The last week found me with more tasks than time. Between meetings, delivering products, working on quotes, addressing newsletters, writing notes, making calls, and completing a couple of reports for a Thursday Coffee in the Neighborhood meeting, I found myself praying for a couple of more hours every day. Do you ever wish you had more time to complete your daily tasks? Are you overwhelmed with things to do, both at home and in your office? Are you too busy or are you simply not using your time wisely?
“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” Jim Rohn
This week I will be in Cincinnati Monday and Tuesday. Usually, my husband travels with me, and we enjoy dinner out and a night away. This year, he is not joining me, so I have part of my evening free. I am taking a book on time management to reread. I read it years ago. I even wrote a report for my office and reviewed some time management techniques with my co-workers. I was a time management queen. At the time, my husband worked in Chicago, and I stayed in Indianapolis with our two youngest sons who each played 2-3 sports. I worked full time, I traveled to Chicago most weekends for us to spend time together as a family and I helped take care of my ailing parents. I did it all with a smile on my face and occasionally joked that I had a Superwoman tattoo on my chest.
“All time management begins with planning.” Tom Greening
This week, I want to talk about time and a few simple ways to find extra time in your schedule every week.
As women, we think we have to do everything. You will find 15 minutes every day if you set up a chart and have your children take turns setting the table, clearing the table, loading the dishwasher and wiping down the counter tops, stove top and table. If you don’t have children and your husband is home from work, ask him to help. Offer to work together to clean up the kitchen before going to bed. There is NOTHING worse than waking up to a sink full of dishes, and there is truly something endearing watching your husband wash dishes. Professionally, if you have tasks that can be completed by a virtual assistant or another employee in your office, take advantage of delegating the work and opening up your schedule.
Professionally, if you have tasks that can be completed by a virtual assistant or another employee in your office, take advantage of delegating the work and opening up your schedule.
I will be criticized for this suggestion. Studies have shown that multi-tasking doesn’t work, but let’s take a moment to think about the types of things you can do at the same time. You can start a load of laundry before starting to cook dinner. They will be ready for the dryer before you know it. You can put cleaner in your toilet while you’re doing your hair and by the time you finish your hair, you can swish and flush the toilet. After you brush your teeth, wipe down the sink, make sure the mirror is clean, and you can go to work knowing your bathroom is clean.
Professionally, you can listen to a book on tape or a podcast as you drive to work. You can schedule your internet postings so that you aren’t stuck spending time hours online.
Turn Off Your Television
Have you ever sat down to watch a few minutes of a show and suddenly realized an hour (or two) have passed? I’m not saying that you should never watch television, but choose your shows wisely and do not get sucked into watching every reality show on television. Allowing yourself to watch an hour show a couple of times a week will free up the other evenings for family games, hobbies, time with friends or reading a book. You may learn to complete all of your household chores one evening a week and free up time on the weekends.
I am a big advocate of time blocking. I mark the calendar in my office and set a timer while I work so that my time is used efficiently. I find a timer helpful because I can get lost on a project and suddenly ½ the day is gone. I also take 15-30 minutes at the end of each day to plan for the following day. I make sure I have everything I need for my appointments so that I will be prepared and not hurried. Block out time for things that are important to you, especially your children’s activities, having a manicure or a haircut. Managing your time will allow you to get your tasks accomplished on time with less stress.
Eliminate Unnecessary Meetings
At my last job, we used to joke about having a meeting to plan a meeting. If you need to follow up with a client, suggest discussing ideas with a follow-up phone call. Make sure you have everything in front of you when you call your client and discuss what’s necessary. You will save time and money by eliminating unnecessary driving. You can even send your client a $5 coffee card with a note suggesting that they enjoy a cup of coffee during your next phone call. It is also a good idea to let your client know that you have scheduled a 20-minute call at 10:00 am on Thursday so that they know you are on a schedule and it will be important to stay on topic.
Cut Unnecessary Networking
Have you ever noticed how many of the same people you see at networking events? When I started my business, a friend of mine told me that if you see the same individuals over and over again at networking meetings, then they aren’t working, they are professional networkers. After thinking about it, I realized that attending 1-2 networking events a week is more than enough to build your potential client base. Make sure that you are working on building relationships and not just simply collecting business cards. Seek out 1-2 business owners at each meeting and schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss ways of working together to build each other’s businesses.
“Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you do not let other people spend it for you.” Carl Sandburg
My challenge for you this week is as follows:
Do you have an idea of where to find some extra time in your schedule? Do you manage your time or does it manage you?
You may need to track your activities for a few days to see where you are losing efficiency. You may not realize how much time you spend watching television, playing on the computer or talking to your friends on the phone.
A real goal may be to start by finding 20 minutes every day and build it to an hour a day. What would you do with an extra hour every day? Do you realize that an extra hour every day equals 30 extra hours per month? Imagine the possibilities!
Have a blessed week!
I own a promotional products business where I offer over 1 million different products to meet your promotional needs. I also have a complete wedding line including “save the dates,” invitations, napkins, imprinted stemware, and attendants gifts. I’d love to schedule an appointment with you to see how I can help you with your promotional needs!