When you have a busy household, it can seem like your days just fly by. Trust me I’ve been there! You want to make the most out of your day but how can you do that without some effective time management strategies.
In order to grow your business in the daytime, and find more ways to spend time with your family in the evening, you need to come up with a game plan for your daily routine.
Take a look at the top 8 time management strategies you need to start using today.
Determine What You Are Spending Your Time On
The first thing you want to do before you even begin creating different strategies is to understand where exactly all of your time is going. Do you spend an hour each day watching sports, or does it really turn into 80 or 90 minutes at a time?
Do you expect to finish a task for your business in 20 minutes, but it really only takes you 10? These are some of the ways you can get to the root of your problems (and successes) when it comes to managing your time.
A typical day for me (on a school day) involves getting up between 6:30 and 7:00 AM to get the kids up for school. Once they are on the bus at 8 I usually make breakfast for myself, my wife, and our two youngest kids. After taking my 3-year-old to school at 9 I will normally let the baby play until 10:00/10:30, then lay her down for a nap.
This typically gives me three to four hours of time to focus solely on my business each day. Once she wakes up around 3:30 or 4:00, the older kids are all home and the next few hours are spent with them. Once everyone is in bed at 8:00/8:30, I normally spend another 30 to 45 minutes working on my business and finish the night relaxing with my wife.
It seems like you may have a hectic schedule if you have any kids at all, but you can find time to work on your business every day. Find an excellent app to track your time, and once you have your daily routine broken down it will make setting up the time management strategies that much easier.
Do Your Most Important Tasks (MITs) in the AM
When you have your little ones off to school and find yourself with some time to work on your business what do you normally do? Are you starting with the easiest tasks first to take a few things off of your to-do list? Or do you tackle the biggest things first to feel a greater sense of accomplishment?
If you get your day started by taking down those enormous tasks, it will help you later in the day by knowing you exhausted your most focused energy on the biggest issues of the day. You don’t want to go back and forth between easy and hard tasks. If you have to create a new freebie for your website do that before you respond to emails.
If you start with the easier projects by the time you get around to the bigger ones you may lose a lot of steam and push them off to the next day, and that can become a continuous cycle of how things won’t get done.
Eliminate All Distractions While Working
Are you like me and seem to constantly have a notification going off on your phone? Or you want to check how your fantasy team is doing on a Sunday afternoon? If so then you need to find ways to eliminate the distractions out of your daily routine. I typically have a three to four-hour window when my youngest daughter naps in the middle of the day.
During that time period, I am either working on social media, reading an ebook/participating in a course I may be taking or creating content.
I completely understand that my time window can change at a moments notice if she wakes up from her nap early, so I make sure every second counts. I place my phone on the charger out of reach, so unless someone calls me I don’t want to waste the energy going to pick up the phone because of one vibration.
You can do the same thing. As you start your business and look for ways to become more productive, you may find that having the television on as background noise may cause you to lose focus, but playing classical music can actually give you more motivation to write.
If you are using your desktop chances are you may be like me and have a million tabs open at once (a list of my tabs is listed in the picture below).
If this is also your problem try to move the current application or window into an area clear from distractions on your computer, and you can even download an app like Stayfocusd to eliminate the opportunity to go to websites that generally suck up all of your time (Facebook, Youtube, etc).
Create To-Do Lists at night for the next day
When you make your to-do list for the next day the night before, it helps you save 10-15 minutes in the morning. It may not seem like it is making a major impact on your overall long-term goals at first, but setting up your next day’s to-do list is actually creating the daily goals you will need to get those long-term goals done.
There are a number of ways you can create your to-do list, and some of the most simple ways that I have done so is by using the Reminder App on my iPhone, the Wunderlist App, and Trello.
I’ve used the Wunderlist App, but Trello is growing on me this time around (after failed attempts to use it in the past). As long as you use something, ANYTHING, to make a list the night before, you will thank yourself in the morning.
