I have to laugh at the number of times we all make reference to the way time flies… or ask where the days go as we are left to wonder why we never have enough.
When I sat down and asked myself the same question after continuously feeling frustrated for not accomplishing much at the end of each day, I came to an astonishing realization that I’ll share with you so the next time you say that time flies… It’ll all make more sense:
You see, we only have 24 hours in a day. Multiply this by 7 and we come to 168 hours per week. Consider on average that 56 hour is spent sleeping (if we’re lucky); in essence we only have 111 hours per week to get anything done!
This reality has taught me to become very protective over my time, in fact I’m almost a little quirky to a fault, but have found that it really is the only way to roll if you want to make good use of it.
Since working from home and building my business I have not only had to become very clear on how it spend my time, but also ask some pretty pointed questions as to what’s important and what isn’t, so I can ensure I accomplish everything I need to before the time flies away…for good!
I had to take into consideration all the time I spend operating my business, cleaning my house, running errands, shopping, exercising and looking after my family and trying to care for myself at the same time… as well as fit a little down time in there too. It became abundantly clear that if I wanted to be more effective I simply had to improve my time management.
I have to admit that I am not the most organized person on the planet, but I thought I’d share what has seemed to work well to keep me on track:
I decided to make separate ‘Gotta Do’ lists for my family life, my business life, and fit a little ‘me’ time in there too.
Every night I sit down and list in the order of priority the things I must achieve the next day on two separate pages. This is key!
I jot down my top five ‘Gotta Do’s” i.e.: 5 prioritized tasks for work and 5 tasks pertaining to family.
I won’t bore you with the all the gory details about on my family list , but if you are building an online business, or even considering it, these point just might help you get the most out of your days before your time flies out the window like mine used to.
In order to gain control, I set clear cut rules for friends and family. I do not take personal calls between certain hours of the day. I have had to develop the mindset that just because the phone rings, I do not have to answer it.
The only reason I don’t turn the phone off completely is in case my children need to reach me or of course if a partner or potential partner needs help. (Naturally)
I rarely socialize during the week, nor do I encourage visitors. (OK… I’m sounding like a recluse! ) I will admit that I never have been much for the ‘drop in’ but I have found since working from home some people innocently’ assume’ you have more time than you do… and pop by un announced.
In order to avoid these interruptions, I situate myself in my upstairs office at the back of the house. This way I can’t hear the door anyway!
I know it sounds a little selfish… but it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, I love to entertain, I love to visit, but there is definitely a right time and a wrong time for me… the unexpected visit during work hours is definitely against my grain.
Once I drop my children off at school and get back home, I like to get the house whipped into shape and get the breakfast dishes cleared away before I start my work day.
In order to get this out of the way I set an egg timer and spend 10 minutes per room. I.e.: 10 minutes to clean the kitchen, 10 minutes each for 3 bedrooms and 10 minutes for each bathroom.
It’s amazing what you can do in an hour if you bust your buns. Although it often causes me break into a sweat some days at least this way, it’s done and it doesn’t get on my nerves for the rest of the day.
(I do a good clean on the weekends by the way!)
Before I sit down at my desk in the morning, I ensure I have my coffee or water with me and have made any pit stops to the powder room. This way there is no reason for me to leave my office and ensures I don’t get side tracked!
Once at my desk I completely close down email and only check it every 2-3 hours. This way I am not constantly interrupted by the alert every time someone sends me one.
Skype is also turned off during cert ain hours of the day.
During my quiet time, I work on one item at a time on my list and attempt to finish each task completely before moving on to the next.
I set aside 90 minutes each day to do follow up and talk to partners and associates. I schedule this in the night before if possible, and take into consideration time zones, etc in order to determine the best time to make them.
I never have the TV on. I’m not much of a TV buff anyway… and if there is something I really want to watch, I record it for later. (Which is rare!)
Now please don’t get me wrong, I am far from being Martha Stewart. I realize this may seem all too perfect.
The truth is life happens all the time; things crop up, glitches throw wrenches in the works, I do acquire additional projects in between, and often I feel like my hair is ablaze and I’m climbing the slippery slope.
The point is that once you have your ‘Gotta Do’ list, you have an anchor and somewhere to place your focus.
On some days you can sail straight through your list with a feeling of immense pride while other days you might feel niggled and have to carry a thing or two over for the next day.
On some days I do like to get up early well before the children and sneak a little time at my computer in the quiet of the morning or even spend an hour after they are in bed at night. This is bonus time!
As for my personal life, I have also realized the importance of saying ‘no’ occasionally.
If I’m asked out for lunch or receive a phone call during my personal time, I only say ‘yes’ if I really want to go. If my friends call just to kill time, I ensure I let them know up front that I only have 5 minutes to chat and then must run.
I make sure that I do what I either want or need to do in order to make my life run more effectively.
Since practicing this routine for the last few weeks, I’ve come to place a real value on time and how to better utilize it.
Once you become organized you will find you have more control and even though time flies, you can often make good use of it before it disappears for good!
Do you have any time management Secrets to share with the rest of us? Leave your tips below!