Are you struggling to get things done and always feeling like you’re jumping from one thing to another? If you feel like your family life is constantly suffering while you build your business, I’m here to help. You can fix this and take control. It’s your life, after all.
Improving your time management skills can have an incredible impact on your business and life. Not finding the right work-life balance can have a huge impact on your mental and physical health. It can affect your relationships and create stress. It’s important to develop strong time management skills so that you don’t get into situations where you have to sacrifice one for the other.
I have laid out some amazing, actionable, time management tips that can be implemented quickly and have immediate results.
Allocate time weekly to creating your priority schedule
Scheduling doesn’t usually come naturally for most people. You actually have to make a schedule to make a schedule. Find one day a week where you can map everything out at once. Then, sit down during that time and plan out your schedule according to your goals and tasks that you need to get you there. For example, you might have three posts per week as a goal so writing content will be the largest part of your plan. Focus on your largest goals first and then add in the smaller stuff where time allows.
Block Off Your Priorities
I like to work backwards by eliminating all the large blocks of time I can’t dedicate to blogging first – work, family, prior commitments. Find time in your calendar during the week where you’re less likely to be distracted by things in the house. I call these my power hours or days. Schedule those power slots off in your planner at the beginning of the week and schedule in your most difficult or time-sensitive tasks.
Then, I figure out which days, hours or even minutes I can put aside for big tasks like writing content, creating graphics, scheduling my week or working on a new project. The time that’s left, the “pockets”, I will use to do things like checking my Facebook group for questions, responding to emails and connecting with other bloggers.
Knowing what I am doing in advance is key to getting everything done well and on time.
Have a dedicated planner (either paper or digital)
Even though this is a digital era and I really appreciate all things electronic, there’s something about a paper planner that helps put everything in perspective. I use my planner to schedule out each week, and the tasks I need to do daily so that I can quickly see what’s coming up and plan around it.
My favourite planner has always been Erin Condren, but I’ve recently started using the Trello app to track some of my other tasks and goals a little easier. If you haven’t used Trello before, it’s amazing!! It’s like digital sticky notes, which is really great for organizing your time if you are a real visual person.
Outsource your “busy” work
At some point in your business you may feel overwhelmed with tasks. I’ve always thought it important to outsource the busy work when you can. Busy work is work that has to be done behind the scenes, but isn’t necessarily work that will generate revenue.
For instance you may need to do bookkeeping to keep up with your taxes, but the time spent on bookkeeping could be better spent creating a new digital ad which will bring in money. Find things in your systems that you can outsource so you can focus on money making tasks instead of busy work. This will “add” some extra time into your schedule for other priorities.
Get your own work space
At first it may seem that you could throw yourself down anywhere, on a couch with your laptop on your legs and get to work. Here’s the problem with that, I guarantee you’re going to find so many distractions. You’re going to have to get up, go find your tools that you need, the kids are going to distract you, the dogs are going to distract you, you’re going to want to binge watch Netflix. You get the point.
Setting yourself up in a work space where all of your things you need are within arms reach will allow you to focus more and get things done quicker.
It’s so easy to get lost in one project onto another and then onto another. It’s like a giant rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland. And before you know it 15 hours of gone by and you haven’t eaten anything or brushed your teeth. Yes, it’s happened.
Set timers for intervals to increase your productivity. Focus on something for 20 minutes or half an hour, take a short break have a glass of water, walk around for 5 or 10 minutes and then get back to it. It may seem counterintuitive to take so many breaks, but it allows you to have focused time during the intervals.
At home I call that commercial cleaning. I do it for work as well. I’ll watch a show, and then I’ll set a list of tasks that have to be done before I can watch another or that I can do during a commercial break.
Before you know it my blog got a boost, the house is clean, I’ve binged watched everything, and I have a bunch of personal tasks done. It really does work!
Get rid of distractions
Try to eliminate as many distractions as possible to encourage you to focus on the task at hand. This goes hand-in-hand with having your own separate workspace. If you have a workspace that you can control, you usually decrease the number of distractions going on around you.
Chunk out your goals into small, workable tasks
If you haven’t set goals for your business, you should. And you should be writing them down into actionable tasks. Having a great big goal to look forward to and achieve at first is really exciting, but it can also be very daunting if you don’t have specific tasks that are measurable and actionable to get you there.
I suggest writing out your top three priorities for your business, and then write five action steps that you can measure that are going to get you to achieving that goal. Then use those tasks to fill your schedule.
Don’t be afraid to say no
I don’t know if it’s because we’re women or because all of the women I know are very strong-willed and very independent, but we seem to take on more than we need to on a regular basis.
One of the most difficult things I struggle with is saying no when I need to. I would hate for anybody to be disappointed. In the end all that I disappoint is myself usually, because I can’t fulfill all of the tasks that I have created for myself because I did something for someone else.
So, don’t be afraid to turn something down or ask for an extension of time. You’ll thank yourself for it later.
Be realistic about the time you can commit to
Don’t overbook yourself. Be realistic about the things that you need to do during the week or the tasks that you want to accomplish so that you don’t get overwhelmed, you don’t get discouraged if you don’t finish, and you don’t feel like you’re spinning out of control while you’re trying to do it all.
You’re better off to schedule in things you know you can do in the time you have, and scheduling out some of the other tasks that can be done later rather than trying to do it all at once.
Best apps to help with organization and productivity
There are a ton of apps now available to help you keep on track and keep organized for both your business and your home life. Because let’s face it, it’s pretty hard to distinguish the two sometimes.
- Wunderlist – which helps us all to remember what groceries we need to pick up. That way if either myself or my husband are at the store we both have the same list and we can all add stuff to it, including the kids.
- Trello – digital sticky notes to organize work and life at the same time
- Pomodoro Timer – a productivity timer to help keep you on task and set breaks
- Focus – an app that you can integrate that will help you manage distractions
- Sortd – email management to help you sort out what’s important and keep your inbox in check
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Sasha Lassey is a blogger who has a passion for entrepreneurial life. She has been building businesses and growing teams for the past 15 years and now she helps other women entrepreneurs grow their side-hustles and earn money through blogging through her course, Simply Blogging. She provides blogging tips and tutorials and offers one-on-one consultations at Everyday She’s Sparkling to help you get your blog on track for success.