“Ti-i-i-ime is on my side.”stones

As a business owner, that doesn’t always seem to be the case.

We wear a lot of hats: owner, director, cheerleader, salesperson, statistician, bookkeeper, and decision-maker. If you don’t pay attention, time evaporates and leaves you with no time for family and relaxation, which is some of the most important time of all.

The key to time management is to be proactive, not reactive. If you are constantly chasing the bouncing ball, you are behind it. If you plan ahead and are realistic in your planning, you can make it all happen – without the exhaustion.

Top Six Tips for Managing Your Time

Here are some tips and strategies to help you plan your time and get it all done:

1) Make a list
Keep a list of what you need to accomplish. Choose the top six things to do today. Do the hardest one first. Give yourself a sense of accomplishment on your first task – it will help keep you focused but not overwhelmed.

2) Touch something only once
This is a tough one: if you touch it, take action on it. If you can’t do it right away, put it in a file and write it on your calendar and plan a time when you can get to it.

3) Use descriptive subject lines on your emails
You know how it goes, you write an email and someone replies to it. Then you respond back and they respond to your response and the next thing you know, there are ten to fifteen emails bouncing back and forth and the actual subject has completely changed.

If you keep the subject line applicable to the information, it’s easier to go back and find the information as the conversation changed.

time-clock4) Set time limits for tasks
In addition to choosing your top six projects to work on, you will need to schedule time for necessary things like checking emails and marketing your business.

Set a time limit – use a timer if necessary. It may seem silly, but if you start checking and updating your company Facebook page and then find yourself drifting off and checking what your friend had to say on a subject, time can fly by and you haven’t achieved what you set out to do.

Schedule a finite amount of time for email, social media, etc. during work hours. And when that timer goes off, move on to the next.

5) Eliminate clutter
Your desk should not be a catch-all place for every scrap of paper. All those sticky notes are calling out and distracting you each time you look up and see them.

Have your desk clear and clean when you start, take out the file you are working on, work on it, and then put it away. Leave your desk clean and orderly for the following day. You’ll be surprised at how it helps de-clutter your head, too.

6) Schedule time off
When you’re scheduling, don’t forget to schedule some time off. Take at least one full day off each week – and I mean a full 24 hours – no checking emails or doing small things just to get them off your list. Be disciplined.

Take the kids to the beach, clean up the yard, go to the gym, head out to dinner with some friends, stay home and read a book, whatever you enjoy. When your next working day comes around, you will feed refreshed and ready to go.

And for some more simple tips on making your time work for you, check out our post on Setting Up Systems in your business.

With a little planning and a lot of discipline, you can accomplish your goals.
Then you’ll find that time is on your side…yes it is!

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