How These 6 Simple Time-Management Tips Helped Me Succeed
This is a guest post written by Alma Causey. Want to contribute? Check out the 2016 publishing calendar.
As an entrepreneur, you might often wonder how to strike the right balance between work and life. Success is what you try to achieve and maintain, but it is often difficult to devise a strategy that works best for everybody; including yourself, your work and your family.
Time is the key resource we have as we plan our successes in life. I want you to ask yourself some questions first.
Are you usually punctual for appointments?
Do you finish tasks within the stipulated time?
Do you hand in your work/documents on a timely basis?
Have you, so far, managed to accomplish all assigned tasks before the deadline?
If you answered no to any of these questions, then these 8 simple tips will help you achieve better results.
Prioritize your tasks
Even in the simplest projects, no one individual can do everything. A good business owner must, therefore, learn to give priority to the tasks at hand and let go of the rest for the time being.
You must have a set timetable to follow for each day. A to-do list must be prepared at least a day in advance. You may also try using the Pareto principle of 80/20 and hope for the best. This principle is key in prioritization and results in the completion of most, if not all, of your tasks on time.
Fix a time limit for each task
In time management, each task is of equal importance and has its own duration in which it hass to be completed. Be clear that you need to finish Task A by 3pm while Task B needs to be accomplished in the next 30 minutes after Task A is done. This prevents your work from getting delayed and using up the time reserved for other activities. Try to use a time-tracking tool that will help you better insight of how accurate you are when it comes to time in completing a task.
Block out time-wasters
Every person has something in their lives that distracts them from work. What is it that hinders you from working effectively? Is it instant messages? The sound of your telephone ringing? Your Facebook notifications that show up on your desktop uninvited?
To avoid these problems, I close down all social media platforms before beginning work. I also put my phone on silent mode and shut down instant messages platforms to focus on the task at hand. Any calls during this time can go to voicemail, so you can get back to important ones once you are done.
All of this helps me concentrate better and none of the calls and messages related to the project at hand are lost.
Leave buffer time between tasks
It is easy to imagine in your head that you can block out all kinds of distractions with a single wave of your wand and all due work will be finished within the stipulated time period.
But let’s be real. No matter how sure we are about how quickly each task can be done, we almost always need more time. (There are bound to be bathroom and water breaks in between after all!)
So don't pack all your tasks too close together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time between each task and sub-task. This makes it easier for you to wrap up the preceding task and start off with the next one without delay.
What’s more, it is good to have a little downtime between each tasks to allow you to clear your head and regain focus for the next.
Finish similar tasks together
There will be tasks in your projects that are directly or indirectly related to each other and can be grouped together. For such related work, try doing them all together. You may want to categorize them into groups such as documentation, making calls, editing, researching, checking emails, etc.
If I need to answer emails, I allocate some time to answer all my emails in an appropriate manner. It helps streamline my work and it will help yours too.
Most devices, like our phones, have their own built-in reminder function. If you have an important meeting with someone, set a reminder at least 30 minutes prior to give yourself enough time to prepare. This gives you time to print documents, collect information and stats and jot down points that you’d like to discuss and the like.
You may also want to use the calendar in your cell phone to manage daily activities. If you use Outlook or Gmail, its calendar comes as part of the mailing software, allowing you to access your schedule anytime and at any place.
Bringing these tips into practice can take some time and effort, and you will need to slow down at some point, be patient with yourself (and others) and develop an informed perspective so you can do your job on time and bring in the desired results.
About Alma Causey
Alma Causey is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover lives and world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. Connect with Alma on Twitter.