Another way to make the most out of your time each day is to become organized! I used to be the king of disorganization, and many of my hotel coworkers would describe my workstation as a tornado.
However, over the years I have become much more organized not only with physical paperwork but with my computer files as well (besides the millions of tabs above).
If you want to organize your business from a physical standpoint, make sure your work area is arranged to ensure maximum efficiency. Purchase a yearly calendar to either have it at your desk or on a wall, so you can write down any scheduled meetings or appointments you have.
For organization on the technological side of things, some options to consider will be to create a folder in your inbox for every client, pitches you may send, and anything else you feel is important for running your day to day business.
You should also create folders on your desktop for each client, and divide those folders up based on the different priorities for them.
When I managed a motel in Texas I made sure each client had their own folder in our Sales Department cloud, with subfolders pertaining to Invoices sent, invoices received, meetings, etc. It made finding things a lot easier than simply keeping hundreds or thousands of files in one large folder.
Also, don’t forget to purchase a few external flash drives! Keep one with you at all times and update it daily. You never know when it will come in handy!
Teach Your Kids Some Tasks to Help
Every parent has their own age range for when kids will start helping around the house. My wife and I try to get all of our kids to help clean up in some way, so they can understand that they have the ability to do something, and you can make helping out a fun game for them to play!
After you look at your time audit for a work, take a look at the tasks you may be able to give to your kids to squeeze out an extra 10-20 minutes into your business each day. This can include washing the dishes, vacuuming, taking out the trash, putting laundry away, or helping with pets.
These are just some of the things you can have your children do and if they are able to help you get an extra 20 minutes per day that turns out to an extra 87 hours in a 5 day work week for the entire year! What can you do with those extra 87 hours?! A whole heck of a lot if you stay focused and determined on your goals.
So find some chores for your children to do and work on improving your business!
Create Time Blocks for Your Family
Coming up with effective time management strategies isn’t just about improving your business, it’s also about improving your family time with your spouse and children. If you normally work on your busy from 9-5 or let’s say 10-2 as an example, you may also have to include doctors/dentists appointments, meetings at school, play dates, etc.
At the end of the day, everything you are doing to grow your own online business should be about improving the quality of life for your family, not just financially but emotionally as well.
The best way to do that is to carve out a specific time each day where you are unplugged from your business and focusing just on your family. I know it can be hard in the beginning as you get your business off the ground, but even taking 30 minutes to an hour to give them all of your love and attention will mean the world to them.
When our kids come home from school (roughly around 3:40), they do their homework and then read a book. After that, they are able to go into the den and play with a few toys or watch TV.
During that time I will come downstairs and hang out with them, and when I have shorter work days at my full-time hotel job on the weekends, we will sit down and watch football (they are all Eagles fans, unfortunately!!).
You can also designate a family game night where everyone sits around a table and you play board games. If you have a bunch of sore losers in your house it may be hard, and I am constantly saying that someone is cheating when I lose because it’s never our fault when we suck at a game right?
So use some of your time each day to give your family your undivided attention, and give your brain a little while to relax from another busy workday.
Schedule Down Time
You can’t manage your time effectively if you don’t include some free time for yourself. If you’ve ever worked a demanding job you know the importance of decompressing after a long shift.
Whether it’s turning on your favorite tunes on the way home, or watching your favorite Netflix show for a few minutes before bed, you can’t simply be on the GO! GO! GO! every waking moment of the damn.
You will burn yourself out quick! That’s why you need to give yourself a designated time just for you every single day. If you don’t want to sit around watching Netflix or any other television shows find a hobby that you enjoy.
I personally will find myself reading a book, or if I’m up for it playing a sports computer game because it still keeps my brain working by managing team rosters, finances etc.
Look at your daily schedule and see when you can carve some time in and you will quickly see how much it improves your mindset.
Which Time Management Strategies Are Best For You?
Are you ready to put some of these amazing time management strategies into place? Once you realize how much time you are spending on specific tasks you will become better at managing your day to day routine.
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We’ll talk soon!