Is it really possible to create more time?
“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”
~ Jim Rohn
As a business owner or entrepreneur, time is money. So if your time is your most valuable asset, how do you use it wisely?
We all have the same amount of time – 24 hours in a day – so why is it some people are more productive than others? How do they manage to achieve so much more in the same amount of time? We can’t create more time, but we can learn to use it more effectively to get the most out of it. For starters are you a reactive or proactive person? Proactive people typically tend to achieve more because they are really clear on what they want to achieve. They are organised and they set goals (or as I prefer to call them intentions) to keep them on track. They are also VERY selective with how they use their time.
So here are my top 5 tips on how to create more time and boost your productivity:
Tip #1 – Get organised
Start your day as you mean to go on. Set aside a few minutes first thing to note down your goals for the day, get really clear on what you want to achieve. Identify the tasks for the day and then be sure to schedule them into your calendar to make sure you stick to them. Then spend a few minutes tidying your workspace before you get to work (better still, do all of this the night before so you are raring to go in the morning and use Sundays to plan out your week).
One great way to effectively plan and organise your time is to bullet journal. If you are more of a pen and paper lover than a Google Calendar user, head on over and check out bulletjournal.com. It’s a great way to add some some structure to your life and your business. I have been bullet journaling for a month and absolutely love it. It has revolutionised how I plan and stay organised both in my personal life and my business. If you like simplicity another two great planners to look at are: Best Self and Passion Planner.
Tip #2 – Avoid distractions and getting sidetracked
This might sound harsh, but people can be what the time management world refers to as your biggest time bandits. I can guarantee if you note down the number of times you are interrupted in the day, you would be very surprised. This includes your phone (and any notifications you might have switched on), your email, your partner/husband/wife/mum/dad….. friends.
Learn to say “no” more than you say “yes”. Tough love is often the best, so set really clear boundaries with friends, family and any work colleagues. If you get interrupted and it really isn’t a great time, don’t be afraid to say no and arrange a time when it is better for you.
Get an answer phone or look into a call answering service, switch off notifications on your computer and phone when you need to get your head down. Schedule time in your diary to respond to emails so you don’t become a slave to your inbox by having it open all day. Ideally you should look at reading and responding to emails min morning and mid afternoon, the rest of the time use an out of office to say that you are busy working with clients and respond at set times.
The same goes for social media, which can be a huge distraction especially if you use it for your business. Schedule time in your diary to connect and be social in groups and on other Facebook pages, to avoid spending hours catching up on what everyone else is up to.
Tip #3 – Delegate sooner rather than later
One of the best ways to create more time and also more space for you to focus on your business is to look at outsourcing. Look at what you do on a daily basis and ask yourself, ‘do I really need to do this, or could this be done by someone else?’.
Your focus should be on the most important tasks in your business, the ones that only you can do. All the other time consuming tasks should be handed over someone else to do. If you continue to do them yourself, you will end up costing yourself and your business money and essentially working for less than the minimum wage. For example, if you are spending too much time on household chores, hire a cleaner! It might seem like an expense to begin with, but in the long term it will be worth it.
Learning to delegate is a skill and can be hard to start, but once you get the hang of it you will wish you had done it sooner! Check out my other post about should you hire or outsource to find out what’s best for you.
Automation is also another great way to save time. Scheduling social media posts is just one example of this, but there are many different ways you can systemise and automate your business to save you even more time (and money).
Tip #4 – Eat that frog!
Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.
~ Mark Twain
Your frog is your most important task, which may on occasions also be the task you least want to do and are most likely to procrastinate about. If you are interested, Brain Tracey has written a number of books titled eat that frog, which look at effective time management and preventing procrastination.
The most successful people in the world only focus on the most important things. They don’t try to do everything on their To-Do list, because quite simply it isn’t possible and you will only be left feeling as though you haven’t achieved anything.
By tackling your most important task first, you prevent yourself from procrastinating and will inevitably get more done and create more time. If you leave it until the end of the day, the chances are you will have filled your time with other unnecessary and meaningless tasks, just to avoid doing it.
Tip #5 – Know when you are at your best
One of the biggest advantages of running your own business, is that since you are the boss so you can choose when you work. Are you more of an early riser or a night owl? Identifying when you work at your best and scheduling to do tasks during that time will enable you to achieve more in less time. You will be more awake and therefore more productive and the work you do during that time will be of a much better quality.
Bonus Tip – Download RescueTime
If you have already tried to implement some or all of these tips and you still feeling as though you don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done, download RescueTime. It will enable you to see where you are spending your time during the day, so you can identify where you need to be more disciplined and thereby create more time.