I’m often being asked by students and coaching clients about my time management tips. They see that I have a lot going on and I always have something up my sleeve. I also, for the most part, manage to build my own brand while securing new clients all the time.
The truth is it’s part-time management and part working smarter. Here are some of my tips for making sure you do more in less time so you can enjoy your life.
Regularly reignite your motivation.
This first step is a preemptive measure.
The first thing we need to discuss is your level of passion for your business. I know that when I’m feeling bored I don’t want to work. I also start to self-sabotage because I’m not that engaged. It’s actually something I struggled with not too long ago and it’s an awful feeling.
Whenever this happens, I know it’s time to try a new project to reinvigorate me. In my case, I’m bringing back my podcast which will now have a video component. This helped me get excited about work again.
While this may not look like a time management technique because I’ve taken on more work, it kind of is. You see, we humans don’t like to be bored. We need to consistently grow in order to feel fulfilled. That feeling of fulfillment then fuels your desire to get stuff done. In other words, you find your motivation again.
So before finding every time management tip you can muster, ask yourself if you simply need to find your motivation again.
Ask yourself if a project is really worth your time.
The second step is also a preemptive measure which can save you a lot of headaches. It will also help you avoid unnecessary stress. Finally, it will keep you from overloading yourself so you can focus on what matters.
I learned at my last job that the last thing I wanted out of self-employment was to multi-task and do more work than was necessary. Someone had a nasty habit of taking on way too much. I also see it all the time with my new students and coaching clients.
We’ve been bred to believe that in order to be productive we need to be so busy we don’t have time to breathe. A lack of sleep is a badge of honor and stress is something to be proud of. In extreme cases, people think they prove their worth by taking on more than is necessary.
Well, it’s not. It’s also totally counterproductive. And the only thing it does is create loose boundaries.
The problem is even if we know this, we are constantly getting approached for new projects and more work. When we’re in the beginning stages of a business, we assume every opportunity is a productive one so we take it. It’s not. In fact, often times overloading ourselves like this takes time away from the projects that do move us forward.
This is why I advise my clients to always be questioning whether or not they really need to take something on. Do you need to do that event? Is this opportunity going to be work your time? Do you want to work with that person?
If the answer to these questions is no, then don’t do it. Because, honestly, sometimes the best form of time management is to avoid things that waste your time in the first place. There is no need to be overloaded for no reason.
Quit things that don’t work for you.
Another tip for time management is to quit things that don’t work for you. For example, if you have a client who is toxic, disrespectful and pays late you need to get rid of them. In fact, it’s your right to fire them as quickly as possible.
The reason is because the more headaches they cause, the less money you make. For example, if you’re a designer and your client has asked for 18 rounds of unnecessary edits, your rate is being diminished. It’s also taking valuable time away that you could be using to make more money.
With time, you’ll know how to spot problem clients before they reach your vicinity. In the meantime, drop the ones that aren’t worth it. You’ll experience less stress and have more time to work on more productive projects.
One thing all business owners must learn for good time management is boundaries. In fact, the most successful business owners I know are really good at setting boundaries.
Here are some examples of what boundaries look like in a business:
- Setting specific hours when you work.
- Having a time that you clock out and rest.
- When a client emails wanting something right away, you don’t respond immediately. This is because you teach people how to treat you.
- Setting clear expectations. This looks like letting someone know when you can realistically get to their request. It’s totally different than dropping what you’re already doing to address something that can wait.
You would be surprised at how many business owners struggle with these simple things. Often times it’s because they are afraid they will lose money by upsetting someone. The reality is the more you respect yourself and your time, the more others respect it too.
Outsource things you shouldn’t be doing yourself
As a business, owner you can’t do everything yourself. That’s why a part of good time management is delegating.
For example, I can no longer stay on top of pitching the media for my business. I also don’t have time to stay on top of my Twitter or Instagram account. So, I outsourced it. This frees up my time to work on more important things
Just note that when you invest in outsourcing you should know what kind of return you’re getting. For example, I get email subscribers from my social media following. Media attention also increases my visibility and email subscribers. Since most of my sales for group coaching come from email, I make more money by marketing to new leads.
Stop wasting time on things that don’t actually make you money
Here is where a lot of online business owners fall into a trap. Many of them think that updating their About page 100 times is a productive use of their time. It’s not.
What is a productive use of your time is activities that lead to money. This means filling your list with new leads, marketing yourself, creating new offerings, pitching and selling. These are tasks that lead to money and therefore grow your business.
So if you want to be better at time management, start by focusing on the tasks that do move your business forward.
Use time blocks on your calendar.
The last step for better time management is to time block your calendar. For example, my Mondays are completely blocked off so I can record podcast interviews. Mondays are also the day I work on my business, not in my business. The rest of the week I handle clients.
How you choose to time block depends on you, your schedule and your life. Just make sure to block off the time on your calendar so others know not to interrupt you.
Time management isn’t rocket science. While many would have you believe it’s about doing as much as possible, it’s actually about doing the right things. Often times it’s also about getting motivated enough to do the work. Ultimately, it’s about focusing on the tasks that move you forward and forgetting the rest.