How much time do you spend on things that are not productive? Successful people always ask themselves “What am I doing to grow my business?” They then work on completing those tasks that are most important to help their business succeed. This is called being productive. Productive people focus on a single activity that gives them the best results for the time they put into it. If you don’t know where your time goes then learning time management skills will help you work less and do more.
You should always try to be productive instead of being busy. Busy people multitask. Doing many things at once makes them feel like they are doing something. It really slows them down in completing their tasks. They take longer to finish a single task. So you may be asking yourself, what should I do so I can be productive? Time management is easy to learn but harder to do.
Think of your time as an asset. Time management skills let you plan how you spend your time. Set your goals, and order your tasks so you can accomplish them. This lets you take control of your time and keeps you from procrastinating. It’s something you need to practice every day. Taking the time to set up your schedule in advance will help you become organized and give you all the time you need.
Work in Blocks
Set blocks of time for each of your tasks throughout the week so you can re-energize your brain. I usually work best in 20 to 30 minute blocks and when I go back to the task I am more focused and often see things I was missing. You want to schedule your time when you are the most productive depending on whether you are a morning or night person.
Dedicated work spaces
Finding a place where you can work without interruptions or distractions will help your concentration. I prefer to get up and go to the local coffee shop or the fitness club to get my work done. It helps when you can turn your cell phone off so you don’t receive calls or texts from people when you are in the middle of work.
Focus On Your Work
I was taught you do one thing at a time then move onto the next task. When I write more than one article at a time, I schedule it as if it will take a week to write. I write on one article in 20-30 minute blocks for 2 hours before I start working on the other article. I do this everyday and often find that I get more written than what I have scheduled. The key is to focus on the task at hand and put off non-productive activity until the work is done. It may seem that multitasking lets you get more work done in a day, but working on a single task instead of multi-tasking will give you better results.
Set Your Priorities
When ordering your tasks you need to know the difference between urgent and important so you can prioritize properly. Those tasks that need to be done now are urgent and those tasks that negatively affect your business are important. Sometimes urgent tasks are not important and sometimes important tasks are not urgent so you need to know which are both urgent and important. Tasks that are both urgent and important should be your first priority. Tasks that are urgent should be second and important tasks third. If they are none of these, you should put them off until you have free time.
Time Management Tools
Keeping a journal will help you know how you are using your time. They are great for writing down all the things you do during the day so you can see what you are spending your time on. If you see you are spending too much time on social media instead of important work then you can focus on using your time more effectively.
This lets you get rid of wasted time so you can do the important work. I’m a morning person, I love to wake up before the sun comes up and write while having my coffee. Others get their best results at night. Whichever you are you should set your most important tasks at the time you are most productive.
Once you understand where you are spending your time from your journal you can set up a to-do list. Write down everything you need to do and put your tasks in order of importance. Now work on the most important things that help your business. Work on the most important tasks in those blocks of time when you are most productive so you will be at your best.
To-Do Lists are essential time management tools. Having everything written, so you don’t forget something, makes you more productive and adds value to your business. They give you clarity when you prioritize the most important jobs. If you don’t take full advantage of them you will seem unorganized and focused.
In today’s world there are many more distractions than there were when these time management principles were first talked about. I’m sure they didn’t take into account the internet, social media, email, and all that comes with it. While these techniques are valid still, you need to stay disciplined so you don’t lose your focus.
One of the most important things you can teach your team is the ability to stay focused on the big picture. It gives them a road map to follow so they don’t get caught spinning their wheels. Set a time for you to check your emails, social media, and surfing the web and set a timer so you know when to stop. This will help you develop discipline until it becomes habit.
Why leave things to chance by keeping your tasks in your head and risk overlooking something important. Using time management strategies helps you easily organize your tasks so you can stay on track as you work.
By: David Baker