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Managing Time before it Manages You

Whatever business you’re in, I can guarantee that time will be one of your top 5 obstacles getting in the way of your workplace happiness. Whether you’re working longer but not getting more done, rushing towards deadlines with no real certainty that everything will be completed on time, or whether you’re just wasting time through procrastination because you don’t want to do that one task you hate, a shift in your time management mindset can really help you out.

With more people working from home at the moment, it has never been more important to manage time successfully, leaving room for personal and family matters as well as accomplishing everything that needs to be done during the working day, without cruising towards burnout.

the working myths

There are so many theories and good tips widely available on the web so make time to have a search and try out a few of the things that you feel might work for you; but recognise that what works for you is key.

Myth – I should prioritise important tasks for the morning

Just because this might work for some, it doesn’t mean it will work for you. You might be a night owl, rather than a lark, and therefore work smarter during the afternoon. You can schedule those important tasks that absolutely have to be done that day during your most productive time. You’ll fly through them, leaving more time for creative or non time-sensitive tasks.

Myth – Working longer hours means I will get more done

Whether you’re someone who doesn’t have a lunch break or routinely stays at your desk for longer than the hours you’re actually getting paid for, you’re part of the ‘I’m busy’ culture, which unfortunately isn’t likely to shift in most businesses anytime soon. I think the main thing in time management is using your time wisely – working smarter and not longer is definitely something to open your mind to. Short sessions with regular breaks increase productivity. Have a look at www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/work-smarter-not-harder for advice on how to do this.

Myth – Meetings are the only way to collectively make decisions

If your business has a meeting culture, you’re likely to hear the phrase ‘well, that was a meeting for meeting’s sake’. Your staff will come out of that meeting no further forward than when they went in, but now half an hour behind on their other work. Set up a meeting protocol for your internal meetings and this will seep into how you speak with external clients or suppliers.

  • Use an agenda and make a point of confirming the decisions and/or actions after each item
  • Ensure there is enough time (but not too much time) between project meetings so that tasks can be actioned – progress needs to be made and not stalled.
  • Consider your meeting location – yes, sit outside, catch up on Zoom or Teams to minimise travel stress or have the meeting in a café, socially distanced of course! Anywhere that the environment is going to increase creativity and encourage more open discussion is a bonus.
  • Use project planning apps or platforms to share updates, ask questions and progress the project outside of meeting space.

 Myth – I can’t outsource to a VA because I don’t have time to work out what to delegate

This is understandably one I hear frequently, and I can see how the cycle of ‘business’ puts pay to this mindset. Although it seems counter-intuitive, by spending an hour of your time now working out what I can help with, you could end up freeing 1, 2, 5, even 10 hours per month, or even per week(!), of your own busy schedule, leaving you with more availability to work on creativity, strategy or continuity within your brand! If you need help getting this started, then just contact me and we can talk it through.

time for you

My final bit of advice is to make time for yourself. I’ve heard of people putting a ‘Do Not Disturb’ in their work calendars each day for 10 minutes so they have time to re-focus, maybe meditate for a few minutes, maybe go and grab a coffee to make sure they walk away from their PC. Whatever it is, make sure you don’t just pop it in the calendar but then ignore it. Make time for you and make sure you stick to your good intentions. This blog also serves as a great reminder to myself!

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