Hooray! The New Year is here! Are you ready to make this your best year ever? Yeah, yeah, I know. We’re in an economic down turn, yada, yada, yada. Well. When the news says there is 9% unemployment, do you know what I hear? I hear that there is 91% […]
Category Archives: 5-Planning Your Business
Procrastination is a real schedule buster. At times it can be so easy to put things off until later, but if you do that too often, nothing gets done.
There are plenty of reasons people procrastinate:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Dislike of the task
- Mis-alignment of task and person
I’d like to talk a little about each one and provide some tips and advice for overcoming them.
Sometimes, when a task seems so big and overwhelming, you can feel so daunted that it is easier just not to start. You may not know where to start. Or you may feel like nothing you do toward that goal seems to get you anywhere. One way to overcome this challenge is to break the larger task into smaller, easier to handle tasks. Give each mini-task a deadline, so that you can still feel accomplishment. And be realistic about how quickly the tasks can be completed. If you are still getting behind, you can always re-evaluate the time you’ve allotted and give your self more time.
Dislike of the task
For me, cleaning the floors and dusting the house are the things I procrastinate the most because of this reason. I really don’t like cleaning. One way to overcome this challenge is to delegate the task to someone who does it better than you and, possibly, even enjoys the task. Another is to take a look at the task and see if it really needs to be done. If not, take it off your schedule. (Boy, I wish I could do that to cleaning!)
Sometimes, if you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed, it helps to take stock of what you do with your time. It’s kind of like an inventory of how you use your time. There are a couple of ways you can do this.
When you do a time log, it is kind of like making a schedule, but in reverse. You take a scheduler — it can be a grid you’ve made for the week or it could be your Day Planner, and instead of writing in things that you are planning to do, you write down things as you do them. At the end of every hour, jot yourself a quick note about how you actually spent your time for that hour. The note needn’t be long — one sentence or less should suffice. This gives you the most accurate view of your time, but it can be a little frustrating at first.
You want to have a good record of at least three days, a week is better. So, you may have to do this for a week or two to get accurate data. You might be surprised by how you use up time. I know that some activities take much longer to do than I imagined!
Back Time Logging
This method is not as accurate, but it can help you at least block out large chunks of time. And that may be all you need to do.
Take a black week schedule or grid and fill in blocks of time that you know you use. For example, maybe you go through your email every morning between 9am and 10am. Block that out. Then you add a block for lunch. Another block for picking the kids up from school. Another block for your weekly Bridge game. Whatever you do on a regular basis, block that in.
Let me let you in on a little secret. I have ADD and therefore issues with time management. O.K. That wasn’t much of a secret at all, but I felt you should have this in mind as you read this month’s post on time management for women entrepreneurs and small business owners.
When it comes right down to it, time management is basically about being focused. Without focus, you can loose track of time and get almost nothing done.
There are a heck of a lot of time management techniques out there, and at least one of them is going to work for you. Most likely, more than one will work for you. For me, I’ve found that one technique works well for one area of my life, and another works well in another area. So, my advice to you is to try them all on for size. See which ones fits and in which situations.
Some techniques for managing your time include:
- Creating a schedule — logging when you will do what on a calendar and sticking to it.
- Writing down clear goals, prioritizing them and focusing on the most important goals first.
- Creating a “To Do” list and ticking things off that list as they get done.
These are the core techniques of traditional time management. And all of these can work together to help the woman entrepreneur or small business owner manage her time.
But let’s dig a little deeper. On the surface, these techniques seem straightforward. But they won’t work unless you have some other underlying skills:
- Decision making — can you make good decisions quickly and effectively?
- Critical thinking — can you discern important tasks from busy work?
- Self understanding — do you really know who you are and what you want out of your time?
Time management is about getting results, not about being busy. And to truly get the most out of your time, you need to know yourself, be able to evaluate tasks that take up your time and make decisions efficiently.
Let me go into a little more detail about what I mean.