Ever caught yourself saying too much to do, but not enough hours in the day? You’re not alone! Everyone at some time feels the overwhelm of a heavy workload.
And with technology constantly changing, we’re in an “on demand” society. Emails on your mobile devices, video calls and cloud storage now mean you can work from anywhere in the world, at any time.
So how do you effectively manage your time so that you have greater control, and are less likely to experience burn out? You manage it with a plan:
Have you ever set off on a long distance drive without a roadmap and gotten lost? Or gone to the store without a list and forgotten to buy milk? Of course you have! So why would your work be any different?
Allocate an hour each week for developing next week’s plan. One of the best times to do this is on Friday afternoon. Reflect on the week just gone and create a list of the things you need to complete in the coming week, including deadlines.
There are two benefits to this. One is it declutters your mind, enabling you to rest over the weekend. The other is creating proactive habits, as opposed to reactive behaviours to whatever shows up.
Most of us have regular meetings that we have to attend and that are scheduled in our diary. Similarly, appointments for hairdressers and dentists also appear in our diary, so why not other tasks that we need to complete.
A good example of this is reading and responding to emails. Reacting to emails as they arrive takes up so much time. Consider allocating 30 minutes in the morning, say from 9.15am – 9.30am and 30 minutes in the afternoon, maybe 2pm to 2.30pm to check Inbox. You may just be surprised at how efficient allocating time is.
Bookkeeping (if you do your own) is a task that will definitely benefit from being scheduled into your diary. Allocate one-two hours a week, say on a Monday, to raise all of your invoices, check your bank account for payments and data enter your paid receipts. Bookwork is not the nicest of jobs at the best of time, but by tackling small chunks regularly, there is less likely to be a huge, stressful pile waiting for you.
So many of us have “ownership” and “perfection” issues. That is, we haven’t learnt to let go of particular tasks, or we think that another person can’t do it as good as us. Both of these thoughts are expensive. The third inaccurate thought is that “I don’t have anyone to delegate to”.
Make a list of all of the things you do in a day. Then cross out the things that you definitely cannot delegate. You should be left with a list of general tasks like emails, social media posts, bookwork and filing.
Now while you’re doing those tasks, are you making money? The answer in most cases is no. So the goal is to find someone who can do those tasks. If you are worth $60 per hour and you pay a Book Keeper $40 per hour, you are still able to earn $20 per hour. But if you continue to do your own bookwork, you’ll be earning $0 per hour.
Obviously, there are some tasks that you just can’t delegate. Or if you are just starting out on a tight budget, doing the tasks yourself will save you money. But in order to grow your business and grow yourself, you need to be able to move past some of the less productive tasks.
How many of us create To-Do lists and then start with the easiest thing on the list? Or worse still, who doesn’t have a To-Do list?
A To-Do list should form part of your weekly/daily planning. Otherwise, you’re going to end forgetting to buy the milk right!
Write your To-Do list. Then next to each item write the number 1, 2, 3 etc, with 1 being the most important by deadline. Once you’ve run out of deadlines, continue the numbering with the hardest task ie: 4, 5, 6. So the very last item on your To-Do list should have the most extended deadline and be the easiest task to do.
Now go back to number 1 on your To-Do list and start Actioning!!!
Creating new habits and implementing systems, both in your work and your personal life, has so many benefits. Not only is it a proactive approach, but it also irons out hiccups, enhances progress, reduces your mental stress and frees up time!