Time Management Techniques – Race Against Time

Do you feel like a hamster on a treadmill? Are you finding you don’t have enough time to get the things done that you need to get done? Are you not able to leave your work when you leave for the day?

You may be ready to reincorporate some time management techniques into your life.

Time Management – The Never Ending Task

I don’t know anyone who wants to start a business in order to create themselves a job they’re tethered to. Entrepreneurs want time freedom, financial freedom, and to make a difference. Entrepreneurs don’t want to create a 24/7 job that sucks the very life out of them.

Unfortunately, as a business grows many business owners struggle to find balance with the many differing demands on their time. If you feel like you’ve begun to tread water instead of riding the surf, or if you simply want to become more efficient and productive, keep reading!

Most often entrepreneurs continue to think about their work even when they “check out”, it’s a difficult thing to turn off. However, turning off the work brain is a necessity.

Here are some tips to help you tame the Time Beast, learn to really check out, and become more productive to boot!

Tip One: Time Blocking.

You’ve probably heard it before, but it may be time to hear it again. Time blocking is simply opening up your calendar and making yourself appointments. I use my Google Calendar and color code my time according to the activity. Appointments are green (big surprise – green means go), creative time is orange (just because I love orange), etc. etc.

Personally I like to time block in 1-1 ½ hour increments. When I get into a project I need to settle in and focus. If you block longer than an hour, be aware that you must take some breaks. Your creative brain and your body need a break. Standard attention span for a project is about 40 minutes. You have to come up for air. Even looking up from your task, and stretching is a great way to push reset.

When you block time for projects you must turn off distractions. Email, phone, open door, etc. are a huge detriment to your productivity. As hard as it may seem, really guard that project time from interruptions. Your brain needs it.

Tip Two: Plan Your Day.

Schedule your time, again, Time Blocking and lists (to do lists, project lists, whatever you want to call it, just do it). When you don’t plan your day, your day plans you. You end up being reactive rather than proactive. The next email, phone call, or crisis is where your attention goes. If you spend all day putting out fires this is a red flag for the need to plan your day and time block

At the end of the day every day take stock of what you’ve accomplished and think about and plan for the next day’s agenda. This is a great time to evaluate, even if it very briefly, what you’ve done and what you need to do. Adjust your list expectations, get satisfaction from crossing things off, start to re-evaluate how much time a project might take. Plan and prepare for the next day. This way you can shut your brain off.

Tip Three: Plan Your Week.

Block off extra time on a Friday to look at your bigger picture. Don’t cram work right until you need to rush off. If you do you will definitely take your work home. Blocking off time on your Friday prior to your weekend will allow you to dump those things that are still in your brain onto paper or onto your digital list. 

It can be difficult to take time at the end of the week to review your week but it’s of vital importance if you are wanting to let your mind check out of work and focus on your other priorities like family, exercise, relationships, and hobbies. Research shows that you need time to unplug if you’re to be your most creative. Here’s an excellent read on the subject: Rest

Some experts suggest time walking in half hour increments, others suggest longer periods of time. Some recommend planning your entire day from wake to sleep, others want you to leave open spots. This is not a one-size-fits-all deal. Just begin. Start incorporating these times blocking and planning tips. You see what floats your boat and what serves your needs the best.


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