Business owners and managers of mid-sized and small businesses have more to juggle than they can handle. One of the maladies that plague us and our teams is the lurking sense that “I’m not enough.”
Let’s continue to examine the one area which you have more control over than you may believe. It’s control over your time. (See previous ABA Insider for the first three tips).
We at ABA help our clients define reality. And if this “ABA Insider” feels a bit too truthful, realize that our intent is to make sure you face the truth about your alleged lack of time. If you feel that you are drowning in a sea of constant tasks and to-do’s, these tips are for you!
Here are three more tips that you, and only you, can choose to adopt:
4. Create your ideal week – track how you actually use your time in a week and then decide what you’re going to do!
Remember that you actually have 100 percent control of your time. (If you don’t believe you do, remember that you are both the cause of your own time-management challenges…and the solution!)
Create your ideal time template using this downloadable spreadsheet:
1. Utilize block scheduling — batch similar tasks together beginning with your highest payoff activities. For example, you may set up an ideal week to look something like this:
- Monday — have ALL internal meetings, 8am-12pm and 1pm-5pm.
- Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday—have all client meetings. Do work for clients in the morning and meet with them in the afternoon. These larger blocks of time should be devoted to your primary role and your unique talents contribution to your company.
- Friday — have meetings that are not inward facing or for clients.
2. Set limits! For example, if your quitting time is the end of your day, don’t do email at night.
3. Be sure to schedule time for the basics—sleep, eating, and exercising. Avoid giving away time you need for yourself, your family and for refreshment. If weekends are free time, make them a work-free zone!
Create your actual time template to see how you are actually using your time currently:
1. Print out this simple Excel spreadsheet, carry it around and start filling it out for the next week. Even if it isn’t Monday, START NOW!
2. If you forget to enter a time slot, do your best to reconstruct/approximate how you used your time.
3. Write down as much detail as you need to so that you can compare your actual 168 hour week with your ideal week.
4. As you look at your week, you may want to use different colors to break your time down into categories like
c. Personal care
d. Free time
e. Housework/household administration
f. Screen time (phone, laptop, TV)
g. Interacting with loved ones, friends
i. Work time
Now, you get to exercise 100% control over what you do next.
1. Start aiming to reshape your time use to reflect your ideal template.
2. Have fun! Push out weeks if not months into the future and make a game of getting requests of your time comply with your template.
3. Evaluate how you feel about your time use after a week, a month, and then a quarter.
5. Get support from the people around you. You cannot make these changes alone. Let your family, friends and co-workers know about the changes you are trying to make. Maybe even get someone who will be tougher than you are to manage your schedule. You will not only gain more traction from the encouragement you receive from them, but they might join you and improve their time management also.
6. “Just do it.”
If you are serious, some new rules you might employ are:
- After hours and on weekends, do not call or send messages unless it is an emergency.
- Establish boundaries. Sometimes you just have to reserve a margin into your calendar so you take that time for the important things.
If you are committed to your template, then you and others around you should see a happier, less stressed you.
Let us know if you are bold enough to try this experiment! Tell us how it went. And contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like additional ideas on how to help get you or your team to that ideal time template.