Don’t say you don’t have enough time.
You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur,
Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
~H. Jackson Brown author of “Life’s Little Instruction Book”
Time management is the single most important skill for people running their own businesses, because time is the only resource that you can never get more of.
You can figure out ways to make more money, get more clients, take more vacations but every person on the planet must contend with the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day.
So how do productive people seem to stretch time, constantly churn out great ideas and get everything done? Most use a technique called “Time Blocking” which I want to share with you now. It is a very simple way to be highly effective with your time, so you can create balance in your life while accomplishing your goals.
The basic idea is creating blocks of time throughout your days that are solely devoted to one task or a grouping of tasks.
If something needs to get done, determine how long it takes to complete the task and then block out that amount of time (plus a bit for a buffer) and it gets put in the schedule.
Very often we over-commit, fall behind and the stress and pressure starts to build. Also, generally, we are pretty unrealistic about how long it takes to accomplish tasks. This tool provides tangible, personal feedback on what time you truly have available or highlight what needs to be eliminated in order to accomplish your goals.
So for example if you normally tell yourself self “I need 30min to enter my invoices once per week”, you probably need to time block one hour in your week to make sure that it got done.
This would account for:
10min to get settled in and get all your paperwork ready,
30min to enter invoices etc
10min to clean everything up
I recommend always adding buffer time into your time projections, because life rarely follows our exact schedule. You don’t want every second of your day regimented, and this gives you some wiggle room if something takes longer than you thought, or something new needs to be fit in.
The amount of buffer time will depend on the task but for example you might schedule 10 min for a 5min task or 2hrs for a 90min task. Make sure you are always accounting for set-up, clean-up and travel time in your scheduling. If it is a 60 min yoga class but it takes you 30min to get there and 30min to get home, block out at least 2hrs in your schedule (probably 2 1/2hrs with a buffer).
Now it’s your turn
I know some of you will already be using this technique, and for some it will be new. Regardless, I recommend downloading the blank weekly calendar template found under the worksheets tab and completing the following exercise.
To get started – fill out the template as if it was an average week for you currently. Given the commitments and priorities you have now, remembering to account for set-up, clean-up, travel time and time buffers, how much of your day or days end up scheduled? How much free time to you have? Does anything need to get shifted or does it all feel manageable?
Next – I want to you block out when you are going to work on business development. How people do this looks different; some like to do a little bit everyday, other like to do longer chunks less often. Experiment with your schedule and see what sticks for you.
Action Item: In the online forum, tell everyone your plan for working on your business. What schedule are you going to try first? When we say it out loud we are much more likely to follow though with our plans.
How you use your time is the difference between smooth sailing and frantic chaos. This time management tool can be a game changer for most people and essential if you are going to be the one running the show. As we go through this program we are going to be referring to this template and this concept often so keep it handy.
And lastly remember – Everything is just an experiment.
Pick a time and schedule you think will work and then see how it goes.
You can always change it later.