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If Time is Money, How are You Spending Yours?

This blog post comes as a result of a networking meeting I went to where the facilitator asked – What are the most pressing issues in your business? With each answer to this question there was some discussion and when one person answered that she struggles with time management – we all jumped in asking questions and providing some solutions to our own time management issues.  We were off to discover how we each could benefit from the tools and techniques that the other people in the group had to offer because time management is a big problem for all of us.

This plan works great for someone who has a virtual office if you stay on task. Working from a home office can be a little distracting if you are used to being in a regular office setting, but hang in there and you will conquer this change. You might even find it to be your new norm.

What is the solution to this problem?

As I began contemplating writing about this topic I thought ” I’m such a fraud, what do I know about time management?” I can be so easily be distracted by incoming emails and phone calls that by the end of the day I look at my to do list and wonder what did I really accomplish and where my day went. So, with that fraud mentality in mind I set out to do my research and discover…. “What is time management and How can it be Managed?”

I read articles and listened to webinars and podcasts, good time management is obviously a system of organizing one’s time. Because of the depth of this subject I will break the information into three blogs:

Blog #1 How my research changed the way I now successfully manage my time.

Blog #2 A deep dive into productivity tips and the tools that can help manage our time effectively.

Blog #3 How successful businesspeople manage their time and how we can use these tips in our business

Developing a Personal Time Management System

  1. Determine how I was spending each day from the time I got up to the time I went to bed. This took some thought considering each day I have different responsibilities:
    • Monday: Office day, plan the week.
    • Tuesday and Thursday afternoons: Pick up my grandchildren from school spend the afternoons and evenings with them.
    • Wednesday: Client 1-1 and client calls
    • Thursday: Attend weekly Neighborhood NAWBO meetings as Board Chair.
    • Friday: Reviewing the week – replying to emails and following
  2. After I took a deep dive into how I spend my time I decided to identify the MIT’s (Most Important Tasks) or (Most Important Times) in the schedule each week. The MIT’s were suggested by one of the people at the meeting as her way of accomplishing her tasks. I turn off all distractions, yes all electronics, emails, music, etc., for 60 to 90 minutes in order to research blog topics, create an outline to teach a class, video content, client presentations, etc. It’s amazing how much I can get done in that period of time.
  3. Mindset: I decided to change my attitude, my current behavior, my current way of thinking about how I manage my time or let my time manage Yes that’s critical, I had to embrace this new way of dealing with time and accepting it as my new life if I was going to accomplish my goals (goal setting is another story to be left for a different blog).

My New Life Planner

I opened my Google Calendar and set to work creating a schedule for myself that I call my New Life Planner. This is it!

  1. Add the tasks that are the most important to me each week like Picking up my Grandchildren from school and meeting with clients.
  2. Add commitments I have made – the days and times of meetings and networking events and follow up calls and emails.
  3. Schedule time to connect with current clients and identify which ones on which days.
  4. Develop new clients through Digital Marketing.
  5. Time for writing blog posts and continuing to learn by listening to podcasts and webinars.
  6. Time to read and respond to email each day.
  7. The MIT’s for each day need to cover how I want and need to spend each day from morning to evening: time to get up, exercise, be at my desk, eat, meditate, listen to webinars/podcasts, blogging, weekly business meeting, etc. I plugged in all of the things that I would do daily including how much time I would allow for each task. Time blocking.
  8. Set aside time to add new projects.
  9. Allow buffer time for things like haircuts, Dr. appt., dentist, picking up the mail, etc.
  10. Review daily to do list against priorities and allow only 3 – 5 items a day, at most or I’ll be back to the same old behavior.

As of this writing, My New Life Planner is going well. I’m finding I’m getting more done with less stress. I’ll send an update as time goes on. In the meantime, I’ll be working on my time management blog post #2 and the tools that I find most effective.

Let me know what you are doing to keep your time manageable and what tools you are using, I’d love to share them with our readers. This plan works great for someone who has a virtual office, as working from a home office can be a little distracting. Hang in there and you will conquer this change. You might even find it to be your new norm.

I’d love to hear from you.
~Julie