~by Haley Lynn Gray~
Have you been struggling with time management and desperately need to reclaim your time?
Time management is about getting more accomplished and having time left over to enjoy your life. If you don’t engage in effective time management, then you’ll find yourself wishing you could get more hours in a day consistently, and wondering where all of your time goes.
There are several different dimensions to time management: Making effective use of your time by eliminating time-wasting activities, using tools and techniques to get the most out of the time you’re spending on a particular task, and prioritizing tasks so that you do what’s important, and not just what’s urgent.
Time-wasting activities are perhaps the biggest enemy of getting things done. Imagine hopping online for a few minutes to do something. You look up, and find that several hours have gone by. Do you recall how you spent the last few hours? Were they productive? Do you watch TV? Do you sit down to watch just one show and find yourself in front of the TV the entire evening? TV has a way of sucking us in, and sucking all of our time. Youtube, Netflix and other video streaming tools are similarly devious. It’s easy to think, “Just one more”, and the next thing you know, you’ve lost an entire evening.
Getting a handle on the amount of time you’re spending on these types of activities is the first key to getting your time management under control. Remember, each of us only has 24 hours in a day, and it’s what you decide to do with those hours that matters most. Be conscious of how you’re spending your time.
I’m not saying that it’s not OK to spend some time watching TV, reading or playing online. Just schedule a block of time, and don’t get sucked in. There is a point at which it goes from being a relaxing break to a time-suck.
Almost everything important in your life should be scheduled. Make a point of blocking out time on your calendar for exercise, and don’t allow other activities to take that over. If you are going to commit to writing daily for a book or a blog, make sure you block out time for those activities. Similarly, you should consider blocking out time for friends, getting your hair and nails done, and other activities that you enjoy. You are worth it.
Next, set aside concrete blocks of time for getting work done. That may mean turning off all social media during that time. One simple trick I use is to turn off audible notifications on my email, on Facebook and text messages. I commit to checking them at certain times; otherwise I leave them alone. By taking these measures, you won’t be continually interrupted as you try to focus on tasks that require a bit more concentration.
If you need reminders, you can use alarms or alerts to remind you to do particular things. For example, I know that my credit card bills are due on a particular day of the month. I’ve set them all to be the same so I don’t miss any. Thus, because of the alarms I set up, I know exactly when I must sit down and pay them.
Urgent or Important?
Ultimately, you’re going to have a lot of demands put on your time. Decide which demands are important and which are urgent. Some things are time sensitive, but they really aren’t that important to your life or your business. Learning to ignore things that aren’t truly important is key to getting more done.
Use Some Sneaky Time-Savers
If you’re like me, you may not be the best at remembering people’s birthdays, anniversaries or other important events. Or maybe you are not able to manually post at set times of the day on social media. I’m too busy to do that, so I use tools to help me with those.
For birthdays you can use cardstore.com. This tool allows you to schedule cards up to a year out. I’d be lost without it. In January, I schedule all of the birthday and holiday cards, and everything else for the entire family. The result? I look like I remember everything, when in reality, I’m prone to forgetting even my own husband’s birthday without a good reminder. Yes, I forgot his birthday while we were engaged.
For automated Social Media posting, there are tools such as Edgar and Hootsuite. Just remember that whatever you use, you have to be consistent.
To keep our entire family on track, we use Google Calendars. My teenage daughters have their own calendars which are shared with us. We have them list all of their activities and tournaments and other stuff on the calendar. We can see those with our calendars, which organizes all of our family activities so we can see who will go where, and when.
There are lots of great tools you can use to save time, and if you use them correctly, you’ll be able to steal some hours back in the day.
Time management is what you make of it; you just need the discipline to follow through with it.
What are your favorite time management secrets?
Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray
Haley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.
Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.
Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.
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