Time management is something that I often associate with that little red monkey-monster from the Chicken Licken ad. It creeps up on you from behind, and before you know it sits on your shoulder and demands your attention...
The only problem is, many times it's not as easy as in the Chicken Licken ad... we unfortunately can't simply give the time management monkey-monster a spicy chicken wing and hope it will be satisfied. Time management takes more effort than that and it's is something truly worth investing in if you want to take your career, business or any area of your life forward. The results of effective time management will ultimately lead to the perfect work-life balance which, I think we can all agree, is what we continuously strive for.
According to a time management article on Entrepreneur
, there are only three ways to spend time: thoughts, conversations and actions. Regardless of the type of business you own, your work will be composed of those three items.
"As an entrepreneur, you may be frequently interrupted or pulled in different directions. While you cannot eliminate interruptions, you do get a say on how much time you will spend on them and how much time you will spend on the thoughts, conversations and actions that will lead you to success," the article states.
Here is a compilation of some top time management tips to consider to make 2014 your best year yet:
- Take the first 30 minutes of your day to plan your day and make allowance for interruptions.
- Keep a diary to record your thoughts, conversations and actions.
- Schedule set times in the day for checking mails and returning phone calls. Don't be tempted by that little pop-up box in the right-hand bottom corner of your screen each time a new mail comes in. In fact, you can turn those notifications off completely... Works like a charm if you are easily distracted like me.
- Make a to-do list - not one with 30 items that makes you feel like you've accomplished nothing at the end of the day because you've only ticked off five things. Make a list that feels attainable.
Prioritise and categorise your list into Home, Work, Personal etc. This way, you will see more effective results. I use a great app called Wunderlist which automatically syncs with my smartphone, PC and iPad - an absolute winner for organising and prioritising.
- Don't bite off more than you can chew. Always carefully consider projects and the amount of time you have available to complete them before taking responsibility for them. This will eliminate unnecessary stress and failures.
- Set deadlines - real ones - and post them where you can see them all the time. Sticky notes are your best friends - even better if they are those neon coloured ones...
The easiest thing to do is to push back deadlines and procrastinate. Avoid this at all cost. Rather set the deadline a few days earlier to make sure you get things done before the actual deadline.
- Stop multitasking! Multitaskers often think they are getting more things done because they do so many things at the same time... you know, killing two (or five) birds with one stone. Earlier this year, one of our contributors, Tiffany Markman, wrote an excellent piece on the myth of multitasking... Challenging, but excellent. If you want to be focused and move forward in 2014, stop multitasking!
- Learn to delegate. This is probably one of the best things you can do to free up more time for more important things. Delegate the things that you don't have to do yourself.
- Remember that it's impossible to get everything done. Also, remember that odds are good that 20% of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80% of your results.
- Don't forget to include your personal life and downtime in your daily time management!
And finally, just for fun, have a look at this TED video from Nigel Marsh on how to make work-life balance work