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Running a business is time consuming. Add taking care of the children, spending time with your spouse, shopping, house work, and all the other tasks you do during the week and you may start feeling like you don’t have enough time to do it all. We all have that feeling from time to time. What can we do to get more done? The first step is to manage your time to be the most productive. The following techniques will help you get the most out of your time.
Use a Calendar
Having and using a calendar is fundamental to managing your time. Taking the time to schedule in when you are meeting with clients, when you are having dinner with the in-laws, time you are working on your mailing list, and all other aspects of your week will greatly assist you in visualizing the amount of time you have. This will make it easier to schedule in time for doing other tasks that you want to get to that you do not feel you have the time for. I use Google Calendar for scheduling everything. Be sure to also enter in your deadlines as well as setting up reminders.
Turn off Distractions
What distracts you while you work? Does Facebook notifying you about a comment distract you from work and causes you to open Facebook? If so, turn off the notifications while you plan on working. How about email, instant messaging, or text messages? Mute your phone while working to help cut these out. One notification may not take up too much time but when you have 20 or 30 notifications throughout the afternoon, you could easily lose most of the day.
Do the Most Important Thing First
Distractions and complications tend to multiply as the day goes on. Not to mention, you also lose your motivation and energy throughout the day as well. You should always start your day with the most important task to ensure that it gets done and gets done right. More importantly, you will have accomplished something important every day since you did at least this one thing.
Batch Similar Tasks Together
Switching between different tasks and thoughts can hinder your productivity. Try grouping different tasks together when you are scheduling your time. For example, I try to schedule all my calls together in a time slot. This way, I am really focused on calls during that time. Same thing with writing or emails.
Track Your Time
Take a week and track the time for everything you do. Tracking every single task during the week will help you see where your time is going and where you can make improvements. You may notice that you are spending much more time on particular tasks than what you should be spending time on. I use Tracking Time to keep track of my time.
Take A Break
I know what you are thinking. Frank, how is taking a break going to give me more time? Well, many people have realized that taking a break actually improves your productivity. Why? In a different post, I talked about how taking breaks allows your brain to relax. This helps you stay focused, alert, and motivated. I usually have two breaks a day. One mid-morning and one mid-afternoon. These are perfect times to get up, check in with the family, and refill my drink. After the break, I am usually ready to get things done.
Now that you have a few techniques to help you get more done, be sure to remember to still take some time for you. Take an longer lunch or leave early every now and then. Getting fresh air away from work helps you keep your mind fresh and ready to tackle the challenges of work. Have any good techniques for managing time? Be sure to comment below!