Managing time effectively is essential for delivery companies like ours. If you are reading this article on time management, you probably have read many other articles on the same subject like one of our clients in Richmond, VA. Most of those articles will have suggested something like this:
- Set goals for the day
- Prioritize those goals
- Make a schedule that will get those goals done
Sounds simple, right? But if it was really that simple, there would not be the abundance of articles on time management and you would not be looking for time management tips. What is missing from this simplistic approach is the investment you need to make on customizing your approach to getting things done.
Look At What You Have Already Tried
The busy doctor faces different challenges than the busy retail store manager but they both have the same amount of time at their disposal. The busy entrepreneur and the busy franchise owner have the same number of hours in their day, too, but their day looks different. To figure out what will help you manage your time wisely, start with what you have already tried. Most time management failures fall into these categories:
- Unrealistic expectations — A schedule may be unrealistic because it fails to account for the realities of your life. You might need to include travel time so you don’t book a meeting when you will be unavailable. Most people need some downtime in their day so they can regroup for the next undertaking or process information. Being realistic is like being a repair technician — in order to fix it, you have to see what is actually wrong.
- Poor use of tools — What kinds of productivity tools are already available to you? Many businesses are using software platforms that include scheduling and collaborative components. If your responsibilities involve co-workers, these components are designed to be useful. Are you using them or have you put off learning how to do it? Your phone can be another underutilized tool. Research productivity apps for your smartphone and see what is out there.
- Using the wrong tool for you — Many people do better with a bullet journal or paper planner than they do with an app. Others combine the two by using notifications and timers but taking notes by hand in meetings. The wide variety of time management tools spring from the fact that people vary in what will work for them. Things change over time so what worked before may not work today. Be open to experimenting with new tools occasionally.
Recognize the Power of Habit
Habit is a powerful thing because it is automatic. If you habitually check social media before you start a disliked task, you have what some would call a time management problem right there. But the problem is actually your habit. Changing a habit is not as simple as reading about it because it is a choice you need to make every time you realize you are doing your unwanted habit again.
- Identify the habits that are sabotaging your day. This could be procrastination or worry or something else.
- Set up a reminder that addresses your unwanted habit. Set a timer for social media or tell yourself you will work on task A for 25 minutes. List the things that worry you and decide one thing that can be resolved by action on your part. Most worries are beyond our control but acting on what you can do will move you past the roadblock.
- Decide on one change in your time management approach and use that change for 30 days to establish a new habit.
Failing to see what you already have available and ignoring the power of habit will derail your time management strategy.
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