The idea of time management sounds so good, right? Being able to manage your time, and in theory, get everything done that needs to be done? As a business owner, a mom of two littles, and a wife, I’m convinced the only way I’ll ever get everything done is if every day suddenly has 48 hours, instead of 24. The other option is to clone myself and be in two places at once.
Since neither of those options are going to happen, I’ve had to figure out how to make my 24 hours work for me. As a mom, former teacher, and now business owner, I have learned and tried MANY time management tips throughout the years. Some tips worked for me for a short time, and some never worked. Others changed my life!
I mentioned that some of the tips I’ve tried never worked for me. That doesn’t mean they were bad tips. It just means that I did not find them helpful. They basically didn’t have a positive effect on my focus to manage my time and find balance in my life.
The tips I’m sharing below are my top 5 time management tips, as a small business owner. Many of these tips can, and should be applied to other areas of your life. They may not be your top 5, and they may not work for you at all. My hope is that you’ll find at least one of the tips beneficial in your life.
5 Tips for Time Management
#1 Be Okay Knowing You CAN’T Do It All
Take that in. Yep, I said it. You cannot do it all. It’s impossible. You are one person. Our culture tries to tell us that we can do it all, and if we don’t do it all we’re failing. That’s not true. Photos on social media show spotless houses and pinterest inspired treats. Nobody is going to post photos of a messy kitchen or piles of laundry in the laundry room. I know I’m not! I’ve got a kitchen that needs to be cleaned and piles of laundry to catch up on, but nobody needs to see that! I am real and honest and I will repeat to you over and over that you can’t do it all.
It took me a long time to accept that I can’t do it all. I still struggle with it and have to remind myself daily that it’s okay. Some days I get everything on my to-do list accomplished. Some days I get nothing accomplished. All I can do each day, is do my best, and know that I’m enough, just as I am.
#2 Have a Plan
I am a list maker, and I have lists for everything. You know that person who adds something to her list just to cross it off? That’s me. All of these lists serve a purpose. Each day I look at my schedule, and my many lists, and choose the items that I want/need to accomplish that day. Those items become my plan for my day. The days that I don’t look at my lists, and make a plan, are the days that I’m scattered and all over the place. I often find myself at the end of days like those wondering what I actually did that day.
While having a plan is necessary and sets you up for success, it’s important to remember that often in life, plans fail. However, failed plans don’t have to mean that you automatically give up. To read more on how to deal when plans fail, click here.
#3 Organize Your Time
Once you have a plan for what and how you want to accomplish something, it’s important to organize your time. I use a few different techniques to organize my time. Time blocking seems to work the best and help me be the most efficient. I like to group the items on my plan and then block off time to complete them all. For example, I might look at all of the posting that needs to be done on social media, and decide that from 9-10am, that’s what I’ll be doing. Then from 10-11am, I might be answering e-mails, messages and texts.
Some days I don’t have big chunks of time open without interruption. On those days, I take a look at the items on my plan, and I rank them. Then I just start completing the items in order. Here’s a tip for ranking the items on your plan… Always put the items you are dreading FIRST on your list. Yep, you read that right. if you can get those items done first, you won’t be thinking how much you’re dreading them all day. Plus you’ll be feeling like a rockstar when you cross those items off your plan, and the rest of your day will be a breeze.
#4 Avoid Time Sucks
You may be wondering what a time suck is. Well, it’s essentially anything that sucks your time, and takes you away from your intended focus. I have a love hate relationship with Facebook. Facebook is an essential part of my business. It’s how I am able to connect with customers, friends, and team members all over the country. But it’s so easy to get on there to create a post, and then ten minutes later be scrolling through my newsfeed trying to remember what I was doing. I have the same relationship with Instagram. Basically, as essential as all social media sites are to my business, they can also be huge time sucks, if I’m not careful.
Truly, anything can be a time suck, I suggest taking one week and writing down all tasks that you do, and the time it takes you to do them. At the end of the week, go back and evaluate all of your tasks. That will hopefully give you an idea of what areas you may be wasting time and where you can improve your use of your time.
#5 Accept Help and Delegate Tasks
This might have been the hardest tip for me to fully implement. You see, I need to be in control. I love to be in control. I like to have things done a certain way, and often think that I’m the only one who can do them. Once I was able to accept that I can’t do it all, I was also able to realize, and accept, that I needed help.
Help doesn’t have to mean that you hire an assistant and put them on your payroll. Help could be a friend or family member that you barter with, in exchange for their help. Once you have help, it’s important to delegate tasks that you either don’t like to do, or that don’t make you money. Despite my desire to have my towels folded a certain way, I now happily accept that my husband is willing to fold them. If you wrote down all of your weekly tasks to help determine your time sucks, I suggest going back to that list. Circle all of the tasks that you either don’t like, or don’t make you money. Those are the tasks that you should look into delegating.
I’d love to hear any of your favorite tips for time management. You can connect with me here to share, or ask any questions you might have.
You can also watch me in action, in my online community here.