One of the biggest business owners’ bug-bears is having to work over each night, because there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done!
Well, there are certain things in life you simply can’t be late for, like catching a plane. So how is it we can make these deadlines and not others?
The simple answer is, we plan for it. Plan effectively and you can achieve anything – including getting home on time.
What exactly do we mean when we talk about time management in business? We can’t ‘manage’ time, it keeps rolling along whether we like it or not. What we can manage, however, is how we plan our time, how we prioritise what we do and make active decisions about when we do it.
Use the example of planning for a trip abroad, and make your departure time from your working day as much a priority as catching a plane, and you might suddenly find time management is manageable after all…
It’s a simple three step process:
1 – Know your deadline
Catching a plane has a distinct date and time allocated to it, so ensure you set your departure date and time in the same way. For some, this may be already set in stone – if they have to be at the school gates to pick up children, for example – but if you don’t have this time in mind, it’s all too easy to just keep working. A deadline adds a degree of urgency, which can force us to be more productive. Rather than pushing tasks aside thinking, ‘I’ll get to that later’, the mindset becomes ‘Let’s do it now as I have to be away by…’.
2 – Set it as a priority
Everyone knows catching a plane is a priority, but we don’t always set the same importance on home time. Why not? My previous blog here explains why burning the midnight oil can be counter-productive. Time away from the workplace is essential, and looking forward to that time away can give you the incentive you need to be more focused at your desk.
3 – Plan what you need to do and when
When you plan a trip away, there are a set number of things you need to do before you go. Book flights, book accommodation, arrange travel insurance, arrange transfers or car hire, make sure your passport is in date, pack etc. You’ll probably make a list, and there’s no question as to whether you tick everything off the list – you simply have to – so you make sure you set aside time to do these things.
When you plan for home time, you need to do the same. Make a list in the morning of what has to be done before departure. Prioritise the list and be realistic about what can be achieved in the time you have. If there are a number of things that could wait until the next day, put these at the end of the list as ‘will try to dos’ rather than ‘to dos’. Allocate times to the tasks, so you know your first hour is for phone calls, for example, and your second hour is to write up that urgent report… Now, this is the important bit, no procrastinating! There simply isn’t time! Stick to your timetable and stay focused on that deadline.
Sometimes, all it needs is a change in attitude and approach and you can achieve what you thought was impossible – effective time management that allows you to jet home each evening and enjoy some much needed rest and recuperation.
For further support and advice with managing time and workload, and making your business more profitable, contact Doug and request a free business review.