“the key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities”
Let’s talk about time management! Do you ever feel like your day is passing you by, and you haven’t really gotten anything that you had hoped to get done for the day accomplished? You’re sitting there working on…stuff…but nothing specific? Well, you’re not alone!
Many of us deal with time management issues, especially those who work from home and have their own business.
Instead of working at a job that is 9-5, we have one that is 24/7. And it’s those 24 hours every day we have to look at, organize, and strategically set up to maximize our outcome for getting tasks accomplished for work and life.
Below I wrote out my favorite time management tips, and I’m hoping they help you plan and organize your workday, all while getting closer to your personal goals.
The biggest lesson I’ve had to learn as an entrepreneur is time management. And let me tell you – it was a hard one to learn. I look at it this way. You can run your business without time management skills and work against yourself for the rest of your career, OR you can learn how to be a time management genius.
Let’s be honest, running a successful business is one big net of getting things done to get you closer to your goal. The only way to do this is to know how to manage every little thing that relates to you running your business.
You need to have a structure, a plan, a schedule, deadlines, and you need to actually get it done. You need to be strict with work hours and not let your business run your life. I think this goes especially for those of you like me that work out of your home. Your office is right there, in your home, and it is easy for your job to start ‘ruling’ your life. Sometimes it can feel like work is around you 24/7. You’re always checking your phone for notifications. You’re trying to squeeze in work in between making dinner and bath time. You go to bed only to be woken up by your phone binging and feeling like you need to get up to answer that one email which we know will lead to answering just another ten more. You’re stressed because you feel like you can’t be there for your kids 100% and be running your business 100% no matter what; you never have enough time in the day.
I hear you! That was my life before I learned how to manage my time. My new normal? I know what I need to do when I’m in my office. My phone does not run my sleep cycle and for the first time, I feel like I can be a happy, unstressed mom with my kids again. I hope that these little tips will help you too.
And please note, this is coming from a working mama (I have four kids between the ages of 9 months-13). I homeschool and have to balance both life, motherhood, homeschooling, and business. So this is coming directly from someone who has a full plate and a very wild house most days.
1. DESIGNATE A WORKPLACE
Hint: it should not be your kitchen counter, your bed, your sofa, your patio. Pick a room or a corner in your home that when you sit down at, you know it’s time to buckle down and get your work done. It’s not the time to catch up on Facebook or play on Pinterest. It’s time to knock off items from your to-do list.
Know what time you need to start working and should be done working. It might not be a solid amount of hours; it might be three large chunks of time throughout your day. You run your business; you get to pick your hours. When you’re at work, work. When you’re not, then enjoy your time away from work.
2. MY TO-DO LIST
I have ONE relevant folder sitting on my desk. It’s a to-do list. I have a million checklists, and it is never-ending. Anytime I have something I need to do (it could be answering a particular email, calling someone back, scheduling an appt) it gets added next in line. As I work, I check them off as I go. My bigger projects are added to the list, and they usually have seperate to-do lists. You know how it goes. My checklists…have checklists… it’s a never-ending list, but it is the one big thing that keeps me moving forward. And quickly. When I get done with something, I don’t waste a minute thinking about what else needs to get done; I look at my list and choose my next item.
3. QUIT MULTITASKING
If you’re working on something, work on that ONE thing. Not that one thing, plus three more. The only two things you should be doing is working on something AND drinking your favorite coffee drink. That’s as far as your multitasking should ever go. Know what’s important and put the focus there.
Manage your lists by working on the most important thing first and then move on to the next important thing on the list.
This goes hand in hand with knowing what’s on your list that holds the most value. You should be able to look at them and, within a few seconds, know what you need to be working on next. It’s a good idea to know which three items would qualify as your ‘three most important tasks’ when you get your workday started.
4. USE THE RIGHT PLANNER
After years of buying planners (and not using them), I finally decided to make my own. One designed for goal-driven business owners in mind. It comes with so many incredible printable pages to help you plan and stay on track to reaching your goals, including a pretty to-do list for each month. I’m telling ya…it’s a game-changer!
I made the planner FREE so you can download it, get it printed and get to work.
5. AVOID DISTRACTIONS
This is a hard one to do for some. But I know I am more productive when my phone isn’t in the same room. So I make it a point to keep it out of sight where I won’t be tempted to check notifications. If you find yourself constantly picking up your phone to see what’s going on, try putting it elsewhere, at least for the time being that you’re at your desk working.
6. BATCH WORK
This is probably one of my favorite ones to do. Instead of bouncing between my inbox, blog posts, customer support, and that new online class I’m working on. I bundle my tasks together, which saves me a ton of time.
Take social media posts, for example. I could take 10 minutes every day to find a picture, write a status, schedule that post before moving on to something new. OR I could work on a whole month worth of social posts in 30-40 minutes.
This is exactly what we do with our Social Media Captions Membership. Every month, our members get new captions for the entire month, and all they need to do is customize and schedule them for the month ahead. This batch work alone saves me hours every single week!
Time management is a hard one to master, but with the right system in place, it’s possible to have days where you’re getting tons of work done and getting closer to your goals.