Three Time Management Tips for the Criminally Overextended
There’s almost always too much to do, but small business owners don’t stay in business without a system for getting things done. Organization, prioritization, and follow-through are inherent in any effective time management process, but even if you already have a great system that works, there’s always room to super-charge your abilities. Custom-tailoring these important factors to maximize their efficiency for your business model in highly specific ways that fit how YOU work can help you do that.
Here are a few high-powered hacks for tweaking the hours in your day:
Things need to work for you, or you’re not going to be as effective as you could be. Inefficiency leads to wasted time. One size does not fit all: each business culture is unique, and yours entails special considerations.
Forget about what you think you ought to do, and what you want to do but can’t get committed to. Instead, begin in reality: tweak how you actually work today. Add a small step that helps you improve in some way. Do so in a way you can live with for the day. Tomorrow, if you need to, you can reassess and tweak your tweak.
Over time, changes merge more easily into reality without being abandoned, which saves time and energy lost to starting over. Whether your goal is to get out each evening an hour earlier, complete administrative tasks regularly, or increase your marketing, start small in a way that comes easily to you.
Small progress is still progress. The less time to spend struggling against your nature, the easier it will be to take care of business.
2: Redefine “organize”
It’s good to be able to see at a glance everything that’s on your plate, and bulleted “To Do” lists, a day tracker, or calendar apps and similar tools can help.
The optimal method is your preferred method: whatever current options may be, they’re useless if you aren’t using them. What you actually reach for on the daily is best. Paying for some fancy online thing you can’t stand it because it’s too “busy” or not intuitive for you to use just creates extra work and stress. Dump it.
Once you’ve found what works best, make use of it every day, even if just in a very basic way (crossing things off as they’re completed, say, or keeping a running daily plan). It doesn’t need to be complicated to be effective.
Bonus tip: Having tomorrow’s plan in place before you call it a day saves time every morning when you can see on broad strokes what the day’s main goals include. A long list isn’t necessary, just three or four items. Fully crossed-off lists can be highly motivating, but if your upcoming tasks list is so long you never get through it, its psychological weight can have a negative effect for your sense of your own effectiveness, even if the list is unrealistic. Keep it short.
3: Redefine “prioritize”
Your most valuable asset, both as a business owner and as a human, is your time. Once it’s spent, it’s gone forever, so this next tip is crucial.
Emergencies will sometimes fall into our paths and expand, displacing routines and other obligations. Some days the unexpected will claim all of our attention and energy. It happens. Anticipate such times. They are guaranteed. You can plan ahead for them so that when they occur they may be met and mastered without a mental catastrophe or meltdown on your part. The way to do is with a bit of very simple – and very pleasant – daily maintenance.
Schedule one thing into every single day that purely delights you. Keep that obligation to yourself like a client meeting. Do not break it, ever. This thing you schedule for yourself may be absolutely anything, but it must make you happy. Buy a new book. Rent a trashy movie. Eat a rice krispy treat. Even if it seems like an indulgence you don’t have time for, such “treats” are key to keeping all your various balls in the air, personal and professional. WORK THEM IN.
This is about making your own happiness a priority, even in small gestures (like takeout from your favorite restaurant for lunch, taking the long way home to get a little extra time alone, or playing “Angry Birds” for an hour at lunch). Daily moments of joy stock the motivation tank. Excessive discipline can easily deplete it through miserable endless slog. Interrupt that slog; it’s effective. Have fun every day. Laugh.
DO NOT SKIP this step. In the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey calls this habit “sharpening the saw.” Compare doing your job to sawing lumber; the tool gets dull after a while when you use it day in and day out. If you don’t take care of your blade, you’re not going to accomplish much but misery and blisters. Fighting to accomplish your task with a dull saw wastes time. It works. This is practical maintenance.
Deathcare pros fill a crucial role in society. Your job is difficult and demanding in ways no other profession’s are. Trust us: you’ve earned the treats. Please make sure you get them.