Anyone who has started their own business or who has been running their business for years; will agree on one thing – managing time effectively is pivotal to success or making money sooner. It is as simple as that, it directly influences your results in business.
If you have just started, it goes without saying that you are most likely juggling several balls at once. Helping hands are few, so you are forced to do everything and be everything, the accountant, the marketer and the visionary, etc. You work like a ‘one man army’, it leaves you out of breath and often overwhelmed.
There are only a certain amount of hours a day and you need to optimize how you spend those hours, because time is certainly money. If you are able to chalk out a time management strategy, your productivity will increase tremendously and so will your results.
Developing time management skills and finding ways to really leverage your time, is often pushed down the list of our priorities due to pressing operational demands. If you don’t have time to create a strategy, here are 5 simple ways that you can improve your time management skills and your results.
1. Be specific about goals and how to achieve them
Always align your actions with your goals. This might sound obvious, but are you doing it? There are two parts to this tip… first you need to have clear goals that you are working towards; with deadlines. How much money do you want to make by a certain time for example.
Secondly, you need to be clear on what you should be doing every day that will lead to the achievement of your bigger goals. Don’t aimlessly take action based on what you ‘think you should’ be doing. Your goals and actions need to be connected; otherwise you will find that you work on tasks that give you a sense of accomplishment, but no real results. It all starts with creating your roadmap to success.
2. Organize yourself
Implement whatever type of system will work best for you, but you need to have some sort of structure to be organized. Getting organized is about having an organized mind, and a system which supports you to do things more effectively and efficiently. There are many time management tools that ironically, unless used properly, are actually counterproductive. So don’t be put off if what you have tried doesn’t work, it most likely doesn’t work because you have not been shown how to make it work.
3. Know where you need to improve
Nobody is perfect, while you are good at some things, you could be weak at some others. Of course we all have our blind spots, but the real question is, are you open to identifying them? There is no point in learning new time management skills, if you haven’t mastered the skills you have now. Identify your time thieves, what are you doing that is undermining your results? Be honest with yourself and focus on correcting one thing at a time. You know if you don’t manage your email well or if you procrastinate every day, now you need to do something about it.
4. Develop your awareness skills
Time management is not only related to planning, prioritizing, delegating, etc. In fact, most of your struggles to manage your time come from you, and how you are thinking. Developing awareness at times when you don’t feel like doing something, or when you fear something or resist something, will help you to manage your time better.
Why? Let’s say that you are procrastinating with certain tasks. You might be procrastinating because you aren’t actually motivated to do that task, or you aren’t actually clear on why you are doing it. Either way, unless you take time to become aware of the reasons you are behaving the way you are, you won’t be able to fix the root, the cause of the problem. Until you fix the root of the problem, you will continue to experience it and your business will suffer as a result.
5. Stay focused
Even if you have your sights set on your goals, you might find it difficult to stay focused. Just before you begin the task at hand, make it easier for yourself to stay focused. Remove distractions around you, prevent interruptions and commit to completing the task before starting something else. It is when we start and stop, when we change our focus or we give into other stimulus, that we really waste the most time. There are many ways in which you can boost your focus, go for it!
Starting a business isn’t easy, but well worth it. Don’t waste time doing things ineffectively, when the effort required to master your time, will support you in mastering your success. Often, it is not time that is lacking, but time management skills – Kirstin O’Donovan
To Your Success!