“How do you find the time to manage all of this social media stuff?” That’s one of the most common questions I’m asked whenever I present. And sometimes, I get the sense that people are hoping that it’s so complicated and time-consuming that they’ll have a great excuse NOT to do it. Not to learn [...]
Improve Your Time Management in 6 Easy Steps!
You use the all-important diary and you manage your time as best you can but when 4pm comes around you still can't work out what happened to your day! Let's face it, we're all busy women, trying to maximise every hour in our day, every day in our week and so on.
But managing your day can be easier than you think. If you follow a few basic rules you will suddenly find you have more time in your day!
It's like a diet, stick to it only half the time and you simply won't achieve the results!
Rule # 1. Delegate, delegate, delegate
This simple rule can apply to the woman who is the sole company operator or to the manager of a large organisation. Start by deciding what REALLY has to be done. Then consider if you were sick in bed and simply could not make it to work that day, who would you give this task to?
Often we have trouble handing 'our precious work' over to others as we fear 'they couldn't do this as well as I can'. Empower those around you and they will respect you for it and strive to impress, particularly if they know you usually 'go it alone'.
Delegate at home too. Pay others to do cleaning, ironing etc, and get rid of chores that take up chunks of your time and provide no inspiration - a mere two hours a week will make a big difference.
Rule # 2. Prioritise
Every time a new task, meeting or any other event that requires your valuable time arises immediately give it a priority status.
I use a colour system in my diary; you may use numbers, words, etc. This way you can open your diary each morning and quickly identify priority tasks for your day.
Always begin with 'Action by 10am' (refer to Rule # 3) and then move on to the urgent tasks, followed by second priority tasks etc.. it's all clearly there in front of you!
For example, in my diary, urgent tasks requiring attention within 24 hours are labelled with a red pen in my diary. Red tasks take immediate priority over all other tasks. Be careful to ensure these tasks are REALLY urgent. If they can wait, then they are not urgent. These tasks should constitute less than 10% of your total day.
For tasks requiring action within two to three days, I use a blue pen. Blue tasks are important and must be addressed within the three-day time limit. If they can wait more than three days, they should not be in the 'blue' category. Be strict with your prioritising.
I use a green pen for tasks requiring response or action within four to seven days. Green tasks should make up the majority of your tasks - usually more than 50%.
When responding to a request for action, information etc, always aim to give yourself maximum time wherever possible. Four to seven days is deemed reasonable for most tasks, depending on the nature of the issue.
Tasks of a non-urgent nature, say one to three weeks, I label using a yellow texta - bright and sunny giving me time to breathe! Ensure these tasks are addressed within the time limit as with all others; although they appear low priority, do not risk putting them off.
Have you ever noticed when requesting information or placing an order from a person or company, if they state a clear, reasonable deadline, you are often more than happy to wait? Most of us make the common mistake of believing everyone 'wants it today'. Most of our customers are happy to wait and expect that 'all good things take time'!
Remember to check your diary each morning. Re-prioritise if deadlines alter, but try to avoid moving tasks to another day once you have committed to achieving them in a particular time frame.
Rule # 3. The 10am action
We all have tasks we would like to delay forever, the not-so-nice phone call, the hard to deal with person, the difficult order, etc. Get into the habit of doing these tasks each day before 10am and DO NOT delay the action! Grit your teeth and pick up the telephone, start that letter, attend that meeting. You will feel incredibly free after completing this task and the remainder of the day can be spent on more pleasant tasks!
Rule # 4 . Initiate and take control
Ever noticed that the friend who organises the dinner usually gets to nominate the place too?
Always aim to be the initiator of your appointments, this way you have a greater chance of nominating the time, place and duration of a meeting, telephone call, appointment or event.
The more control you have over your schedule, the more effectively you will be able to manage your time.
Rule # 5. Overloaded?
If you find your priorities are clouded and your schedule seems overloaded, sit down and act as though you have just been told you have won an all expenses paid trip to an exotic Queensland island, for three relaxing days.
Now consider how quickly your schedule would change. Tasks would magically change from high to low priority and that word delegate would swiftly swing into action. It's amazing what can be achieved when our priorities are in order!
What can you simply drop completely from your schedule? Quite a few things I bet!
The reality is we usually have far too many tasks than time and something has to give. Our problem really isn't too little time... it's that our priorities need more work. We become unclear about our priorities, because we are so used to cramming every minute of every day. Take time out to re-assess and be ruthless, after all it's your life!
Rule # 6. Take time out for greatness
When you are pressed for time and things aren't getting done, it's easy to assume that you need more time in your day. And yes, sometimes that is what is required, but often what's really needed is some 'You Time' to create and see greatness.
Start by allocating 30 minutes each day. Enjoy lunch, go for a walk, sit in a park or simply do whatever it is that helps clear your mind. you will find that great things will emerge!
By taking 'time out' on a daily basis you will find yourself thinking freely about issues that may not usually be allowed to surface in a busy, full schedule.
During your 30-minute 'You Time', try not to think about anything at all. Instead, take time to deeply breathe the fresh air, ponder how great your life is, how lucky you are to be alive and generally celebrate life. Smile and feel good about who you are.
Clear your mind so it is open to new ideas and thoughts. You will return to work feeling energised and ready to tackle any issue. So next time don't complain that there simply isn't enough time in your day. allow yourself the freedom of a prioritised schedule and stop clogging your life with time wasting issues and tasks.
Free yourself today and live life fully.