If it was easy, chances are there wouldn’t be a whole industry built around making it more manageable. There are books and classes and apps and calendars and all these tools out there. There are college courses and work seminars based around it. Yet there’s this thing about time management that leaves most of us scratching our heads on an almost daily basis.
It’s one of life’s little mysteries how exactly a half hour waiting in a pediatrician’s office with a sick child seems to take longer than it did for that same child to age almost instantaneously right before our eyes. And while it’s one thing for us to admit that time is relative, it’s something else altogether to find a way to let that empower us.
Really what it comes down to is simple: time management is tough. For the majority of people, it’s an honest struggle that torments and pesters and ultimately makes matters worse. The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. Because, like most challenging things in life, the first step is acceptance.
Once you make a conscious decision to admit that yes, managing time is an uphill battle, you’ve already begun the climb.
So where do you go from there? How do you set aside all of those tips and tricks that will (supposedly) change your life and get down to business? Take a page from Nike, and just do it already.
Do what works for you
This could be the most important thing you read today. There’s a reason people remember that catchy line about the height of insanity. (You know the one, about repeating the same mistake and expecting different results?) It’s true that the options are endless, the apps are plentiful, and the reading could fill more than a bookshelf (or two) at a local library.
Yet that is exactly why you owe it to yourself to take the time to find out what works for you. Chances are there is something that will be a perfect fit, and it may actually take a bit of time to find what works. But that is an investment that will pay dividends.
If you’re at a loss about where to start, you’re not alone. Try taking a productivity quiz to find out how your personality affects how you work. And if that doesn’t help, consider making a list of some things you think will help you and start at the top.
Throw everything you know out the window
Experts on the topic of time management have some suggestions that fly in the face of everything logical. One writer at Entrepreneur suggests the reason we struggle so much to figure out time is that nothing we know works.
Starting fresh is one of the best ways to approach your new time management regime.
Because this time about time. It keeps beating on despite us. That is why you need to remember to adapt over time. Chances are you’re not the same person you were when you started your business. Maybe you’ve become a mother or a father since then. Or maybe you’ve simply done the inevitable and grown up.
Regardless of what’s happened along the way, times have changed and so should you. Now is the time to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. Like making lists? Try List.ly to help keep a visual tally of where things are at on a given day. Have trouble keeping on task? Try installing the Google Chrome extension StayFocsd, which helps block your time waster websites (you know the ones) while you’re working.
Have an open mind and know that in a sea of options, something will work.
Do Not Disturb
It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to rescind that open door policy every now and then. Heck, it’s okay to do it as often as you damn well please. Why?
Because knowing that you have an uninterrupted amount of time to accomplish something is one of the best feelings in the world. It can be tough for small business owners to do amid all the other demands pulling them in a million different directions. Yet that is what makes it so important.
It comes down to a principle most of us learned in Psych 101. Straight from the pages of textbook, Maslow’s hierarchy is built on the framework that certain needs must be met before others can even be a thought in our minds.
So take all the time you need to yourself. You’ll be better for it.
Ask for Help
Delegating is categorically one of the most talked about things in small business. And it’s an incredibly necessary evil for anyone who has brought their passion to life in their business.
Asking for help may be the farthest thing from your mind, but you’re putting your business at stake if you don’t. Consider thinking outside the box and seeking help from professionals in the area you’re struggling with.
Work in plumbing and haven’t a clue how to schedule a post on Hootsuite? No problem – there is a service for that.
Own an art gallery but failed just about every math class you ever suffered through? There are accounting services for that.
The point is, if there is something you’re spending too much time on, it’s normal.
But it’s time to focus on doing what you do best. Let someone else do the rest.