One of the biggest misconceptions that I heard when locked down first got announced in mid-March, was that people felt that they had ‘more time’ writes Alice Dartnell, FSB member.
Whilst it may feel that way with lockdown, it’s actually a huge misconception. I agree for a lot of us life has certainly slowed down (even if it is just with our socialising and travel), but we haven't got more time, we just have less options. We still have the same 24 hours in a day, the same 168 hours in a week as before.
So how do you make sure that you use your time in lockdown well?
As a life and success coach who specialises in empowering people to create a life by design, and an FSB member who runs their own business, I want to share with you four top time management tips you need to implement during this COVID period so you and your business thrive.
Tip one: Structure your day with the start time and finish time
When you were working from home or when your usual routine has been majorly disrupted, it is easy to lose structure and therefore lose focus. To maximise your time, structure your day but make sure you create a structure that works for you in this new normal. Don't try to shoehorn your old routine into this “new world”. I also advocate deciding on a start time and finish time for working on your business. This is because you will always be tempted to “do one more email” if you don't put a designated finish time in place and this could overtime impact on things from your work-life balance to your health.
Tip two: Set a limit to the amount of time that you spend on tasks
As a business owner we are often juggling multiple things acting as everything from the accountant to the social media manager, yet also being the CEO of our own company. With so many plates to spin, it's important that we give enough time to everything we need to do and what really matters.
I advocate setting a limit to the amount of time that you spend on each task whether that is your marketing, emails, drafting proposals or writing articles in order that you can balance all the tasks that need to be done. This is particularly important for perfectionists like me who will keep wanting to work on something to make it better but it not actually being worth the extra time.
Tip three: think of your time in terms of energy rather than hours
It is easy to think of time management in terms of minutes and hours ticking by. But in fact, you need to think of time management in terms of your energy because not every hour is created equal. For example if you are a morning person, you may be more productive in the morning then the afternoon - therefore an hour spent working at 9:00 AM is going to be much better than spending an hour working at 3PM for you. Thinking about your time management in terms of energy is really important in order to maximise your efficiency and your productivity. Ask yourself when do I work at my most optimal?
Tip four: diarise your ‘To Do’ List
Don't get me wrong, I love a list, but I don't agree with the majority of time management gurus who advocate the To Do List as a way to organise your time and projects.
Sure, have a list to capture everything that needs to be done but make sure you diarise your ‘To Do’ list like an appointment in your calendar. Know exactly what time and when you are taking action on the activity and task. My motto is ‘if it’s not in the calendar it won't get done’.
Find out more about Alice Dartnell at alicedartnell.com