Time Management Tip Number 2– For most entrepreneurs and small business owners, from the moment you start your own business, time takes on a whole new meaning. Suddenly, you see a direct result between how much you put in and how much you get out, most of the time. The way you chose to spend your time, what and how you do things every day, influences your results directly, and as they say ‘time is money’.
Learning how to manage your time effectively is more important now than ever. If you are not managing your time, you are not managing your business as effectively as you can.
Last month, we looked at various tools you can use to identify your time thieves and how you could be undermining your results. Now that you know what isn’t working, what can you do about it?
Part 2 focuses on making a few tweaks to the way you currently manage your time, before developing and learning new time management skills. Time management, isn’t only about applying the best techniques or finding the best system for your workflow, but also mainly about changing what isn’t working.
4 Steps to change what isn’t working
1) Prioritize your time thieves
Once you are clear on your time thieves and what isn’t working, you need to look at what changes and improvements you can make for the situation to get better.
Let’s say you have identified 5 main areas you want to work on for the moment. These will be your different time thieves, the things that ‘steal’ your time. For example, you might have discovered that you struggle with procrastination, prioritizing, distractions, structure and to-do lists.
You can’t work on all the areas at the same time, you need to prioritize and work on each area individually. Which of these areas is a priority for you to change? If you had to choose one top area, that if you changed and mastered, would make a world of a difference to your results right now, what would it be?
Do the same with the remaining areas you have written down. You can work on tackling one change a week or every two weeks, or three! This will depend on you and how successfully you are able to change. You should have your areas listed and prioritized.
2) Tackle each problem
Write down the area that you have decided to start working on as a priority. Imagine you have chosen ‘distraction’ as your focus area for this week.
Write down the contributing factors to this, what are all the ways in which you feel you get distracted easily at work. You might have a list similar to:
- Working online, pop ups, interesting articles, email notifications, etc
- Colleagues popping by and interrupting
- Landline phone and mobile
- Can’t keep focused
You already have chosen a way to deal with this, the way you are currently managing this at the moment, but I assume it isn’t working so well, or you wouldn’t be reading this.
Think of a new alternative, what you could do differently to get better results. Brainstorm a few ideas, don’t limit yourself in anyway and write down everything you can think of, even if it seems silly. Afterwards, you must look at your ideas and choose the best ones.
You might decide to wear headphones at work, or turn off mobile notifications or email notifications while working, for example. Write down a few solution based action steps you can take and come up with a few alternatives.
3) Be prepared to be challenged
When you start to work on developing your skills or changing what isn’t working, it is very similar to changing any other habit. The way you manage your time is in fact, habitual, therefore you need to take a similar approach.
You most probably have the best intentions in the world to make these changes successfully and you have come up with some great ideas to do it. That is a great start and the last step is to be prepared for any resistance that may come up for you. Having a vision and great intention is not enough sometimes; you need to be prepared to motivate yourself when you are not motivated.
Find ways to push forward when you want to procrastinate and especially when you find yourself gravitating back to the same old ways that don’t work. Let’s call these your challenges and possible obstacles.
4) Prepare for your possible obstacles
Think about all the possible obstacles to your new proposed solutions and write them down. Again, brainstorm different ways to overcome this obstacle and choose the best strategies, by rating them based on criteria which are important for you.
You know which obstacles are likely to be a challenge for you, find a way to make this change successful by preparing to overcome these challenges to change as well.
As you can see, a little effort needs to be made if you want to map out a plan to change what isn’t working. You must put results before comfort if you really want to see an improvement.
Monitor your progress, your strategies and make adjustments where needed, until you reach your goals.
Intention and motivation alone are not enough to reach your goals; you need commitment and patience as well. However, the results you will experience from making this effort will blow your mind away, your world will start to change for sure!
Step 2 is about changing what isn’t working
What comes next?…sign up for my posts to receive step 3 on Effective Time Management Tips For the Entrepreneur
Click here to read part 1 – Identify your time thieves
To your success