Don’t let time challenges ruin your business. Putting these 6 time management tips into practice can help your business (and life) run smoother. In this episode, Elian Tyson maps out 6 do-able actions to take control of your calendar.
- What one activity can help you keep your sanity.
- The one system to reduce your overwhelm and that overtime, will compound your output.
- What magic trick she uses to put certain areas of her life on auto pilot.
- Three hacks to ensure it all gets done.
Book a Marketing Review Strategy Session – Elian’s free gift for you: https://highimpactbusiness.com/go/marketing-strategy-session/
Elian’s Entrepreneur Community on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/hibonlinemarketingsuccess
Elian’s Recommended Resources – https://highimpactbusiness.com/recommended-resources/
productivity #podcast #womenentrepreneur
Watch the episode here:
Listen to the podcast here:
Hometown Marketing Podcast – 6 Time management tips for small businesses
Hi there. This is Elian Tyson and I’m here to give you another episode of the podcast. This is season 2 episode 2. Today we are talking about time management tips. These can really help improve your business and your productivity so you can spend more time serving your clients and spending more time with your family.
Overwhelm these days is totally real. I am guilty of that. I put too much on my plate on any given day and know that I will have to carry many of those tasks forward. I hope these will be helpful for you. In future episodes we’ll get back to marketing stuff.
So much of this training is fundamental. You need to conquer your current workload such as scheduling your operations, your customer service, and what you do for your customers or what you provide to them. It’s super important to master managing your time effectively.
As busy moms, we always put too much on our plate. Between volunteer activities, your children’s activities, your business activities, and even your spouse’s activities. I know I have a lot going on at any given time. I do, very strategically, try to schedule those buffer break times. For instance, last weekend we went on a hike. It was a great time to get out in nature, take a break, and get our minds off work. We made a rule that we weren’t allowed to talk about work.
1-Get it out of your head with a Brain Dump
One time management tip that is fundamental and that I think is really good to do is a brain dump. You can do this at many times during the month, week or day. But try to do this at least weekly. List out everything that you need to do. Then I recommend that you estimate how much time it will take to do each one (in minutes). By having the time listed, you can more realistically place those into the pockets of time you have on your calendar.
For instance, if you know it takes an hour to write a blog post or an hour to put together 6 different social media posts. Put that next to those tasks so you know. “Ok, I’m going to be spending an hour on that.” I will help you be realistic in your scheduling.
Try to identify things that you can do in 15 minute or less segments too. All of us have lots of little time that you can kill sometimes.
Things to include
It’s pretty much just about everything. If you are working on a project, if you’re working on marketing-putting together Instagram posts, if you need to take pictures of particular things, if you need to follow up with a customer, … list out all the things. Just put all the things on the list and put those time estimates. I use an online tracker, so I’ll put the time as part of the task’s title in parenthesis.
2-The Four Ds
Once you have a brain dump, go through the whole list and put one of these four Ds on them. The Four Ds stand for delete, delay, delegate, or do.
Go through everyone of your tasks and next to it to the side write do… something you can do this week for sure, that you’ve got to do because you can’t delegate that.
If you have somebody to delegate to, then put delegate next to that task. If you are planning for the future, to have an assistant, or you already have someone you can delegate work tasks to, then definitely you want to go through and see what you can delegate and get off your plate as soon as possible. Plan ahead – what kinds of things can you delegate in the future? Maybe you can’t delegate them right now. But what kind of things… be brainstorming and keeping a list of those things now, so when it is time to get some extra help, you can easily do that.
Then mark your list things you need to delete. Things that maybe you’ve been carrying forward for weeks and weeks now or things that have lost your interest about.
You don’t have to throw the idea in the trash can. You can create an idea file to put things on a future list. Or you might just want to completely delete them altogether. By putting it on that list to not forget it for the future, that’s more of a delay list. You would put delay next to it versus delete.
Assign days of the week
Once you’ve got your edited list, your whittled down version, use a pencil and put what day of the week you want work on it. Put an M for Monday, T for Tuesday, etc. Then look at your list daily and quickly see what are all the M tasks that I need to get done.
3-Schedule the hardest or most important thing first.
On a day-to-day basis, schedule the most important thing or the hardest thing first. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, I like to use The 1 Thing, the book, to help me prioritize what gets done. It might not be something that’s super important for today, but maybe you are working to write a book or to do some longer, larger project that’s going to take a lot of time. If you don’t take the smaller incremental steps to work on it now, then you’re never going to get finished.
