when you are able to use your time effectively, efficiently, and productively. You have time to do what you need to do, each day, stress free. You’re organised and you’re able to check off all the things on your to-do list for that day. Sounds like a dream come true, right?
It’s easier said than done, we’re sure you agree.
How is it that some people are able to manage their time so fluidly, and some just can’t seem to cope with everything that’s thrown at them?
Why is it so important?
Managing your time effectively is hugely important in business, if you want the right things to get done, and get done well. When we’re not in control, we feel stressed out, and our checklist gets longer with each hour that passes. It’s overwhelming and not conducive to a productive environment for you or your team. Deadlines get pushed back and things get missed. It can feel like you’re drowning and there’s no sign of help.
When your time is managed effectively, you have more freedom and ‘wiggle room’. You feel like you can get the important things done, and you actually do them.
Here’s a great way to figure out how to prioritize.
The best way to use this method is by reviewing your to-do list daily and distinguish ‘urgent’ from ‘important’. Identify which tasks need doing within the next couple of days, and they’re your ‘urgent’ tasks.
From those, which are most important? Prioritize them. Now review the importance of your ‘non-urgent’ tasks.
Do YOU personally NEED to be doing this or could someone else take it off your hands?
Often, we hold onto tasks because we think we’re the only one capable of achieving them, and it’s simply not true. If you have a reliable, capable team, use them to your advantage or outsource to someone you trust.
You don’t have to be doing everything yourself, so learn to let go.
Yes, this is a lot easier said than done. But you have to be firm. You need to be proactive in your work, and less reactive if you want to be more efficient in managing your time.
Turn off your notifications on your browser and your phone – you can always switch them back on when necessary. Better still, if you don’t have to be reactive to calls, put your phone on ‘do not disturb’ when you’re working on something important.
Close the tabs you’re not using in your browser. Emails and social media will show the notification on the tab and it can be ridiculously tempting to just ‘have a quick look’.
Allocate time each day for checking your notifications and allow more time than you think you’ll need. We’ll come to this reasoning further down this post.
Batching like for like tasks is a really effective way of entering ‘the zone’ and getting things done. So much time is wasted flitting from one thing to another and by now, you should have realized that ‘multi-tasking’ just doesn’t cut it.
When you batch like for like tasks, you’re improving how efficient you can be at completing them. It takes no time at all to do one task after another because you’re not spending time having to reset your brain, it’s already ready.
Scheduling your time into chunks when you have several things on your checklist, is the way forward. Plan your day in 1 or 2 hour slots and stick to the task in hand during those times, focused and distraction free. If something else comes to you regarding a task you have planned for later, jot it down to complete when it’s relevant to that time allocation.
Always allow more time than is needed.
Research shows that we have a tendency to be optimistic about how long things take to complete, even if we’ve done them several times before. We underestimate the time needed. This is called the ‘optimism bias’, which leads to ‘planning fallacy’.
“The planning fallacy is a phenomenon in which predictions about how much time will be needed to complete a future task display an optimism bias and underestimate the time needed. This phenomenon sometimes occurs regardless of the individual’s knowledge that past tasks of a similar nature have taken longer to complete than generally planned. The bias affects predictions only about one’s own tasks; when outside observers predict task completion times, they show a pessimistic bias, overestimating the time needed. The planning fallacy requires that predictions of current tasks’ completion times are more optimistic than the beliefs about past completion times for similar projects and that predictions of the current tasks’ completion times are more optimistic than the actual time needed to complete the tasks.”
So be sure to keep this in mind when you’re planning your day.
These are just some of our favorite tips when it comes to time management, there are a vast array of ways to optimize your time and it’s best to find the technique that suits you.
Managing your time, team, clients, and leads is simplified with Jarvis CRM.
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