Don't Waste Time With Time Management

We’ve all heard of the concept of Time Management, but how many of us would claim that we have really mastered it? How do you succeed at managing your time? There is more to it than simply having and following a schedule, as anybody who has tried this approach knows. Trying to organise what you already do in a day to fit into a smaller space of time will not be possible simply because you type it up and print it out as an itinerary or write it down in a planner. 

For this reason, at, we talk instead about Time Leverage, a more practical approach to making sure that your time is being used as effectively as possible.

Time is a restricted resource.

Some companies may have bigger start-up funds or a better network of potential clients, but everybody is gifted the same amount of time in a day. Planning how to use the time you are given should not be a matter of working through a to-do list as fast as you possibly can. Whilst this may make you super efficient, it may not be moving you towards your goals. For instance, you may be incredibly organised in checking your mail and emails daily, with a small or empty inbox, but if you never find a moment to email or call a potential new client or an important contact, you simply remain static, performing tasks which will not move you closer to your or your organisation’s goals.

Be effective, not just efficient.

You will hopefully, as a business owner, already have identified a set of goals for yourself and your company. Knowing what these goals are can be frustrating if you never seem to be able to spare a moment to take any steps towards achieving them. By implementing Time Leverage, you should be able to get your essential daily tasks done whilst also moving in the right direction in terms of your bigger goals.

If you are not a new business owner, but running an established company, you may be feeling that it is time to try something new. As with all other elements of business, if what you are currently doing is not achieving the results you would like, trying to do the same but in greater volumes probably won’t help either. Trying to force there to be more hours in a day is not an effective or viable strategy for getting more done.

Be honest with yourself.

The principle is a simple one, which involves you thinking about your time and your tasks in advance, being honest with yourself and ruthless with your to-do list. You should identify the tasks at which you excel, and those which are pivotal to your daily running and your aims. Another important thing to consider is whether or not a task needs to be done by you. Delegation is a crucial skill to anybody hoping to run a successful business. If you are a small company, you might consider outsourcing certain elements of your company.

By allowing other professionals to take on certain tasks, everybody ends up doing what they are best at, the perfect recipe for productivity and progression. Making use of the skills and knowledge of others in this way (instead of struggling, trying to achieve everything independently), you will free up time and energy, allowing you to manage more of the tasks which will move you towards your ultimate goals.

Be realistic.

Being realistic with yourself is another important part of Time Leverage. Your business is not likely to be the only demand on your time, as everybody needs to dedicate some of their day to other obligations and pastimes, such as family members, running a household, sports and hobbies. If you set yourself unachievable targets, you will never achieve everything that you would like to in a day. This is a bad practice, creating a disheartening moment each morning when you sit at your desk and try to find time to complete the tasks you did not get around to yesterday.

In order to eliminate this sense of remaining static or falling constantly behind, you should identify the most productive actions on your list and discard the rest temporarily. How do you choose which tasks are the most important? Think of your goal and work backwards. Ask yourself which tasks will bring you closer to your aim and which ones don’t contribute towards it at all. By doing so, you extract yourself from what you are currently doing and re-focus your thought on where you are headed and how you are going to get there.

Think of a long car journey that you have never taken before.

Would you set off without looking your route up online or studying a map? If you would, you would probably spend a lot of time trying to figure out from road signs which direction you should be travelling, perhaps missing junctions or turnings and having to double back. This is classic time wasting which could be avoided with a little advance thinking and your daily achievements are no different.

Once you know your destination and have worked out your route, you will be surprised at how your subconscious begins to achieve these goals for you. Even in your downtime, you may be able to think through a task, allowing you to complete it quickly when the time comes to tackle it. By breaking down your larger goals into smaller, time-scaled achievements, you can work your way through them and progress towards the endgame.

Trying to manage time is a waste of it.
You have only twenty-four hours in any given day. For most people, just over a third of these will be working hours. You can try to fit more in by working overtime, but this is not a real solution to the problem and encroaches upon the time you require for your other commitments, as discussed earlier. There is no reason for your leisure time to suffer, with the right approach. By identifying a way to plan your time and your tasks which works for you and helps you to directly achieve what it is you want (both in your business and your personal life), you will find that much of the stress disappears out of trying to manage your time. You will see results of a greater impact much quicker.

For more information on Time Leverage, including an interview with one of the UK's experts and a useful coached exercise to help you plan your time more effectively, why not listen to our 'Maximise your Time Leverage' audio available in our shop.  Click here for more information.

Kind regards

Laura Ashley-Timms - Director of Coaching