Time management is a challenge for many business owners and professionals.  You wear a lot of hats and are managing multiple projects – and every time the phone rings something else is added to your “to do list”.  Sometimes you get to the end of the day and wonder what it is that you actually accomplished.  Sound familiar?  Read on for a few tips to get control of your time and move from being reactive to being proactive!

Here are a few tips for how to manage your time successfully:

First, prioritize your tasks. Create a task list and then order them by importance. Making a list of your most important tasks will help you focus on the essential jobs.  Of course, some jobs will always take precedence over others.

You can also use the Eisenhower Matrix to help you better prioritize your tasks.

The Eisenhower Matrix is a time management technique used to prioritize tasks. President Dwight Eisenhower introduced the method and was known for his practical time management skills. The matrix categorizes tasks into four quadrants:

Quadrant 1: Urgent and Important. Quadrant 2: Important, but not Urgent. Quadrant 3: Urgent but not Important. Quadrant 4: Not Urgent and Not Important.  Tasks that are both urgent and important should be at the top of the list. These are the tasks that you need to complete first. The tasks in the second part of the series are also important.

Quadrant 3 tasks are urgent, but you can often delegate them to someone else. Quadrant 4 tasks are neither critical nor essential, and you can eliminate these tasks.

Second, create a schedule and stick to it. Having a set schedule will help you use your time more effectively and ensure that you forget nothing important. Leave some flexibility in your plan to account for unexpected tasks or delays

One effective way of creating an efficient schedule is to use the time-block method. It involves scheduling specific periods for certain tasks. For example, you might block out two hours to work on a project and one hour to check and respond to emails.  Once you have created your schedule, try your best to stick to it.

If you find that getting blocks of time without interruption is difficult, consider going offsite when you really need to focus.  A coworking membership at Strategic Workspace is affordable, offers a quiet place to work, and has great amenities like free coffee, internet, and printing. 

Next, delegate tasks.  You probably have a lot on your plate. Don’t do everything yourself–delegate tasks to others on your team or hire outside help when necessary. You can free up your time to focus on the most critical tasks.

If you have trouble trusting, try using the 80/20 rule. This rule states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. Focus on the tasks that will have the most significant impact and delegate the rest.

Set boundaries. It’s important to set boundaries between work and personal time. When working, try to avoid distractions and stay focused on the task. Once you’ve clocked out for the day, resist the urge to check your email or do any more work.

Learn to say “no” when feeling overwhelmed. It’s better to focus on a few tasks and do them well than to do too much and end up doing a poor job.

Finally, take breaks. Working non-stop is not sustainable in the long run. You will burn out quickly if you don’t take breaks to relax and rejuvenate. Schedule some time for yourself every day, even if it’s just a few minutes.  Take a walk, read a book, or take a nap. Breaks will help you stay focused and productive when you are working.

Managing your time well is essential for business owners and professionals. By following the tips above, you can make sure that you are using your time in the most effective way possible. Prioritize your tasks, create a schedule, delegate, and take breaks to relax. By taking these steps, you can set yourself up for success.

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