Ever get a song stuck in your head for what seems like an incredibly long period of time?
Recently, I had the Rolling Stones’ “Time Is On My Side” stuck in my head for what seemed like days. And there was such an irony to it because at that moment time just wasn’t on my side. Deadlines were looming, some near passing. The piles on my desk rose. I continually shifted priorities. The to-do list grew. I wasn’t sure how I was going to keep up.
At the same time, my kids were growing up so fast. My 6-year-old son lost five baby teeth in a week, and my 8-year-old daughter was reading through so many books, I couldn’t keep the shelves stocked. They were so eager for Christmas, time couldn’t go fast enough.
Time is funny like that, isn’t it? Time drags and then it flies. When you need time, you don’t have it and when you have time, you don’t need it.
Luckily, just at this time of year when resolutions are rolling and goals are realigned and reignited, as if on cue business experts start sharing their best time management tips.
Don’t think you have time for a little time management advice? Think again. “We entrepreneurs need to stop and think about time because we tend to be larger-than-life people with big ideas, big goals and big responsibilities,” says Kyle Zagrodzky, president of OsteoStrong Franchising in Entrepreneur. “Yet, because we’re so often the glue that holds everything together, we can lose track of time in the minutiae involved in running everything.”
According to Entrepreneur’s Joe Mathews, Don Debolt and Deb Percival, there are only three ways business owners should spend their time: through thoughts, conversations and actions.
Master your time with these time management tips:
- Carry a schedule and record your activities for the week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during a day and how much time is productive versus wasted.
- Any activity that’s important to your success should have a time assigned to it. Create time blocks for high-priority thoughts, conversations and actions.
- Spend 50 percent of your time on thoughts, activities and conversations that produce the most results. Odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, activities and conversations produce 80 percent of your results.
- Schedule time for interruptions.
- Before each call, take five minutes to decide the results you want to achieve. After each call, take five minutes to determine whether you achieved your desired result.
- Plan “do not disturb” time for when you absolutely have to get work done.
- Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing and not answering emails just because they arrive in your inbox. Schedule time to answer emails and return phone calls.
Remember, “fail to examine how you manage your time (or fail to manage it at all),” Zagrodzky says, “and life becomes a scrambling race that leads to missed tasks and total exhaustion.”