Today, more people are wearing being busy as a badge of honour. But for the rest of us, we want to manage our time. So why is time management, the age-old dilemma harder to find than the hunt for the holy grail? Here are our top tips to take charge of time and get organised (editor note, we might need to start following them ourselves!).
Top Tip One: Understand YOU – What are your time stress triggers?
We all deal with time stresses differently. While some of us are quite happy with high pace and many tasks to accomplish, others work better with tackling one task at a time and become overwhelmed if there are too many things on their plate. Understand where you sit on this spectrum and use this as an awareness tool when you are planning your time.
Top Tip Two: Gain Perspective
Monitor yourself for a week, document where you are spending your time and understand where all those hours are being spent for you. What big priorities have you tackled? What are your distractions? You will start to notice the difference between time spent on productive tasks and those that are non-productive.
Top Tip Three: Prioritise & Set Time Frames
Now that you have new found time awareness, start with a list of priorities and assign a timeframe for each. (Be realistic here people! Rome wasn’t built in a day and you can’t file your 7000 emails in one hour either). Set your priorities in order of their importance to help you establish realistic timeframes. Think BIG, you can have both short and long term goals on your list! Long term goals will have little stepping stones along the way.
Include the things you have always wanted to do but never had the time, by assigning it as a priority you make it one step more realistic. Be sure to include work/life balance, take into account your normal appointments, schedule in your families events and any other pre-planned occasions.
Top Tip Four: Organise
Transfer the detail your have created to a calendar – we love wall planners and scheduling online using our outlook calendars, but you can do this in any way that suits you. (Diary, Lists etc) We find that assigning tasks by day helps us to organise what is important right now and what can wait until tomorrow.
Create mood/idea boards for long term goals to keep you on track and motivated and make sure the stepping stones are scheduled in!
Top Tip Five: Review, Reward and Reassign
Give yourself a pat on the back for your achievements, tick things off your list (that always gives us satisfaction) and take stock of how far you have come. Not everything will run exactly to plan but for those that need a bit of tweaking, review at the end of each day and change up accordingly.
Top Tip Six – Re-Evaluate
As you progress with your priorities, you will start to see things that you don’t necessarily have to cover off yourself. This could be particular business functions that you can shift to another member of your team, or that you have realised the little priorities are impacting on what is really important (growing your business, striking a great work/life balance) and you need to free up more of your time to focus on this.
How are the long term goals looking? By focusing on the steps along the way, you will likely find that they are much closer to being achieved than you first thought! Look to what help you need to keep these on track.
Top Tip Seven – Look after you!
Get enough sleep at night, make time for exercise and make time for fun (wine? yes!) and don’t be hard on yourself! The best things take time and patience.
Working through the above steps will give you a good perspective on how time works for you and get you on track for success. We hope it will help you maximise your productivity and assist you with goal setting. If you are still feeling overwhelmed and need help prioritising, or just someone to ease the workload so you can have more of your life back, we can help – it’s what we do.