I have quite a few goals and projects on the go right now and it has been a real challenge finding the best way to manage my time with it all. These last few days I have been working relatively efficiently and I thought it could be useful to share some of the key elements that are helping me along the way. So here they are…
- I create space by clearing my desk of all unnecessary paperwork.
- I do a brain dump of all the activities that I need to do and ideas that are in my head.
- I then run through these and divide the list into those I want to do now and those I can deliberate on for a bit longer.
- I then go through the list of those tasks I want to do now and split the list into Do Right Now, and schedule the others – I consolidate these tasks under a heading e.g admin, budget review, I.C.F.A. admin and schedule appointments with myself in Outlook to complete them.
- When finished this process I then get straight to it and start my Do Right Now list immediately.
Another strategy I currently using is to set a deadline for these appointments – a definite finish time. I am using my timer to let me know when I am 10 min off that deadline and I start to wrap up the project and reschedule any incomplete parts at this point.
It’s working for me – why don’t you give it a try if you are struggling with managing your time and let me know how you get on. Alternatively if you adapt any of these or have a different way of managing your time why not add a comment below (by clicking on the word comment) and share your experiences too.
If you are like me you will find it is very easy to start lots of projects, sign up for lots of courses, and read lots of books. You might find yourself jumping from one idea to the next and not actually focusing fully on anyone thing. And when we have lots on the go at one time like this it is guaranteed to lead to that sense of overwhelm that so many small business owners experience.
So what is the secret to getting out of this place of overwhelm?
- Firstly make the decision to stop taking in or gathering any more information, tasks or things to do.
- Secondly do an audit – where have you been investing your time, money and energy? What’s been useful, what’s not, what needs further development? Where do you need more information or do you already have enough information? Is it it time for you to stop thinking, learning or planning and just take action?
- Then create a list of the priority areas you want to develop or complete as a result of what you have learned.
- Make the decision to focus on 1 – 3 of these projects until they are complete.
It is a wonderful skill to be able to multi-task, however it can also be a limitation if we are so busy doing lots of things but never actually get anything completed to a point where it is of any use.
By spreading our attention over too many projects we dilute our ability to be successful.
Becoming more focused, choosing one project and completing it to a level that can be useful builds confidence and belief in our ability to be successful.
So what projects have you started and never completed properly? Choose one thing today which you can complete to give you that sense of satisfaction and trust in your ability to be truly successful in all that you do.
What is a day’s work? Do you have any idea of how much work comes across your desk each day? Do you have any idea if it is realistic to expect yourself to complete all of this work as well as all the projects you want to action in any one day?
If there is too much stuff coming in you will never get on top of your workload. Your to do list will keep growing even as you complete items on it and the sense of overwhelm will rarely disappear.
I have been working with some new techniques from a book by Mark Forster called “Do it Tomorrow” in an effort to get a realistic picture of what a days work is for me.
This week I have been trying the idea of creating a closed list of activities so that I actually get that sense of completion as I close up my business at the end of the day. This closed list is created by all the emails , mail, paperwork, voice messages and requests that come across my desk “today”.
Put simply I action nothing today unless it is urgent, everything gets written on my list for tomorrow. So what I end up with is one days worth of work for the next day which is closed off at the end of the previous day. Nothing new gets added on unless it is an emergency.
If I am able to complete my list I know that I have a good balance with incoming work and projects that I can handle, without undue stress. If there is uncompleted tasks I know I have taken on too much and need to learn how to reduce the amount of work that I have to deal with.
This week the challenge for me has been how to move forward steadily on quite a few different areas that I am focused on developing right now. It is so easy to procrastinate when their is a lot on your mind and everything is a priority!
So this week I have started to trial a new technique I have come across in a book by Mark Forster called Get Everything Done: And Still Have Time to Play. The bit about still having time to play was what caught my attention the most!!
So the new technique I discovered showed me how to work in short bursts of time which increase slowly as momentum is built.
I started with a list of 6 tasks I wanted to be working on steadily. I had a 2 hour block of time available to devote to these tasks. I started to work on each task on my list by using a timer to gave each task 5 min of my time. I must admit I thought what can you do in 5 min but I got started on doing something and that was the whole point- something is always better than nothing! Then next round I gave each task 10 min of my time and the third time round I gave each task 15 min.
It felt particularly good at the end of the day as I felt I had used the 2 hour space very effectively and I had addressed all of my 6 key projects on one day.
So this is a new tool I can add to my toolbox for times when I have a lot of projects on the go and want to make steady progress on them all at the same time. Why don’t you give it a go and let me know how this tip works for you? You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text me on 0212 406 535 if you want to set up a time to have a chat and explore how I can support you with getting clarity around what you priorities are in the first place!