If you’ve been in business for any length of time, there’s no doubt you’ve encountered one or more time management gurus. Books, courses, websites, Facebook groups, all devoted to doing time management “right.” Don’t forget about their branded apps, lists, and planners to keep you on track.
But what if you still lose track? What if that course you paid for doesn’t speak to your unique style of working on conducting business? One size doesn’t fit all, so check out these essential time management tips to help you create a time management plan that works for you.
When Are You Most Energetic?
For some of us, working late into the night or early morning hours is ideal, while others prefer to start the day early. Regardless of when you feel most “in the zone” use that time wisely. Take advantage of when you’re at your best mentally and physically, and tackle the most demanding tasks first when you have the most bandwidth.
Save the less demanding or more mundane tasks for periods in your workday when your energy levels are waning. Ideally, you want to complete demanding tasks when you have the most bandwidth, and save the less demanding tasks for when you don’t necessarily need a lot of brain power.
Lists or no lists?
The dreaded to-do list. Some people swear by them, others swear at them. If you’re in the latter group, you’re in luck: they are not a requirement for success! One of the joys of business ownership is designing a workflow you can live with. There are many tools to choose from: apps, software (such as Asana, Trello, or Basecamp).
The goal is to find a tool that works for you. In some cases, that can mean no list at all, or a list that is limited to one day’s worth of work.
Give Yourself a Break
If you find your day packed with high-bandwidth tasks and projects, be sure to take a quick break in between each one. A walk around the block, a quick text or call to a friend or even some light movement or exercise will help. Breaks have been proven to boost your brain power, giving you the focus and energy you need to power through a busy workday.
How far ahead you should plan depends a lot on your preferences and business needs. If the thought of planning a week in advance gives you cold sweats, aim for a time frame that is more realistic for you.
At the very least, end each workday with an idea as to what needs to be tackled the following workday, and prioritize accordingly.
Delegate What You Hate
Regardless of how much you love your business and clients, there are going to be tasks that you will dread doing, either because they take up precious time and bandwidth, or they’re just not in your skillset. For example, if the though of running your business social media leaves you cold. Delegate it.
The key is to save time and brainpower by delegating the tasks that take you away from what you love most: growing and maintaining your business.
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Now that’s a time management program you can live with.