Protecting your time... When you are a solopreneur there sometimes seems to be more to do in each day, than can be done! We all feel it. Protecting one of your most valuable assets, your time, can help you get things done and streamline your day, your week and your month. Over the years through trial and error, I have implemented a few simple, yet effective methods that help me to do just that. Following are what I consider to be the most important.
1. Create a routine. We don't need to remind ourselves to take a shower or brush our teeth. Why? Because it's routine. Once a task or activity is woven into your life, it becomes second nature. This applies to any business. Pick one or two “must get done” and/or income-producing activities and add them to your weekly schedule. Once you begin to create them as a habit, add more from there. As you add these habits into your business life, you will see that ROUTINE BREEDS SUCCESS!
2. Set boundaries for yourself. If you struggle with spending too much time on appointments; in other words, a meeting that could easily be an hour but usually turns into two; you can adopt another good HABIT that will help you manage your time, show others that you are a true professional and emulate leadership by example. When you make an appointment or schedule a meeting, let the other person/s know how much time to anticipate for said appointment. It doesn't have to be formal or stuffy. You can simply say "I think an hour should be enough, do you agree?" When you arrive at the appointment, state once again "okay we have an hour, we better get right to it". The same applies to telephonic meetings... "I've carved out 20 minutes for us..."
3. Phone it in. If you work with others, as part of a team and you need to connect for a little brainstorming and you love the idea of face-to-face interaction (I know I do!), it's really tempting to go sit in that cute little coffee shop or your favorite restaurant, but you also know deep down inside that that coffee "date" will most likely turn into and hour and a half or even two, plus travel time -- STOP! Ask yourself "is this an income producing activity"? "Is this the best use of my time"? "Is this the best use of THEIR time"? If there's any doubt at all... Have a phone call instead! 30 minutes on the phone or 2-1/2 hours at the coffee shop drinking and eating the stuff you shouldn't anyway!
4. Use a timer! While this may sound silly, I bet you have had those times when you sit down to do one task and then you end up chasing rabbits and before you know it, 2 hours has gone by! If you need to complete a task like cleaning out the in box or checking your social media or whatever it may be, simply set a timer. Then if you haven't completed your task in the allotted time, YOU GET to decide if you will allow yourself a few more minutes, again set the timer! You'll see how much time we WASTE doing activities that produce very little!
5. Lastly, keep you word. If you set out to add one or two of these tips to your life and begin to set the expectations with those you’re interacting with, BUT don't follow through, for example, you say your meeting will be an hour and it turns into two… You run the risk of losing credibility and trust. KEEP YOURSELF accountable!
There’s an old saying… If you don’t control your time, everything else will! So let's safeguard our time!