Most places you look you can find all sorts of fantastic advise on what skills you need for improving on your ability to manage your time better.
Rather than give you the usual list of time management tips, this article gives you 7 things to do so that you will actually improve your time management skills.
…And when you put these 7 things into action, you will get those Time Management savings you may have been missing.
1. Share Your Goals With Someone
Most people understand the need for goals and chances are good they’ve at least thought about them. However if you really want some traction on your goals you need to get them done on paper or even better still, tell someone else about your goals.
Having someone else who knows exactly what it is that you are aiming to achieve will keep you accountable to your goals.
Take it a step further and ask them to get in touch with you every now and again just to talk about the progress you’re making with your goals. This alone will help you stay focused and it really helps to have someone you can share your successes with and who can add their brain power to help you think around any challenges.
If you’re concerned about not having someone you can confide in with your goals, consider finding someone who will be your mentor and understands the stresses of being a business owner. Alternatively, work with a business coach.
2. Only Have Your Daily Task List Visible
If you’re a list kind of person, then chances are good that you’ve got a mega beast master list somewhere that contains every single little thing that you need or want to do.
For everyday sanity and to feel like you’re having success, you must hide ‘the beast’ away and only ever have your ‘to do list’ for the current day visible and in front of you when you are working (ideally this list has a maximum of 7 things on it).
When you can focus on just the things you need to achieve for the day, you free your mind to thing creatively on the task you have in front of you. This gives you a greater capacity to find quicker and easier ways to do things and even evaluate whether you really need to be doing something at all. Something most people struggle to do, because they are in constant overwhelm caused by a monstrous ‘to do list’.
3. Mark off Your To Do List
At school you knew that you’d done a good job because the teacher put a tick on your work, and whenever you saw a tick chances are good that you felt proud of yourself.
So, put a check box next to each item on your ‘to do list’ so that when you finish doing the item you can give yourself a moment of praise with a tick.
Each time you get a tick your sense of satisfaction, confidence and achievement will be fired up to make you feel good. And when you feel good, you want to keep doing what ever it is that made you feel good.
4. Stay Honest with Yourself
There are times when it’s easy to believe the lies we tell ourselves, like blaming the dog even when everyone in the room knows it was you.
The problem with these little lies is that they build up in our psyche and eventually we don’t believe the promises we make to ourselves any more.
So when you promise yourself to get all the tasks on your daily ‘to do list’ done, keep the promise and only leave work once you’ve completed everything.
Changing your behaviour in this way does two things. First it has an impact on your psyche and you’ll begin to feel happier and relax a lot more. The second impact is much bigger because it helps you retrain yourself – you’ll become more realistic with deadlines, better able to assess effort required for tasks and your self-confidence will increase. Making it easier to trust your own judgement and be a quicker decision maker.
5. Have Meal Breaks Away from Your Desk
Whether you’re able to multi-task and eat and work at the same time efficiently or not, when others see you at your desk with food, they take it as a signal that you’re not focused on working so believe that this is a good time to interrupt you.
So eating your lunch and working at the same time is really a false economy.
It’s better to consider meal breaks as an opportunity to get away from stress, frustration or procrastination. Treat them as a time to recharge yourself and reconnect with the world – to see the bigger picture and get creative, so you can return to work refreshed and with purpose.
6. Reward Yourself For Achieving
Reward yourself for meeting deadlines, reaching goals, achieving targets and every thing you accomplish.
Acknowledging the good things that happen helps to retrain your brain to focus on the ‘good stuff’. Over time you’ll become more optimistic, a lot happier, less prone to procrastination and luckier (in other people’s eyes).
How you choose to reward yourself is entirely up to you – it could be a new something you’ve always wanted, some freedom with your time or simply sharing your good news with someone else who will celebrate with you.
7. Leave When You Get Emotional
Take a break from whatever you’re doing or the situation you’re in whenever your emotions go into overdrive.
Heightened emotions such as anger, fear, depression, hurt, jealousy, self-righteousness, embarrassment and even guilt can all negatively influence your decision making.
You need to make some space for yourself to allow you to regain your composure so that you can think clearly.
Without the turmoil of your emotions influencing your decision making you can get back to thinking clearly and making the right snap decisions.
So the next time you find yourself falling behind on a project, hearing someone tell the boss you’re the bottle neck or feel overwhelmed take a break and work out which of these ways is best going to get you back on top and in control of your time management.
And if none of these are working for you, consider getting a business coach or mentor who will help identify where things could be improved and then guide you into putting in the right counter measures for your situation.