Time management is defined as the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity.
Anyone, book, article, or blog will tell you as a business owner time management is vital to your success. The fact is, effectively managing time is difficult, ESPECIALLY if you're in charge of creating and managing your own schedule.
For example, a personal confession: the majority of Bustle + Buzz work hours are dedicated to its clients' needs, and any time left over is dedicated to Bustle + Buzz's blog, social media, website maintenance, etc.
More often than not, thanks to poor time management, once everything on the "clients' needs" list gets finished there is rarely enough time or creative energy left to dive into the personal-business list.
Since the Bustle + Buzz updates have been essentially deemed a 2nd priority, it's very easy for the unfinished tasks to snowball, and next thing you know it's been weeks since our last social post or blog.
There are two things we are doing wrong. First, the already identified issue with time management; and second, allowing for tasks equally important to Bustle + Buzz's success to fall behind due to labeling them a lesser priority and putting them last on the to-do list.
In effort to right the wrongs we went looking for advice to better plan and prioritize our work day and compiled a list of the tips we will be setting into action. There will be an updated post with our honest feedback in a few weeks and we welcome anyone else who utilizes these tips or any others we missed to share your personal experience as well!!
Over the course of a week, record all your tasks, conversations, activities and interruptions. You'll see how much time is actually spent producing and how much time is wasted on unproductive conversations and actions.
Switch from a to-do list to an appointment book. To-do lists get longer and longer to the point where they're unworkable. Appointment books allow you to schedule appointments with yourself and create time blocks for high-priority tasks that are important to your success. It's important to schedule when tasks will begin and end and have the discipline to keep these appointments.
Allow time for interruptions. It's easy to be overly ambitious when planning your day, but not allowing some "wiggle room" for unplanned interruptions is simply setting yourself up to fail.
Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day; or the last 30 minutes to plan the next day. Whichever works best for you, do one so you have a clear roadmap of the day ahead.
Devote your entire focus to the task at hand rather than multi-tasking. It's a proven fact that you waste significantly more time switching back and forth between multiple projects.
Disable desktop email notifications. Responding to emails as they arrive can be a time-suck and also throw off your concentration. Same goes for answering phone calls as they come in, social media, messenger, etc. If business allows for it, schedule time specifically to return any missed attempts at communication.
If part of your job is to create (blogs, graphics, web design, etc.) determine when in the day you have the most creative, productive energy, block that time whether it be first thing in the morning or even at odd hours at night, and use it religiously for your creative tasks.
Schedule mini-breaks to step away, recharge and refocus.