Small Business Talk

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How Time Management Could Save Your Business or Your Sanity!

Show Notes

How time management could save your business or your sanity

We all live busy lives and the expectation we put on ourselves as business owners is huge. Overwhelm and time management, or lack of, are two things most of us live with daily.

In episode #040 of Small Business Talk, I gave you some tips on how to avoid overwhelm. Today, let’s talk about time management.

24 hours in a Day

We all have the same amount of time however some people achieve lots while others are barely surviving, so what is the difference? Basically, it boils down to passion. Are you passionate about it and does it have a high enough priority to you?

First things First

There are lots of books about doing the first thing first, the most important thing is do the first thing.

There are many books on it including First Thing First by Steven Covey and The One Thing by Gary Keller.

The first place to start is to make your plan, set your goals and then break them down into quarters, months, weeks.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. You need to know which elephant to eat and only eat one elephant at a time.

Episodes #07 and #020 have steps on setting your goals

Time Block

Now you have your goals, you need to set aside time to work on them. Really work on them, not just stuff around for that hour and still not move forward.

Time blocking is more than just putting an appointment in your diary. Do you need to go to a co-working space, a café, a carpark down the beach, anywhere that you will not be disturbed by others, your phone or anything else?

Have you set time, space and information ready? Do you need a special folder, either paper or on your computer, so that all the information you need is right there? Make it as easy as you can, the path of least resistance so you have no excuses not to do it.

Say No

We have talked about this a lot. Learn to say no. What do you say no too? You need to be clear about where you want to go with your business. Set your mission and vision and be clear about it, then you can assess each opportunity on that basis.

  • Does it align with your values?
  • Does it move your business forward?
  • Is it just a nice to do?
  • Will it benefit you in a tangible way?

Yes, it may sound harsh however, when your time is limited you need to be putting it to the best use and sometimes that means letting those “one in a lifetime opportunity slip past”.

Avoid Shiny Objects

Oh, there is the latest “xyz” you have got to try it! No, you don’t. If it is not broken, don’t fix it.

Often, we go down rabbit holes of new technology /the latest thing just because everyone else is or your Facebook feed keeps telling you to.

Sometimes, it is best to just stay with the proven system. Remember new toys take time to learn and now may not be the right time.

Years ago, I did some work with a client that was selling an e-book online. It was cutting edge back then. It was a great e-book with valuable information for a very specific problem. The client did a seminar and based on that information, we set up the landing page with all the bright colour, the testimonials, what you got plus the bonus, you’ve all seen the ones.

The book was selling a few a weeks and momentum was building, it was ticking along very well. Then the client decided to go to another seminar. This was supposed to be the new way to do it, bigger than Ben Hur. “Oh, you’re selling a couple a week, we can get you selling hundreds a week” they said. It has all the rah rah and the hype of the day. The testimonials, the examples, yes this was the new best thing. The client came back all excited with this new best thing.

I suggested we keep our existing landing page and spilt test the new type. “No” said the client “That was not what they said to do, go all in or go home” That is what the client wanted so we followed the client’s instructions. Guess what happened…

Yes, sales tanked, and we lost the momentum. They went on to do 3 other ‘must do’ latest things before considering and going back to the original design. Unfortunately, the ship had sailed and the momentum gone. 6 months later they abandoned the whole project.

Not all shiny objects are bad. I am not saying, never or we wouldn’t have the wheel and would still be trying to push our square edged carts. However, you need to assess the situation based on the fact not just emotion.

Set Timeframes

Parkinson’s Law says work will fill the time available for its completion. If you have 2 hours or 2 days to do a task, then generally that is how long it will take you to do it. Plan in steps and give yourself set time frames to do certain tasks. Have a specific start and end time and date. Chunk things down to make it achievable.

You don’t have to do everything

Really you don’t. We have discussed this in the podcast a few times too, but it is worth reminding you again. Delegate, carpool, defer, there are lots of ways to stop doing things that aren’t really that important.

Stop Procrastinating

Just do it. No, you don’t need another course/book/training/free day/ more time etc. Just do it. Set that plan and do one thing towards it each day.

When is your best uninterrupted time? Do you need to get up one hour earlier, use that 30 minutes on your commute, waiting for the children, etc.

If your priority is high enough, you will find the time and make it work.

Go easy on yourself if you only get one hour done on your project this week, that is one hour you are further ahead than you were last week.

Kate Christie from TimeStylers says:

  • Make small decision fast
  • Always put your keys in the same place – saves time looking for them
  • Make your decision and stick with it. Saves so much time not going back and forward.
  • If meal prep is something you spend lots of time on, then do it ahead of time. Sit down and plan the whole week or a few days in 1 go. Order your ingredients online and have your shopping delivered.

As you can see, there are many ways to organise your time that can give you back precious minutes, hours, days.

Recap

Let’s recap on what we have discussed today:

  • Set Goals
  • Decide on your Priorities
  • Say No
  • Avoid Shiny Objects
  • Set Time Frames
  • You don’t have to do everything

Now, time to take action.

Links

How Time Management Could Save Your Business or Your SanityListen to Small Business Talk Episode 44 for the full episode.

See you next week when I talk to a special guest about how to make marketing more human.

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