Have you ever procrastinated when working on a project or task? Do you remember the stress? Instead of making us compassionately competent, procrastination makes us insanely ineffective! Stress begets a cycle that can lead to more procrastination, which begets even more stress.
How do we stop the cycle and become successful at mastering our time? Read on and learn about my top five time management tips to help you tame your schedule and lower your stress.
1. Organize Your Workspace
On average, people spend 45 minutes every day looking for lost papers or documents. A cluttered desk equals a cluttered mind. Invest in a desk organizer. Have an inbox and outbox. When a piece of paper comes into your possession, deal with it right away. Use colored file folders to organize your space. Being organized gives you more time.
Entrepreneurs from all industries receive the same gift every day. That gift is 24 hours to be productive, profitable and passionate about your business.
2. Schedule Time for Email and Return Phone Calls
Does your email system send you an instant alert when you get a new email? Do you jump to answer every call? I know this is a stretch, but try turning off your email alerts, at least at certain times during the day. If someone or something does not require your immediate attention and the call and/or email is not critical for your business, does it deserve an immediate response? Possibly not. To reclaim your calendar, schedule an appointment slot to check and answer emails and phone calls. This will give you a period of uninterrupted time to be more productive and focus on your goals – not someone else’s.
3. Learn to Say No!
One way to make sure you keep control of your schedule is to cultivate the ability to say “no” to new and untimely commitments. People often fear how they will be perceived if they decline to accept a commitment. I encourage participants in our time management workshops to learn to be assertive and not aggressive. Saying “no” is a process. When you do say no, aim to:
4. Plan Your Day and Week
Have you ever received a business email on a Sunday afternoon or evening regarding a project you are working on? I have! It reinforced to me that many entrepreneurs plan their week beginning on Sunday. Successful leaders plan and get a jumpstart on tasks before the workweek begins. I’m not suggesting starting working on the weekends and taking time away from family, friends and relaxation. However, making time to plan for the workweek will enhance your productivity. Some people plan their week on Saturday and some on Sunday; others take time every morning to plan the day. The important takeaway isn’t the day or time you plan your tasks and projects, it is simply that you set aside time weekly or daily to do it!
5. Focus Your Energy Using the 80/20 Rule (Pareto Principle)
Statistics show that only 20 percent of the things you spend time doing produces 80 percent of the results you want to achieve. This is known as the Pareto Principle. My tip: identify the key 20 percent of your daily activities that are most effective (producing 80 percent of the results). It is crucial to prioritize those activities.
Entrepreneurs from all industries receive the same gift every day. That gift is 24 hours to be productive, profitable and passionate about your business. Show appreciation for your gift and use your time wisely.