It's that simple.
There is no such thing as managing time. Time is a limited resource. What you can do is find out where you are allowing time suckers and wasters to use up this limited resource in an unproductive manner. This is more self-management than time-management.
I know, I know I talk and teach about time management. I just use that term because people are familiar with it.
I bet right now you can write down at least five activities that you do each day that are unproductive and can be classed as Time Wasters. Let's try:
- Unfocused Internet Surfing
- Personal Phone Calls
- Personal Online Chatting
- Playing Online Games
- Dealing with Spam emails
I bet you can name more things that you do each day that are just simply complete wastes of time. I'm not saying you can't do all these things during your day, but these are not tasks that you should do in the name of your business. They should be tasks you do on your personal time. With issues like spam emails, there are tricks and tips that you can do such as using a separate Gmail account when you sign up for newsletters, Google alerts, etc… and outsource tasks associated with that so that you only need to read the most important emails. Additionally, keep your business and personal email separate.
Start tracking your daily activities so that you can see where your time wasters are. You can use a spreadsheet, a time clock of some kind, or a piece of paper, but it's important to track every moment of your time during the day for about a week. Once you've finished tracking your time for the week, go through and highlight the time wasters.
Next, identify items that can be outsource. Now, identify items that you need to do yourself. Separate the items you will do yourself between business and personal time. Divide further into money producing activities and non money producing activities.
Once you have your list, set goals to help you manage the use of your time in a manner that is most productive. By changing your own behavior, you will feel as if you have more time in every day. You will feel more accomplished if you make a list of daily goals, marking off each task as they are completed.
Goals should be very specific and include exactly what needs to be done, who will do it, and how it will be accomplished and by what time. By being very specific about goals, you'll be more likely to achieve them. For some people, it helps to attack one issue at a time, working toward a full time management system within a month by eliminating one or more time suckers and wasters each week.
Changing your behavior slowly with an end goal in mind regarding managing your time well will result in a new attitude about the time you spend doing various tasks. Increasing your productivity will feel terrific and while you can't actually gain extra time in your day, you will feel as if you have accomplished this impossible task by freeing up time you used to waste in which to be more productive.