If you struggle with time management, the good news is that with discipline and a few strategies you’ll soon be able to ace time management. It’s not easy, but it is doable and like everything it takes training.
With good habits, you’re freeing yourself up to have more hours to spend on things that really matter. Stuff like family time, getting out with friends, or just precious time to relax with a good book, meander along the beach, binge Netflix or whatever takes your fancy.
Most important of all is that when you carve out time for yourself, your business grows and thrives. The reason is simply this – you are in a better frame of mind. You are relaxed and refreshed, so you are more focussed when you are working.
My #1 Tip is to take control of your inbox.
When you control your inbox, as opposed to it controlling you, you’ll soon notice that you’re able to achieve a lot more. It begins with switching your inbox to offline mode.
You still have your inbox open so you can action and refer to content while working. You can even write responses, but the responses won’t be sent till you go back online. By working offline, you are no longer distracted by emails as they drop in.
Yes, yes, I know – you have willpower, but that’s not exactly true is it? I mean to say out of the corner of your eye you will see that email icon. You’ll register at some level that there is new mail, and you may be tempted to peek at what’s just dropped in.
The moment you peek, you become distracted. When you’re distracted your attention is no longer focussed on the tasks at hand. Peeking at emails means you spend at least 2 minutes each time (and it’s usually more than 2 minutes) trying to regain your thought pattern and get back into your ”flow”.
This is not productive. Imagine you do this for 10 emails over the course of the day – that’s 20 minutes you’ve lost. 20 minutes just getting your thoughts back into the flow.
Then there’s the time you spend reading, and I’m betting you didn’t action it immediately, so you will go back later and deal with the matter.
Can you see how you’d pretty quickly waste 60 minutes? That’s a scary thought because if you repeat this pattern each day (and you get more than 10 emails) you’ll be clocking up several hours a week of wasted time.
This precious time is something you will never get back. So don’t waste it.
From a personal perspective, I’m as guilty as the next person of wanting to peek at emails. BUT, I control this urge by working in offline mode – it’s part of my secret sauce formula for day-to-day self-management.
How often should you look at emails? This very much depends on how your work comes in and your day flows. I suggest 3 – 4 times a day. Work out what works for you and start to establish your own routine – there is no one size fits all – because each place of business is somewhat unique.
I guarantee you’ll love this way of working once you get into the habit – although it might scare you a bit at first to be offline. Got questions about trying this routine? Get in touch and ask me via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next issue…
Michelle Hanton www.dragonsisters.com.au 0418 898082
Michelle Hanton OAM is a multi-award winning international business strategist, the founder of Dragons Abreast Australia and former CEO of Lifeline Top End. Her business, Dragon Sisters, specialises in actionable, momentum building support to help move businesses to the next level.