It is very well documented; I’m a Time Management freak. I believe that through the application of foundational prioritization and time management practices that any businessperson, executive or entrepreneur can double their productivity in 24 hours. And, over a year’s period this simple practice could be worth a fortune.
I have disciplined myself to planning each and every coming day the evening before. This, by the way, is a time honored principle first taught in the legendary book by Napoleon Hill “Think and Grow Rich” from 1937. I have set aside at least: 30 minutes, every evening for over 30 years in order to list, and then prioritize each and every task that I “Think” that I need to do tomorrow. This process creates my task plan for the coming day. The purpose of this plan is to force me to have the clarity necessary so that I’m always doing FIRST, the most important things that I could possibly be doing to move closer to my goals. No wasted time. No wasted effort.
I never go to bed at night without my “next-day” planning complete. I also teach this process to my Business Coaching clients. I have found that the number one issue plaguing business people, executives and entrepreneurs alike is their lack of a time management discipline.
But prioritization of tasks and managing the time to do them is only part of the equation. Throughout your day, there are Time Vampires everywhere. These are the people and things that will suck your business and personal life from you if you allow them to. They suck your time and disrupt your plan to get the most important things completed.
I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting thoughts on the “science” of managing time. I recently found an article in Entrepreneur.com by Mr. Jonathan Long. It’s always nice to find other TIME FREAKS out there willing to write about their research and thoughts. Mr. Long wrote, “Time is the most valuable commodity to an entrepreneur.” He then wrote about thirteen very simple “tips” that anyone and everyone might be able to use to make their day more productive. The interesting thing that Mr. Long includes in his list is his attention to using technology to help you with the day to day time management issues. His is not a system, but some great tips on some of the day to day application of Time Management principles. I thought that they are worth sharing here:
- Schedule “You” time. Set aside a block of time to get your personal stuff out of the way. Things such as paying bills and attending to personal emails can take away from your work.
- Disconnect when you need 100 percent focus. Preparing for an important meeting or a pitch? Turn off your mobile phone, close your email and route your office calls to voicemail. You will be more productive without the distractions.
- Maintain a “to-do” list. Keep an accurate list and cross tasks off as you complete them. Create your list at the end of each day for the next day — this allows you to attack the tasks as soon as your start your day.
- Don’t be scared of technology. Embrace technology. I’ve seen people at their desk waiting on hold, holding the phone to their ear. Throw a Bluetooth headset into the situation and you can answer emails or attack your to-do list while you wait.
- Say no. You may hate to disappoint people, but for your own productivity, learn how to say “no” to people. It isn’t always the greatest feeling, but it is impossible to appease everyone. If you said “yes” to everyone and every request you would have no time to do what you need to accomplish.
- Be ultra responsive. We all have iPhones and Smartphone’s, so use them. If you are out of the office and receive an email that you can easily address on the spot, do so, most require no more than a simple “yes” or “no” response. If you can reply while out of the office it eliminates wasted time when you get back.
- Eliminate negative energy. Nothing can drain your energy or ruin your day faster than individuals with negative energy. Dating someone who is negative about everything? Have a friend that dumps his or her sob story on you daily? Cut ties. Don’t let negative individuals take time out of your day.
- Don’t put off the non-glamorous tasks. When your “to-do” list has some unattractive tasks, they will consume your thoughts until they are completed. Knock them out first so you can have a clear head to plow through the rest of your tasks.
- Address problems or issues immediately.In that same vein, waiting to fix a problem can be the difference between a 15-minute quick solution and a complete mess that takes you days to clean up.
- Get physical. Get 30-minutes of physical activity in every morning before you start your day. You will have more energy throughout the day and you won’t feel sluggish. Feeling tired or lazy just simply sucks up valuable time. When I hit the gym each morning it gives me the energy to focus on my brand the entire day.
- Delegate. If you have a team or staff at your disposal, utilize them. Many entrepreneurs are so stubborn and think they can do it all. Delegating appropriate tasks will free up your time.
- Write everything down. Use the “notes” app on your Smartphone or use a traditional notepad and pen — and make sure it is always next to you. Have you ever sat down and tried to remember something from earlier as the clock ticks away? Precious time wasted!
- Keep a schedule. If you have tasks that require your attention each week, stick to a schedule. Things such as accounting, payroll and reporting can typically be done at the same time each week. Rather than scrambling to find time to get it done, establish a designated time and stick to it.
These are some great thoughts, and If I were you, I would start using them yesterday. You need to do all you can to master the issues of time management and task prioritization. So come on, let’s get freaky! It’ll be fun….and profitable.
If you struggle with having enough time in a day to do the most important things, give me a call or write. I have a task prioritization and time management system that you can learn in one day and double your productivity in the next 24 hours…guaranteed. This is what I do as a Master Business coach and we’re open for business.
As always, BE GREAT!