Time is Money
I’ve been wanting to write my next blog post about time management: prioritizing and valuing your time and doing the most important things first. But I’ve been procrastinating writing it. For two months.
So, after reading an article on time management that contains the line: “Swallow the Frog”, I decided to just tackle it. (Swallowing the frog means just doing the thing that makes you uncomfortable and getting it over with). I wouldn’t say I’m uncomfortable writing a blog, in fact, I have always loved to write. But the pressure I put on myself to make my written words perfect is insane. I mean, once it’s in writing, especially online, it’s there forever! So I kept putting it off.
Since starting my company in January, I realized very quickly that time management was going to be the biggest challenge. I’m working from home which comes with a dizzying array of distractions. And, I’m trying to squeeze my workday in between the hours of 9:00 and 3:00 while my girls are in school.
Factor in that I was also trying to be mom-volunteer of the year in my kindergartner’s class; was constantly sneaking in “just one tiny errand” or a quick workout and my day was gradually becoming less and less productive. I starting reading lots of articles on time management and found four tricks that totally made sense, so I’ll share them. And I’m committing right now, to make these a habit. Because the success of my business depends on it.
The first is to stick with the task you’re on. Ever heard of “monkey brain”? Well, I have it. And if you do too, it’s killing your productivity. Many people pride themselves on their multi-tasking abilities. But switching tasks dilutes focus and slows people down because their brains have to adjust to each task. Since different tasks use different mental muscles, you should do similar things together in one block of time. Like making phone calls, prospecting, reading emails, etc.
The second pointer is the one I mentioned at the beginning: “swallow the frog”. I’m the worst about procrastinating a task until it becomes a huge elephant in the room that I’m totally dreading. Usually, once I do it, I realize it wasn’t even that big of a deal. Take that frog by the neck and swallow him before he becomes an elephant. In fact, tackle him before you do anything else.
The third tip is a great one. And while I know it intellectually from my 18 years in sales, I don’t always remember to practice it. When the going is good…KEEP GOING! When you make a big sale or get a huge meeting scheduled, it’s tempting to take a little break and celebrate or relax. But that’s the best time to keep going and feed off of the good momentum. Momentum is a powerful thing. Once you’ve got it, don’t squander it.
The fourth and final recommendation is my favorite but the hardest one for me to do: eliminate distractions. Anyone who works from home knows that distractions are everywhere. Heck, anyone who works on a computer (everyone) and owns a smart-phone (everyone) knows that distractions are everywhere.
To protect your valuable money-making time and stay focused, you have to be ruthless about getting rid of every distraction. If you don't use a website for your job, block it from your browser, put away your phone until you need to make phone calls, schedule a certain amount of time for surfing social media (preferably outside of work hours) and shut it down when that time’s up.
If you work from home, set official “office hours” and make a point to be either in your designated home office during those hours or somewhere else where you can be most productive (a coworking space, library, coffee shop).
Hopefully you are able to implement some of these in your work day and they prove to be helpful. I’ll let you know how they’re working for me!