I’ve said it before but I’m going to say it again, good time management is key to being more efficient and achieving your goals. But your time management may be difficult to control at the moment. Maybe you’re working from home and also trying to look after your children at the same time, or perhaps you have an elderly neighbour or relative who needs a bit of extra care, or it could be that you are just finding it hard to concentrate.
This year has been difficult for so many of us, and as things are starting to open up, there may be extra challenges to deal with. So where can you start to fit everything in and become more efficient? The first thing I would suggest is to look at everything you do and ask yourself the following questions:
Can you delegate anything?
Is there anything your partner or children can help you with? (I find chocolate biscuits are a good currency to use!)
Hi. I’m Anna Goodwin, your friendly finance mentor. With over 30 years of experience, I know how important it is to manage your time.
In my book ‘Your Business Your Numbers’ I share that every respondent to one of my surveys stated that time management was one of their biggest weaknesses and also named it as one of the main factors holding them back. Maybe it’s one of yours too?
Why is time management so important?
- Makes you more effective.
- Lowers your stress.
- Helps you to focus.
Think about how you spend your time both at work and outside it. Again, this last year or so has flipped the balance for lots of us, with many now working from home (either partly or full-time). For many, homeworking may become permanent as the work landscape changes.
This has made it more difficult to find a balance between home life and work life and the two have become merged in day-to-day life.
As a result, it is more important than ever to be more efficient so that you can achieve that list of things to do.
Of course, with homeworking comes a whole new raft of distractions. However, working in an office still has plenty of distractions which prevent us from being efficient.
My online course ‘Mastering the Mindset of Success’ shows some of the things that distract us:
So how can you minimise these time wasters?
Divide your work into specific areas:
- What’s important and urgent;
- What’s important but not urgent;
- What’s not important and urgent;
- What’s not important and not urgent.
Maybe use a matrix such as this one:
Once you have put all your tasks in this matrix, you can follow the guidance of what to do with them. For example, if you have something that is urgent but not important, perhaps there is someone else who would be able to do that job for you, so delegate it.
Then prepare your plan of action by prioritising your ‘to-do’ tasks. The ‘important and urgent’ tasks have to be done now. However, the ‘important but not urgent’ tasks can be put in a plan of action so you can work your way through them.
Decide on the best time of day for you to work on your tasks. You might be someone who prefers to start work early or you may prefer to work later in the day. Perhaps you are better at some tasks in the afternoon, and others in the morning? By planning ahead, this will also mean you use your time in a more efficient way as you will be working at your optimum time.
Make sure you stick to it – it’s easy to lose control and focus if you are responding to emails and phone calls instead of sticking to your plan. You will also need to review your tasks every so often – possibly weekly – to make sure that you incorporate anything new that has come along.
The main thing is to spot those things that can be done differently, e.g. by automising a process or delegating a task. Maybe you’re wasting time because you’re not using your finance system as effectively as possible. Have a think about your system and decide it there are any changes you could make to save time.
- Outsource your bookkeeping?
- Reduce your paper-based systems?
- Have a separate business bank account?
Each of these could release valuable time in which you could be doing something more productive – that could even be a bit of self-care, such as a long bath, a walk with the dog or reading a good book!
I love this Dr Seuss quote!
“How did it get so late so soon?”
Make tomorrow different.
Next time I’ll be covering getting a saving plan in place.
Anna Goodwin @2021 All Rights Reserved.