My job requires me to be on time. I bet the same goes for your job as well. I’m not just talking about arriving at your office at the appropriate time in the mornings either. You probably have deadlines, meetings, things that are expected on a certain day. As an interior designer, those things and more make up my daily business. I meet clients, I organize vendors, I create estimates and promise results to my customers. If I can’t deliver on those promises I let them down and I let my business down. Chances are you have the same high standards and commitments as I do. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, sometimes the hard way, is the value of successful time management skills. That’s a phrase we’ve all heard before but don’t always adhere to with strict dedication. Time gets away from us all too quickly. Days run long, meetings run overtime, traffic ties you up, sometimes your day is affected by others’ poor time management. Sometimes it’s the other way around and you’ve thrown someone else’s schedule off track. I wish I could say I were able to do this job all by myself, but that is simply not a reality. That means I need to be even more diligent about the way I manage my time every day.
So how does one stay productive and make the most of their time? After all, there are only so many hours in one day. The best entrepreneurs are able to master their time by avoiding unnecessary pitfalls while spending each precious hour of their day performing to the best of their abilities.
Here are just a few of the ways that I am able to make the most of my day through dedicated time management. Some of these you may already adhere to, others might be a strong solution to the problems you currently face from week to week.
Keep a Schedule
Stick to it. Start each morning planning your day, focusing on the meetings and conversations that are most important to making that day a success. Assign actual times to the things you need and want to do. Don’t just make a “To-Do” List. Those are useless. They hold no weight, because everything has a similar priority and most of the stuff gets ignored. Make an appointment to do each and every thing you need to accomplish.
Think Before You Speak
Phone calls and meetings can often be unproductive. This is because you don’t formulate a game plan ahead of time. Take a few minutes to decide what you’re trying to accomplish with every call and every meeting. Decide how you’re going to make that happen beforehand, so you can make the most of the time spent in conversation.
We all have them. Sometimes we like to procrastinate or we don’t prioritize well enough. A ringing phone does not need to be picked up every time. Some emails can go unanswered. Know which ones are which and act accordingly. Facebook, Twitter, and things of that ilk should be ignored unless you use social media as a prime component of your business.
A Good Watch
Like I said before time management requires more than just a good watch. But you still need to have one of those. Something that goes on your wrist, don’t just look at your cell phone for the time. That can lead to distraction. Look into getting a real watch, it doesn’t need to be a Rolex or some other fancy timepiece. Maybe something with an alarm or two.
Get Some Sleep
One of the biggest obstacles to being on time is fatigue. The less you sleep, the more likely you are to oversleep because your body simply needs to rest and you’re not letting it. Next thing you know, your day is completely thrown off and what happens when you get sick from overworking your system? You get nothing done. So set parameters for your sleep and invest in a good mattress. You can’t sleep well if you’re not comfortable. Maybe get one of those memory foam mattresses, go look someplace like the Foam Night website where Caroline explains it all when it comes to picking out the right mattress to get the ultimate night’s rest. Trust me, sleep goes a long way to helping out with time management.
Even the best time management ninjas won’t get everything done every day. You will get caught up and you will encounter obstacles. Manage them. Don’t give into them. Deal with them in a timely manner. You’re only human, after all.