On the face of it, I’m sure you could easily spot that there is very little that Richard Branson and I have in common, he is short (5’11) I’m tall (6’4), Richard has a beard, I don’t, he owns and runs the Virgin Group comprising of 400 companies, I run, well me.
The one thing we do have in common, is the fact that we both get 24 hours in a day, and how we use that time has a significant impact on both our lifestyle and productivity. It allows Richard Branson to run his business empire and still spend 6 months a year on Necker Island, and it allows me to run my business and take the whole of August off every year to spend time with my family.
By learning to use your time wisely you can significantly improve your productivity. Below are some simple time management tips that if implemented will dramatically increase your productivity through more effective use of your time.
Be Aware Of How You Spend Your Time
Before we can start to use our time wisely, we have to know how we are spending it now. One of the biggest time management tips I can give you is become aware of how you spend your time. Once you become aware of how you spend your time, it’s easy to identify and focus on the activities that provide the greatest benefits for you personally and financially. Try to keep track of how you spend your time during a typical week and then analyze your time usage. What time did you get up, how much time did you spend getting ready to work, how many hours do you spend responding to e-mails and phone calls. Did you really spend that long on Facebook?
What Is The Value Of Your Time
We have all heard the expression time is money. Knowing both the cost and the value of your time will help you make better decisions as to whether you should delegate or outsource a task or invest the time to do it yourself. The value of your time is usually a minimum of three times your hourly rate.
So lets say your time is worth £120 ($200) an hour, it may be better to consider outsourcing the task of editing your newsletter to someone who charges £20 ($30) rather than do it yourself. You could then spend that time on high value activities that only you can do.
Learn To Prioritize
Do you regularly run out of hours before you run out of work? Learning to prioritize your tasks, will ensure that you are dealing with the tasks that add most value first. You must create a system that works for you. Even if you just categorized your tasks as A Tasks, B Tasks and C Tasks, you would be better than many. Consider asking the following questions of any outstanding tasks:
- What tasks MUST I do today?
- Which tasks can I reschedule if needed?
- Which tasks can I delegated?
- Which tasks will help me to achieve my goals and objectives?
- Which tasks can be eliminated and forgotten about?
Learn To Say No
Be warned of all the time managemet tips in this article this is the hardest. Many times when we say yes to other people we are in fact saying no to ourselves. When you say yes, you invariably end up adding things to your TO DO list? By doing so you may well be saying no to things such as time for your family or yourself. Whenever anyone asks for your help instead of saying yes straight away, tell them you will get back to them in a specified period of time, (not too long) and use this time to consider the following questions:
- Do you really have the time or energy to do that extra task?
- Does it invade on your personal time?
- Does it involve doing something you enjoy?
- Does it fit in with your list of priorities and goals?
If the answer to any of the above is negative, you should consider saying no to the other person. It can be hard, but try saying, “I’d love to help, but I just haven’t got the time, and I would hate to let you down”
Batch Like Tasks Together
As you work through your daily priorities, try to plan your tasks out into like activities. Set aside a specific batch of time to respond to e-mails, another batch of time to return phone calls, do all your invoicing at the same time, you’ll save time and mental energy as you won’t be tempted to flit from one thing to another.
Why wait for success when you can literally schedule it! By using the above time management tips, you can accomplish much more with less effort. Be choosey about how you spend your time. Focus on activities which most closely match your goals. By taking time to monitor, measure, and manage your time, you will enjoy an abundance of success and happiness. I’m not saying you will get to own an island but you may free up enough time to take next August off 😉
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Till next Time
Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor