Eliminating your overwhelm
There’s a tonne of things to do each day and never enough time to get everything done. That’s true in your business and your personal life. There are so many methods for getting control of your life, including cleaning up, organizing tools, to-do lists. Then there’s time management… Here are 9 hacks you can do to save time.
#1: About your phone calls…
Set specific times to make crucial phone calls. Are you using phone calls to avoid key activities that need your attention, adding more stress to your day? Use well constructed emails for clarity and use the phone during structured times and prioritize what you need to discuss with someone.
#2: Limit your email time
Let’s get real. Email is an endless task and can rob you of your time, focus and schedule in an instant. Many people get more than 100 emails a day, and that might include you. Set specific times during the day (but not first thing in the morning!). Be guided by your calendar, not your inbox. Schedule the “must-do” activities in your calendar, including time-blocks for reading email.
Take 15-30 minutes 2-3 times a day to read and action those items in your inbox and consider that (based on your business type), what arrives in your inbox is everyone’s request of you for your time and attention. They have no idea what you need to get done today, but you have deadlines to meet and business to build.
There’s lots more to this email time discussion, that’s something to cover in another blog post, I think!
#3: Manage the social media time-suck
As you know social media is a huge time-waster. Limit your social media exposure by turning off notifications, delete these apps from your phone - do what you need to do to remove the distraction. Do you use social media to communicate? Consider using just the chat feature. For Facebook, consider downloading Messenger and keeping the regular app off your phone. Do you use Messenger for business? Again, set time aside time and limit yourself (like we discussed for email).
#4: Manage your meetings and discussions
A pet peeve from my corporate days: If you don’t have a clear agenda with a time limit, you are wasting everyone’s time. Keep small talk to a minimum and focus on the meeting! If you are having an informal discussion, keep a goal in mind and work on achieving that goal. Once achieved, wrap up the conversation.
#5: Time manage your to-do list
Get real with the items on your daily to-do list, including setting a maximum time limit (this is the most time you can spare for the task). Be realistic about just how long a task really takes. We often underestimate how long things take. Set a timer as you begin each task. Consider adopting something like the Pomodoro technique (a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo. It uses a timer to break down work into intervals). [LINK]
#6: Get yourself off the grid
When you need to focus on a task without distraction, make your office a “no-go zone” for everyone by letting them know you should not be bothered during this time. This idea works when you’re doing strategic planning or anything else that takes serious concentration.
#7: Take care of you
You need to make sure you’ve made plans to manage yourself mentally and physically during your work and personal time. How are you sleeping? Are you eating well? What are you doing to manage your stress? Do you have regular routines established to manage these things? Value your health in these ways and you’ll stay more focused as you work more efficiently.
#8: Take breaks
Schedule small breaks throughout your day so you can maintain your focus. Make sure you do some activity you enjoy, even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes at a time.
Take a look for parts of your day you can trim and you’ll get to work smarter with less stress.
#9: Run a time audit
Have you heard of a Time Audit? Using this practice you can start to manage your time more efficiently. How does it work? You keep a log of everything you do and how long it takes. You’ll get some benefit from doing this for just a few days, and gain even more if you track everything for a few weeks. You’ll see exactly how you’re spending your valuable time. You’ll know where you stand and where you can make the most effective changes.
Want to try a time audit for yourself? Download your own copy of the worksheets and get a handle on where your valuable time goes. Do it now!