Eat a Frog for breakfast (Time management)
Time management tips:
Have you ever wanted to take control of your business, mastering and managing your time, achieving success and, therefore, gaining back your free time and achieving a balance between work and the rest of your life?
Here are some simple principles to implement into your business that can make a difference now:
1. Be realistic!
Never get to the bottom of your to-do list? Always find that a job that you expected to take a couple of hours actually winds up taking an entire day to complete? Do you struggle to meet deadlines, even if you were the one who set them?
The simple matter of fact is that there is never enough time to do all the things we would like to get done in one day! Learn to be realistic and have realistic expectations about what you can get done. It is better to focus fully on one or two tasks and complete them well than to split your focus across all areas and end up with a dozen incomplete tasks that get you nowhere.
Being surrounded by incomplete tasks and failing to meet your own (albeit unrealistic) expectations is a sure fire route to disaster; it leaves you feeling stressed, frustrated and demotivated. Feeling that you’ve accomplished something at the end of the day will create a sense of achievement and bring positivity to your business and positivity will help build your success. Set targets that you can be realistically met and give yourself the opportunity to succeed!
The adage goes, ‘fail to plan and you plan to fail’ and this is certainly true in business. In the larger sense, you need to have clear aims and goals that will lead directly to success in your business, but also, you need to have a plan for each day.
In our modern world, we are surrounded by a plethora of gadgets, so there is no short supply of electronic devices that can be used to create a plan to manage information, tasks, appointments and contacts, but whether you like to manage your activities in a paperback diary or on an APP for your i-Phone, everyone should have a planning tool that they use routinely.
That said, you do need just the one planning tool, and if you are not the only person adding tasks to your diary, that one planning tool needs to be kept up to date and be accessible to you and others at all times. A business owner who has been double booked by his PA does not give an air of professionalism to his/her prospective clients.
Blocks of time for which you are unavailable must be clearly demarked and always ensure you leave adequate time between activities and appointments; the appointment itself might only be scheduled to last an hour, but how long will the journey take and have you allowed yourself time for a comfort break before the next client meeting? Better to schedule a realistic time frame than to arrive late!
Not only does your day-to-day plan need to be in place, but so too does an adequate plan for the week ahead. If your working week runs from Monday to Friday, then make the last thing you do before you finish work on a Friday be to ensure you have the following week’s plan completed. Some people like to do this on a Sunday evening as a precursor to the week ahead, but if you are aiming to manage your time and create better balance, why would you want to waste your free time?
This doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out process; look at what you have in your planning tool (diary, calendar, app etc.) and make a note of the things you need to do in between the major tasks this week. Note them down and make this your default diary-the list of things you will attend to whenever you are not scheduled to be anywhere or doing anything else. If it helps, organise them into short activities and longer activities (and I refer again to my former advice of ‘be realistic’ here); those things that you can dip in and out of that will take 15 minutes here and there, and those things that will require more sustained periods of time. This will help to eliminate periods of procrastination! Instead of thinking, “right, I’ve got half an hour before my next appointment, what shall I do?” and ending up frittering away your time on unimportant and unurgent tasks (like playing Candy Crush or reading emails from Wowcher or browsing your next holiday on the internet; all tasks you might enjoy, but save them for outside of your work day!), you will refer to your default plan for the week and realise you’ve got time to send that report, call back that supplier, complete that file etc. How much more effective would you be, how much more time would you have if you remained productive throughout your entire working day? Take your scheduled breaks, of course, just WORK while you’re meant to be WORKing!
3. Eat a Frog for breakfast
It was Mark Twain who originally said, “eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day” and many coaches have now coined this phrase to apply it to the world of business. Often, procrastination comes about as a result of putting off an unpleasant or unappealing task. If you know you’ve got something to do that day that you’re not looking forward to, you can become exceptionally good at finding a thousand and one other little jobs to get on with instead in order to avoid it. Did those thousand other jobs really need doing or have you just wasted your day? When planning your day, put the ‘frog’ as your first task of the day. Get it out of the way and then spend the rest of the day being productive not procrastinating.
4. Keep working on Time Management
Time management is one of many areas where learning is never complete. Continue to look for better ways to manage your time; you never know where a handy tip or trick that will help you to manage your time will arrive from. Time is precious; we cannot get it back once it’s gone and there is only so much of it in each day. Being more effective with your time and getting more out of the hours in your day is an essential skill for all business owners. Neglect to focus on this area as continual process of development and you will easily slip into bad habits and find yourself heading back towards disaster.
Failing to manage your time brings your business chaos and disorder. Manage your time effectively and you improve your productivity, personally you will feel more accomplished and positive and you will greatly increase your chances of both personal and professional success.
Thoughts on Time
“You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.” – Charles Buxton
“Time lost is never found again.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Everything requires time. It is the only truly universal condition. All work takes place in time and uses up time. Yet most people take for granted this unique, irreplaceable, and necessary resource. Nothing else, perhaps, distinguishes effective executives as much as their tender loving care of time.” – Peter F. Drucker
“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year — and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!” – Anthony Robbins
“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination; Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” – Lord Chesterfield
Dedicated to your success
Business Performance Coach