For me, stuff that is harder is creating or writing. I can create images and designs quickly and easily. It doesn’t take a lot of brain power. But when I need to sit there and write a blog post or other in-depth content, it takes more brain power. It might also mean I need to conduct some research first. That’s not hard for me, but it definitely takes focus. For me, my best time is usually first thing in the morning.
So schedule the most important thing first.
4-Utilize routines and routine stacks
My fourth tip is to use routines and routine stacks to your advantage. A routine stack is several different things that you want to do back-to-back in a group. For instance, a morning routine could look like: get up and shower, brush your teeth, take your vitamins, have your breakfast, etc.
To maximize your routine stack, write down what your ideal would be. That’s keeping the end in mind… a goal setting technique that’s so powerful. Then you can back in to the routine and work towards it.
Other routine examples:
A nighttime routine that will create a super solid morning
Creating your personal mental health routine
A Sunday planning routine to set your week up for success
Maybe you want to develop a routine stack that is kid or family related. It doesn’t matter. You can develop your habit stack around anything. It doesn’t even have to be a daily habit. It could be weekly or a monthly process.
Routine stack example:
Let’s focus on a nighttime routine. Perhaps your ideal looks like:
- get ready for bed on time
- brush your teeth
- wash your face
- say your prayers
Put your ideal down on a card or in a notebook. If for example you haven’t started these habits as regular, then pick the most important and focus on doing that every day for a week. Then in week two, add in your next important. Let’s say week one you focus on brushing your teeth nightly. Perhaps you deem getting ready for bed at a set time is you next most important thing. In week two, add that to your stack. For all of week two focus on those two things. Then in week three, pick your next most important habit and add it. Keep doing that until you have all the habits in your routine stack.
The goal is to not overwhelm yourself by trying to add too many tasks at one time and then getting burned out. This is especially true for New Year resolutions in January. Instead of trying to make all the changes all at one time, add one each week or each month… depending on how long you want to sit with that new thing. This is a super way to build the stacks you desire.
There is research and other books and reference materials available like the Miracle Morning. Those resources will help you develop a very powerful routine to make your day the most it can be.
5-Use time blocks
Blocking your time is wonderful because you can get really focused in on one thing. Whether you are focusing in on your business, focusing in on your family, or focusing on yourself… put those time blocks in your schedule. As you fill out your week, you can say something like “ok, my toughest thing is writing. I’m going to knock that sucker out first thing Monday morning between nine and twelve o’clock. I will do all writing related tasks between nine and twelve o’clock and get as much done as possible.” Then within that block focus only on writing tasks. If you have multiple related tasks, prioritize them noting the most important one that needs to get done. Blocking similar takes might not be all for a large project, but can include related tasks like emails that need to be written. It can include Instagram captions or social media captions. Whatever writing related. That is task related time blocking.
You can also time block by project. For me a project is my podcast or developing a workshop. Sometimes I’ll “work on the podcast” for a three hour block. I’ll work on whatever needs to be done next.
Tips for good time blocks:
- Make them between two and four hours.
- Decide if it is a task block or a project block.
- Turn off your ringers and notifications.
Task switching, jumping from thing to thing, such is getting interrupted is not good. How many times do you take a phone call and then can’t remember where you left off before the interruption? There is time lost there. It takes 5, 10, or maybe 15 minutes to get back “into” the zone of what you were doing before the interruption. Make sure you turn off your notifications and you will get a lot more done.
6-Utilize a system
My last tip for the day is to use a system. It doesn’t matter what system you use, just use one. One of my first mentors taught me how to do the brain dump, weekly and monthly scheduling with just a notebook. For a long time, I just used a notebook. I still do a version of that system. I now have a word document on my desktop that I update every Sunday. Then all of my task are in an electronic system. I was using Asana. Now I use Notion. There’s also Trello. There are all different kinds of programs available that you can use based on your personality and the features you desire. I will sometimes use reminders and lots of times use reoccurring tasks.
One tip for an electronic system is to include the time estimate in the task name. Especially if you have 15 or less minute task, you can quickly identify in a list and get knocked out in the little pockets of time.
Some examples of task name and time estimates:
- Write blog post (60 min)
- Network on Instagram (15 min)
I hope that this has been helpful. I look forward to sharing more information and training with you in the upcoming months on the podcast and in my workshops.
Coming soon is a live version of my Easy Online Marketing workshop. Stay tuned for the details. I hope you can join us for that.