Time is the enemy of most small business owners. There is just never enough of it. So it’s essential that we all make the most of the hours, minutes and seconds we do have. Here are some tips to better manage your time.
Try the “Pomodoro technique”
No, this is not a yoga pose or a new way to prepare pork chops. It’s a method of managing your time that many swear improves productivity immediately….and it’s also kind of fun.
Simply put the technique works like this:
- Choose a task;
- Set a timer for 25 minutes;
- Begin working on your task for the 25-minute interval;
- If the timer goes off and you aren’t finished, take a 5 minute break;
- Then repeat steps 1-4 three more times, followed by a 15 minute break.
Check out this blog from a writer who has been converted to the Pomodoro technique. Give it a try and if you want to become a “Certified Pomodoro Master” check out the video.
Put Your Phone on Airplane Mode
If you are like me and get distracted every time Facebook Messenger bings, Whatsapp buzzes or a friend rings then your phone is the enemy of productivity. Turn your phone to Airplane mode for chunks of time and use that time to focus.
Schedule a Time to Check and Answer Emails
Email is a wonderful mode of communication….but most of us just can’t stop ourselves from being sidelined when an email alert floats past our eyes.
To control the urge to jump every time a newsletter pops into your inbox, schedule specific time to check and answer emails. You might schedule to check your email at 10am, noon, 2pm and before you go home – the timing is up to you. But outside those times ignore your inbox, turn off notifications and stay focused.
Break big jobs down into small tasks
Nothing is more paralysing than the site of a task like “Create 30 Page Marketing Plan” on your to-do list.
If your to-do list includes anything even vaguely daunting, then break it down into smaller, less overwhelming steps (you know, something you can do in a couple of Pomodoros).
So for example, your sales proposal task might be broken down into “brainstorm ideas for marketing plan”, “create outline for marketing plan”, “write first 5 pages of marketing plan”… you get the idea.
Plan your week
Take some time at the beginning of the week to list out everything that needs to be completed for the entire week. Then plan what you are going to achieve each day, taking into account the time you need to set aside for meetings and other commitments.
As the week goes by, strike out the completed items and give yourself a small high five. At the end of the week review your plan and make sure nothing has fallen through the cracks.
Planning will help you to stay focused on what really needs to get done. Reviewing at the end of the week not only gives you a sense of satisfaction, it will help you to plan for the following week.
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