A few years ago my to-do list was out of control. It caused me so much frustration. I felt like I had more items on my list at the end of the day than at the beginning. I never seemed to get it all done. I’m sure you can relate.
So to tackle this problem, I had to make a few changes, obviously. I had to figure out some better habits. Effective time management is absolutely crucial for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are responsible for every aspect of their business, so allocating the right amount of time AND consistency to those tasks is critical to keeping your business running smoothly.
There are a couple of things that help me be successful in my time management and to-do list:
- Weekly Planning.
Weekly planning is essential to my success as a business owner. This is how I have the ability to manage a thriving business and a family. This helps me stay on top of my week and tasks, instead of my week and tasks running me. It also helps me identify the priorities in my business, so I make sure I’m working ON my business, not IN my business.
You can learn more about my weekly planning process in my eBook 2 SIMPLE Systems Every Entrepreneur Must Have.
- Only check my email 2x/day.
When I first started doing this it was scary. I kept thinking “What if I miss an email?” or “What if someone needs me?” or “What if something important happens?” Well guess what? I don’t think I have every thought those things, but rather enjoy the serenity of not having my phone beep every few minutes 🙂
Yes, I have had to be very clear on my boundaries with my clients, team, and family, but they all understand. In fact, most of them are jealous that I stick to my boundaries instead of giving in to every request that comes through. If someone really needs to get ahold of me, they know to text or call if it’s urgent.
- Time Blocking
This one is a must because of #1. I have to have times in my day that I take client calls, work on my own marketing tasks, mentor my team, attend networking events, work with my coach, etc. If I scheduled phone calls for whenever during the day or didn’t schedule time to write blog posts like this one, I wouldn’t get anything done!
So, what is time blocking, you ask? It’s essentially organizing your day into a series of time slots, instead of working off a to-do list. I block off my time in 45-60 minute increments and assign them a task such as client phone calls, blogging, finances, client work, etc. It keeps me focused on what I should be doing, instead of running off a list of random tasks that keep my head spinning. This is the method that helps me be the most productive and effective during my day. It does require discipline, but it’s also the best way I have found to move away from the traditional list.
- Use a timer.
This is really to assist with the time blocking. My favorite is the Time Timer. It’s a visual timer that shows the passage of time visually with a red disk that disappears as the time elapses. It’s pretty amazing. (Side note – it works amazing with my kids too! I use it to set time for cleaning their room or playing outside. They know instantly exactly how much time they have left. It’s pretty awesome).
This is especially effective when I have a big project that I need to do. It keeps me focused and on task without looking at the clock 97x in an hour.
What are your favorite time management tools? Please share!