Time is a nonrenewable resource, and as such, one of the most precious ones we have.
As a business owner, you're probably wearing multiple hats in your effort to get everything done. This makes it incredibly easy to get distracted, lose focus, and waste valuable time on things are are not mission-critical. Here are ten tips to help you stay on track.
1. Give yourself extremely short deadlines... and stick to them.
Remember this key phrase from Sheryl Sandberg: Done is better than perfect. If you're a perfectionist, it's guaranteed that you're getting in your own way. You won't turn out shoddy work (it's just not in your nature, is it?), you'll actually turn out results. Give yourself deadlines that are shorter than you think you can manage and stick to them.
2. Schedule Major Action Items into Your Calendar.
Don't wait until you "have time" to complete important things. If you have empty or "free" spaces in your calendar, people will fill them (either you or someone else). Just like water, unimportant activities will expand to fill the available space (see #7).
3. Don't Multi-task.
All the studies show that multi-tasking is ineffective. (Take my word for that--you don't have time to go look it up.) You will more efficient and productive if you focus on one thing at a time.
4. Delegate everything that is outside your Area of Genius.
Focus your time and energy on profitable activities. If you don't know how to delegate, read this article on how to delegate effectively. Read it, implement it, and go do something important.
5. Have a high-performance team and empower them to function at their best.
Micro-managing is unpleasant for you and everyone else involved. Don't do it. Hire people who are smarter, better, faster, and more experienced than you, and you'll be glad you did.
6. Block out your schedule in chunks or by the day.
Monday is my admin and business-building day--it makes it easy for me to know where I need to focus and what is most critical for me to do that day. I don't have to think about it, or wonder when I'll get other things done. They all have their places in my business and in my week. You can easily do the same by "chunking out" your schedule.
7. Save time-sucking activities for the end of the day.
You know your personal time-sucks: social media, email, etc.. Whatever wastes your time the most (but still needs to be done) should be done at the end of the day. This way, you're not wasting valuable, productive time on things that are not profitable, important, or in your genius (#2).
8. If you're really stuck on something and not making progress, move on or get help.
Stop banging your head against the wall. You probably just need some space and/or perspective.
9. Hire a coach or mentor to keep you accountable.
A good coach or mentor will keep you accountable, provide support where you need it, and help you see when and how you're sabotaging yourself. We all need help, and none of us can see ourselves 100% objectively. Hire someone you trust who will hold your hand AND kick your behind when you need it. Both are necessary.
10. Establish a regular schedule for yourself based on your body's natural rhythms.
You have to take care of yourself physically as well as emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. If you don't, you won't be nearly as good at everything else you do.