Many of us start the day with the best of intentions but by dinner time, are not entirely satisfied with our accomplishments. It’s hard to stay focused with emails, phone calls, text msgs, IM, SKYPE, Twitter and FB updates constantly interrupting us. Not to mention blog posts!
The time management courses that I took while in the corporate world always focused on making a TO DO list. I tried this one particular Monday and ended up moving the list to Tuesday. This was easy to do using the Day-Timer binder – just click open, remove the list, flip the page and insert the list. I did the same thing on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. By Friday, I felt bad that I did not accomplish most of what I had intended to accomplish. Knowing that this was a best practice, followed by the masses, I kept at it. By the end of the month, I realize that this doesn’t work for me so I did what I always used to do – successfully I might add!
- Focus on the stuff that will get me promoted.
- Then, focus on the stuff that would get me fired if I didn’t do it.
- Ignore the rest until it fell into either 1 or 2 above.
This is fine if you are in a position where you can be promoted or fired. But what if you’re running a consulting service that helps companies develop a marketing, sales or web strategy? Or any other entrepreneurial venture where you are the boss and thus determine where you actually spend your time? I have found that the primary focus seems to be on keeping the business going NOT on thinking about the future. What are YOU focusing on? With proper time management, you can find time to keep the business going while you work on filling the sales funnel.
I recently read a Harvard Business Review blog post that I think will do the trick. It is called “An 18-Minute Plan for Managing Your Day” and suggests three steps that one can easily do. The first step, plan your day, and last step, review your day is obvious. What is unique is the author’s suggestion to refocus every hour. Review what you accomplished (or didn’t accomplish) and recommit every hour. As an entrepreneur, I find this to be a great tool. Now, when clients call and say “what have you personally done to grow my business”, I can quickly respond with specifics!
TimeLeft is a free utility that will help you by quietly counting down and popping up a message every hour. My message is “What have you accomplished this past hour?” Of course I lose 5 seconds reading that 🙂
Have you found an effective time management system? Please share via text or video.