8 Time Management Tips ~ Manage your Time Productively

Manage your Time

It’s amazing how much some people manage to get done, while others seem to be stuck in a rut without enough time in the day to accomplish much of anything. But, here’s the secret. Everyone has the same amount of time in every single day. It’s one way in which we are all created equal. It’s now time to take charge of the clock and manage your time.

Track Your Activities for a Week

To get a real picture of how you spend your time, try tracking everything you do for at least one week. Use a small recorder to record when you start and stop any task, and include the time. Alternatively, just use an old-fashioned pad and paper. Don’t change anything for now; just live your life as you do. I use Worktimer and have entered a Virtuoso-PA task as well as my client task list.

Evaluate

Now look at how you spent your time. Organise each thing that you did into urgent, important, family, fun, and time suckers. Some things that are fun might fall into the category of time sucking and that’s okay, because you can place limits on some things to still allow yourself to have fun without going overboard into time wasting. 

Assign All Important Tasks to a “To-Do” List

Everything that is urgent and important should be scheduled. Some urgent and important things will also be family things. Put it all into the schedule. Give it the amount of time you think it will take, adding a few minutes for padding to avoid run over and missed deadlines.

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Schedule Fun Time

Don’t forget to put time for fun into your schedule. Fun often goes with family and friends and it is a very important part of your life. The trick is to schedule the right amount of time and the right amount of fun, without intruding on the important and urgent tasks and activities that you also must do. Make sure you do this or you will soon suffer from ill health and be thoroughly burnt out.

Spend Time Each Night and Morning in Planning Mode

Take the time each evening to evaluate how your day went, decide what could have been done better, or what needs longer or shorter times to accomplish. If you do this you will get better at creating a plan. Each morning take the time to look over your schedule to remind yourself what is coming up so you don’t forget anything. Never rely on just memory or you will get off track.  My Virtuoso-PA operating times for client work is from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. however I work on my virtual assistant business from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. I take the extra 2 hours of my working day to plan my schedules, take care of my own admin and to write my blog.

Create a Plan of Action for Each Activity

It doesn’t matter if the plan is for family time, for business, or something else – if you create a plan of attack for each item on your to-do list, you’ll accomplish it faster with fewer problems. One of the biggest time wasters is jumping from item to item. Stick to one thing at a time until it’s done and you’ll feel as if you have a lot more time in your day.

Train Others to Respect Your Time

If you have a business, especially if you work from home, you will often find that other people seem to lack respect for your time. The real issue is that you’ve not taught people to respect your time. As Oprah (or maybe it was Dr. Phil) once said, “You teach people how to treat you.” Are you teaching people to respect your time? If not, it’s time to start doing so.

When I first started working from home my friends and family looked on it as open house; drop in for a cup of tea when they had time to spare. I had to let them know, that yes, I was at home but I was working. Now they know so they contact me a few days in advance to allow me to schedule some fun down time during the working day, they are now allowing me to manage my time.

Delegate

Never underestimate the power of delegation for getting more time in your day. A good virtual assistant can almost double your time. So while you can’t actually get more time; everyone has the same 24 hours. You can create a situation where you duplicate yourself by hiring a virtual assistant and outsourcing some mundane tasks such as bookkeeping or diary management. There is no such thing as a successful CEO who doesn’t delegate.

Finally, it’s important to always be realistic about what can really be accomplished in any given amount of time. No matter how much you want to be, you’re not superwoman (or man) – you’re just a human who is doing their best to manage the resources they have. If something doesn’t get done today, move it to tomorrow.

As you get better at scheduling, you’ll get it down to a science on how long it really takes you to do any particular task and you’ll have fewer days where you don’t succeed.

Manage your Time

Karina Bailey

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Written by Karina Bailey

Karina is the real person behind the Virtual Assistant. I support local small business owners, helping to relieve their admin stress and concentrate on their core business. When not at my desk working I can be found in graveyards, researching my family history. Dancing the Salsa and listening to local bands.