It’s going on 2 months of the nationwide stay-at-home order for the United States and an increasing number of people are getting stir-crazy being stuck inside. This is doubly true for entrepreneurs who have to worry about their families and businesses–all while struggling to maximize productivity with kids and spouses occupying much more time than they usually would. That’s why we tapped Dr. Sandi Williams to share her award-winning time management strategies for entrepreneurs to help you optimize your workday and destress during the quarantine.
- Time Management: A Mindset
- 1. Develop a Routine
- 2. Set Aside a Strategic Block of Time
- 3. Find Your Productivity Time Zone
- 4. Track Your Time
- 5. Delegate Tasks
- Final Thoughts
Time Management: A Mindset
Let’s face it: most people believe that money is our most valuable resource in the world hands down. The truth is, you can always get more money – there are endless ways and means (more than a few of which we share on our blog).
However, once time is gone, it’s gone! It’s the rarest commodity in this world so it’s important to not only cherish it, but utilize it to the fullest. This is especially true for small businesses owners and entrepreneurs.
A lot of us tend to rely on the “as long as it gets done” technique which results in rushed work, pressing deadlines, and stress. Having to juggle life, work, and personal happiness is hard enough as a 9-to5er, toss managing a business into the mix and you’ve got the perfect storm.
The reality is: the more productive you are, the more growth you’re going to see in your business so time management is arguably the most important skill to master as an entrepreneur. And now, while our priorities are muddled and distractions are all over the place, is the perfect time to learn how.
Time management is a function of self-discipline, and you cannot truly see productivity until you dig into that mindset.
1. Develop a Routine
This first time management strategy is probably one most commonly shared across the web. But, that’s because it’s the most effective.
Your time is extremely valuable. You know this! But that also means that mastery of time can be your most important resource. How can you accomplish this?
By developing a routine.
No, we’re not talking about a simple morning routine where you brush your teeth, wash your face, maybe throw on some makeup or shave your face. We’re talking about a strategic and intentional routine to maximize productivity in your work day, week, and year.
It’s the most powerful thing you can do to start effectively managing your time because it actually reprograms your brain!
So, how do you get started?
An effective routine should be based around your goals and objectives, whether they be for your business or personal life. Plan your day, week, and month based on the goals you have set for yourself, and the work that needs to be done.
You can set aside time each month, once a quarter, or even once a year to plan for your routine. That way you’ve got a bird’s eye view of the things you need to accomplish and breaking it down into actionable chunks will be much easier to do.
Soon, you’ll not only know what you need to do, but be prepared to get it done by integrating into your routine and strategic block of time.
2. Set Aside a Strategic Block of Time
Once you know what you have to work on, you can dig into your action items by creating a strategic block of time–proposed by Brian Morgan in The 12-Week Year–that will automatically serve as a trigger for your brain to get (and stay) to work.
The brain is a powerful thing that can and will help you get and stay more productive, you’ve just got to know how to hack it!
Block off the same amount of time every single day, whether it be 30 minutes or 3 hours. Make it a quiet time, no calls, no emails, no distractions! Before you know it, those few hours will become an essential part of your routine and you’ll start to do it on autopilot.
For example, Dr. Sandi takes 2-3 hours out of the day, 4 to 5 hours a week to dedicate to her strategic blocks of time. She doesn’t take client calls, send follow up emails or even eat lunch during this time. Instead, she remains focused on high-level tasks that she needs to get done. Not only does it keep her on track for her goals, it also cuts back on the amount of time she has to spend on work in a week.
It’s easy once you get the hang of it.
Since you already planned for this part of your routine, you won’t have to spend time worrying about what to focus on. You know you need to finish that eBook, course, or spreadsheet during your strategic block of time.
Separate your work into 30 to 90 minute intervals during this time. Don’t try to force yourself to work for hours and hours on end with no breaks. By stepping away from the work for even a few minutes, you’ll come back with a renewed focus and a better perspective. Just don’t allow your phone to distract you from completing your task for the day.
Then, after you’ve finished – you can take a longer break to decompress before you jump back into another strategic block of time!
Applying this simple but effective time management strategy can help entrepreneurs see more productivity not only their day, but their overall business.
3. Find Your Productivity Time Zone
Now that you’ve set aside those few hours of strategic productivity, make sure that they fall into your zone of perfect productivity. This time management strategy is another simple but powerful hack to help entrepreneurs make the most of their time.
Some people are the most productive first thing in the morning, when they’re fresh from a good night’s sleep and can’t wait to dive into the day. Others like to burn the midnight oil in favor of sleeping in a little later the next day.
All that matters is what works best for you.
It makes no difference if you’re diurnal or nocturnal when it comes to getting your work done, it’s important to be aware of it so you can work around it. This allows you to cut down on the time it takes you to complete your work by identifying when you work best and are most productive.
And it’s easy to shift this to suit your needs, especially during quarantine when you’ve got a little more flexibility in your work schedule.
4. Track Your Time
After setting aside your strategic block of time during your productivity time zone, make sure you track your time so you can go back and make sure you’re using it effectively.
Time tracking with a dedicated time tracking tool like Clockify can help you determine not only what you’re spending your time on during the day, but how much and how effectively you’re doing so.
It’s easy to think: “Wow, I got so much done” in the moment. But if you were to step back, look at how much time it took you and analyze what else you could have done in that time frame, you may see that you need to make some adjustments in how you work.
This could be as simple as needing to go into a different room from your kids or spouse. Or maybe turn off the music so you don’t have a little dance break every 10 minutes or so. One small fix could help you unlock even more potential for productivity.
But you’ll never know if you don’t take the time to track it!
If you’re honest in documenting your time and activities, you’ll be able to identify some strengths, weaknesses, and pivot to have them work in your favor.
5. Delegate Tasks
This may not seem like a time management strategy that entrepreneurs can use to maximize productivity during quarantine but trust me, it is!
Entrepreneurs have the tendency to overwork themselves by taking on any and every task related to their business. Been there, experienced that.
It’s a well known fact that you can’t be good at everything. In fact, you can’t be good at most things. So why waste your time trying to be a master graphic designer or web developer when you have an employee or colleague in that area of expertise.
Though it may be hard to let go, delegating tasks in your business will free up your time to complete more high-level tasks, reduce the amount of time you have to spend working, and ultimately cut back on your stress levels.
And save you from burning out and giving up on something that you need to get done after spending all day on it trapped at home.
When you have more on your plate than you can effectively handle, it’s time to delegate. You and your business will be better for it in the long run.
If you’re saying: “But I’m a solopreneur, I have to do everything myself!”
Time management is an essential skill that entrepreneurs need to master in order to see growth in their businesses. It’s a function of self-discipline so getting in the proper mindset is the all important first step to effective time management.
Develop an intentional routine based on goals and objectives in your business to ensure that your time isn’t just planned out, but best spent on the things you want and need to get done.
Commit a few hours, a few times a week to strategically blocking out your time for productivity. Make this block a part of your routine to see productivity increase even while you’re trapped indoors.
Make sure you identify and work around when you’re the most productive during the day. Track your time to ensure that all of your activities are an efficient and effective use of your time.
Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to free up your own time. It will lead to more productivity and better quality work for you and your business!
Though the outbreak of COVID-19 and quarantine orders are daunting, there’s always a silver lining to a dark cloud. Use this time to master effective time management strategies that will make you more productive in your business.
Make sure to check out our other articles on how you can make quarantining a blessing in your business on the TSP Blog!
You can get in contact with Dr. Sandi Williams at https://awealthofwomen.org/
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