How to Make Time Management Work for You, Not Against You

Being able to manage your time as a business owner is crucial. How do you go about your day and making “it all happen”? Do you feel like you need to be at your desk/office for hours on end? It’s not necessary! But this does mean that you may be working between dusk and dawn to get things accomplished.

These are traditionally hours where your brain is at its best for certain tasks – some it could mean 4 am wake ups before the house is in motion for the day. For some, this could mean that you work till the wee hours of the morning after everyone has gone to sleep and you start your day again the following day.

This doesn’t have to be over-thought – whether you use your phone as a timer (or an app like Toggl) or you just create “theme” days for certain activities. It is all about knowing how your best work, but also how your business flows as well. Sometimes Mondays are quiet, sometimes Wednesdays are. Sometimes, mornings are jammed but your afternoons are slower to allow you more time to focus.

What about a Time Audit?

To start, it probably would be a good idea to do a weekly or daily time audit to see where your time is being spent. This comes down to a simple notebook and a pen, no more. All you need to do is write down how long you spent on emails, calls, paperwork review, how often you are interrupted with “911” situations. Tally up the times each day and see where you can better tweak your work style.

This could mean that you notice that you check your email WAY more than you should because you hear the notification come on your computer. Why not set up a DND or use an app like “Focus” to better isolate those distractions so that when you get rolling on say, a blog article, you are 100% focused until it is done. If you work in a brick and mortar, maybe you need to close the door for certain activities so that anyone you work with knows that you are focused on certain activities.

By doing a time audit, you will give yourself a better idea of where you might be wasting time and where you need to shift focus a little more.

Maybe after you do a time audit, you notice that you work best at the beginning of the week versus nearing the weekend (or the end of your workweek). So why not block your day like that. Make your Monday’s the catchup and busiest day of your week and you gradually decrease that by the end of the week. That way you are spending your Friday just doing a final clean up and possibly starting your to-do list for the following week.

Calendar Blocking

Or if you are anything like me, blocking time on your calendar (Google, etc) for how long to work on things. It enables you to be hyper-focused on the task at hand, but also not allow you to go down the wormhole and neglect other activities.

A good example would be…

9-9:15 Review Emails9:15-9:30 Pull Voicemail9:30-10 Review needs for the day9-9:15 Review Emails9:15-9:30 Pull Voicemail9:30-10 Review needs for the day9-9:15 Review Emails9:15-9:30 Pull Voicemail9:30-10 Review needs for the day9-9:15 Review Emails9:15-9:30 Pull Voicemail9:30-10 Review needs for the day9-9:15 Review Emails9:15-9:30 Pull Voicemail9:30-10 Review needs for the day
10-11am Blog Writing10-11 Discovery Calls with new clients10-11 – Digital Networking online10-11 Review Social Media Marketing for next week10-11 – Digital Networking online
11am-Noon Client X work – social11am to Noon – Digital Networking online11-Noon Graphic Design Meetings11am to Noon – Digital Networking online11am-Noon Review Social Media Graphics for next week
Noon – 1pm LUNCHNoon – 1pm LUNCHNoon – 1pm LUNCHNoon – 1pm LUNCHNoon – 1pm LUNCH

This is just an example of blocking – how it could work etc. The big thing to remember when it comes to blocking your time, you need to be diligent on following through. Finishing on time and not pushing through your break times either. It comes down to knowing what is important to be completed and how to achieve a work/life balance that keeps you and your body top of mind as well.

Theme Days

Not too different from calendar blocking, there is also the “theme day”. This is the practice of maybe making each day a certain type/theme of activity.

For example, leaving Mondays for Catchup/Planning and Discovery Calls with Clients/Vendors. Tuesdays could be Social Media work, Wednesdays Blog Writing/Marketing, Thursdays could be Networking and Followups. This would leave Fridays as your wrap up when it comes to the administration of your business. By blocking off 1-3 hrs for these activities, it leaves the rest of your day open for client work/sales, etc to further grow your business.

This also allows you to make priority lists as well, to make sure that you meet deadlines that you might be needing to make for your clients, vendors or just to your business itself.

The biggest thing to remember is to not overthink this. Time Management doesn’t need to be complicated, for if you do make it too complicated, you will never follow through. They also say, give it the “ol’ college try”. It takes three weeks to get used to a new routine. Give it an honest attempt if you do try to implement anything.

It can come down to a simple pen on paper or digital options … know what are your ideal conditions to work within and make your plan custom to you. You can always tweak it down the road – but it’s important to consider this something you should implement for your own sanity. Your Brain, Family, and Business with thank you for it.

Let us know if you tried any of these or if you have something we didn’t mention that could work!

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