According to the blog post by Joe Matthews in his article “Ten time management tips that work,” “The reason time management gadgets and systems don't work is that these systems are designed to manage clock time. Clock time is irrelevant. You don't live in or even have access to clock time. You live in real time, a world in which all time flies when you are having fun or drags when you are doing your taxes.” (for more, see http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/219553).
I have been fortunate that I have always been self-reliant and growing up in Europe I got accustomed to being organized, on time, and punctual. Having certain habits and skills is a part of your genetic make-up, but even more, your environment. It was quite a shock to me when I first moved to Miami in 1997 and everyone was always running late. Partially I realized that this was due to traffic, but more importantly to the unique “melting pot” culture. I have still not embraced it, however I had to learn to be more tolerant and tell people to come earlier so that we were all just in time. Still, this continues to be a challenge.
Having time management skills in essential in our busy modern life when we are constantly bombarded with messages and input from a variety of sources, cell phones, emails, social media, and iPods and so on. It is key to learn how to prioritize and group tasks so that we don’t spend too much time. Many people can spend hours and hours on Facebook. Question is, what is your intention? It is different if you are just using Facebook for connecting with friends; however if you are a business owner time is precious when you juggle anything from sales, marketing, business development, meetings, tele-classes, networking events and so on. Time is of essence and not managing time effectively can cause a lot of stress.
Recently I attended American Business Women Association meeting at which the guest speaker, a successful business owner, shared some of her time management tips and I am here listing several that resonated with me. I am adding some of my own that I have been using in my personal and professional life.
1. First and foremost, take time first in the morning to plan your day. Select 5-7 things that you want to accomplish. Prioritize them, estimate time, and break them down into small steps.
2. I use Google calendar for all my appointment and personal and self-care activities. For example, use different colors for different activities and block off time for sales calls and follow up calls or emails. I suggest checking your email and answering your emails twice a day and don’t feel that you need to respond to every email right away unless it is urgent. Include time for interruptions and give yourself 15 minutes between the appointments.
3. Plan not only daily, but set weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. Follow the progress by creating a check list either on your phone, laptop, or simply the old fashioned way.
4. Before each call or meeting, set clear intentions; what are you trying to accomplish? This will not only save time, but help the conversation go smoothly.
5. If you are a business owner and work for yourself is very tempting to keep working and not taking breaks. Breaks are very important and if you don’t do this your productivity will decline. Just breathe!
6. “Divorce” clients that don’t respect your time or don’t know what they want
7. Stop chasing long shot deals; work the ones with potential.
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