Are you managing your time or is your time managing you?

Many of the business owners I work with come to me exhausted, discouraged, and at the end of their ropes.  “There’s not enough time in a day,” they tell me.  “I’m working harder than ever just to keep my head above water.  I know I need to spend more time focusing on strategic growth, but how will I ever find it?”

If that sounds familiar, then follow the steps below and take action to transform your life to “find” the time for the tasks that really matter for you and your business…

Here’s what you do…

  1. Learn the Four Quadrants of Effective Time Management. This framework comes from Dr. Steven Covey’s classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  In it, he posited that there are four quadrants into which all tasks fall:
time_management

The first quadrant, important and urgent, consists of things you simply must do NOW:  a crying child, a fire, and so on.

The second quadrant, important and not urgent, is the “quality time” quadrant — it consists of critical tasks that can be scheduled in advance.  Working on your business plan, personal recreation, and bonding with family belong here.

The third quadrant consists of not important and urgent tasks.  These are distractions and interruptions, unimportant emails, tasks, and phone calls that compete for your attention in the moment.

The fourth quadrant, not important and not urgent, is the “time-wasting” quadrant: online games, trivia, unproductive meetings and so on.

  1. Track the Way You Spend Your Time.   Your next step is to begin tracking everything you do for at least one business week.  Write everything down, either as you do it, or every 3-4 hours.  At the end of the day, go back and assign a quadrant to each of your tasks.  If you are like most, this will be a very illuminating experience.
  1. Delegate.  I know, delegation is hard for independent, high-charging entrepreneurs who want to make sure everything is done right and don’t feel comfortable leaving their fate in someone else’s hands.  But if you ever want to turn your business into a revenue-producing asset, you simply MUST master this skill.

After you’re done tracking your time for the week, go through your logs and identify every task you could have given to someone else.  Then, begin the process of assigning those tasks to others.  It might require that you do some restructuring of your employees’ job descriptions (though in many cases, you can hand the tasks over without too much trouble).

This can be a particularly challenging step, so for help, schedule your FREE Time Management Strategy Session with me.

  1. Fill the Staff Gaps.  You might find that you don’t have sufficient staff to cover the workload once you identify the tasks you really should be delegating.  That’s when it’s time to recruit new people.
  1. Plan your day.Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don’t start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time.
  1. Use a Default Calendar.   Your default calendar shows you what to do each hour of each day to be optimally effective.  You block the most important things in your schedule as an appointment with yourself…so that you can hold yourself accountable and achieve lasting success.

Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done. Also, remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results.

If you need further help with managing your time more effectively and releasing your time to live your dreams, schedule your FREE Time Management Strategy Sessionwith me. In this session, I will help you identify the specific actions you need to take to release your time and provide you with a Time Study Tool that I use with my clients to improve your effectiveness.

 

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