Confession: I have a small issue with time management. Okay, so maybe it’s a little bigger than small. The truth is I never developed a time management strategy. As on organized, over-achiever, I think I believed I shouldn’t need a plan. I thought I should just innately know how to set goals and get everything done.
If you are an entrepreneur haven’t developed a strategy for effectively managing you time, you might start running around and putting out fires, imagining that every task that pops up is oh-so-very time sensitive. This leaves a state of crisis management, moving from one crisis to the next. Stressful? Completely. Efficient? Not likely. And, face it, efficiency is the bee’s knees. Especially when you are a one-man/woman show.
Reality check. No longer being a cog in the machine, where you are told what to do and how to do it, means time management will have to be addressed at some point, unless you want to go crazy. This is a difficult task, for several reasons.
Number one, you have many jobs. Not just one button to push over and over, but an entire system to run. If you are flying solo, everything is on you: billing, quotes, replying to emails, tweets, calls, etc, marketing, networking, the actual work you are paid for and more. Number two, things do come up that are timely and require immediate action. Like a baby needing to be fed or a cat having kittens – oops, wait, that’s just my life. I’m sure you have your own tiny emergencies everyday. Number three, other things that get in the way. Your significant other texting/calling you, reading blogs (this happens to me a lot) and, and, and… Not to mention all the things that can distract you if you work from home, i.e., your cat meowing constantly or the laundry piling up and calling your name.
The solution? If only it was so clear-cut. But, here’s a couple suggestions, test driven by me.
Schedules help. Have a regular time to do everything. Maybe you go through your email in the morning and read blogs in the afternoon. Or maybe you do you billing every Friday and write your blog every Monday. If a schedule becomes a routine, it helps even more. For example, I’m now in a groove where I first thing I do in the morning is check in to see what I should be tweeting and posting on any given day. I then post, schedule or save them in a document with an approximate time to post. Then, I’m not looking for content to post all day, I’ve got it ready. And I don’t even think about when I’m going to do it.
Prioritize. This is so simple. I don’t know why I resisted doing it. Every morning I make a simple list of all the tasks I need to complete that day (I love lists!). Then I number it, most important task to least important. And then I do something revolutionary – I stick to the list. I force myself to. If something urgent comes up, I do it and then go right back to the list. (Did I mention I love crossing things off lists even more than I love lists?) Just crossed off: My blog post. ☺!