As business gears up, the focus will return to productivity and time management, incorporating a wealth of new skills acquired during the Covid-19 period while still catering to the new normal of working from home.
So how do you intend to manage your time in the productive period about to come? Here are four top tips for time management which can be applied in both the workplace and the remote working environment.
Track your time
Before you really begin to look at managing your time, it’s important to understand how long tasks actually take to complete. Too often we underestimate the amount of time jobs take and the interruptions that crop up throughout the day.
That’s why tracking your time is critical to time management. Using tools such as Clockify or even just a pen and paper, examine an average day in your business and life and look specifically at what happens when.
Then look at what can be eliminated, and what can be streamlined. Maybe you’re checking emails constantly, when you could turn off notifications and only check them at specific times, thereby dealing with them in bulk.
Maybe that two minutes you intend to spend checking social media actually sidetracks you for half an hour. Or maybe you need to have a set period in your day where the door to your office is closed and no interruptions are permitted.
Your ideal week
An ideal week is the perfect week you would have if you had 100 per cent control of what’s happening around you. The reason it’s popular as a time management tool is because it allows you take into account everything you wish to achieve, accounting for leisure time, exercise, business tasks, and family life.
That means the ideal week might factor in time for the exercise you want to do, the sleep you want to get, the business tasks you need to get done and the quality time you would like to spend with your kids and other family members.
In the traditional format of creating an ideal week, each theme is colour-coded, so red might be allocated to work, green to family time, yellow to exercise etc.
The benefit of the ideal week is that it allows you to look at your life as a whole, clearly defining your priorities for each area that you define as important.
Similar to the idea of an ideal week, is the concept of blocking time for the tasks you need to get through in any given week.
Blocking time allows you to set non-negotiable periods of your day for specific things and when used effectively, it can be hugely helpful in maintaining the work/life balance of business. For example, you might block 5.30am to 6.30am for exercise, 6.30am to 8.30 for family time and getting ready, 9am to 4pm to work, and so on.
The benefit of blocking time is that it allows everyone to be on the same page when it comes to what’s happening, when and also ensures you are present in the moment and focussed on the activity at hand.
The key to blocking time, however, is being realistic and strict in your approach. That means if you are at work or at home you use that time effectively without letting other tasks infringe on that allocated space.
Start your day the night before
Many successful business operators extol the virtues of starting your day the night before. Whether it’s a simple list, a detailed plan or research for the day ahead, starting your day in advance ensures you are in the zone, prepared and ready to be productive straight off the bat.
The final word
Time management is a major issue for many business owners, with the feeling of too much to do in too little time contributing to the sensation of overwhelm.
The reality is, time is a finite resource, and it’s how you use it that counts. But the good news is, with planning, structure and routine, effectively managing and maximising that time is possible.
For more tips and tools on managing business, subscribe to my newsletter or tune in to the Business Conversations podcast.