3 Steps Towards Perfect Time Management

Your time is your most valuable asset. With the hectic life of managing a fledgling business, it can quickly be used up as you struggle with taking on every problem that comes your way. Suddenly, things you had hoped to get done today will get pushed back later and later until it is too late.   If you want to drive your business forward as much as possible each day, you can’t let your time slip out from beneath you. Just as you would practice effective management of your staff, so should you do the same with your time. Following the steps below will help you to create a time management system that will get you back in control of your day and well on the road to success.  

1. Set up a calendar to live by

  The first step in managing your time is to make use of a good calendar app, such as Google Calendar, to help in allocating your time effectively. Structure your day by booking an appointment for everything you need to get done. If it has to happen, make sure it has at least half an hour of dedicated time. This need not be just for important work tasks but for all aspects of your life, from weekly meetings to time in the pub with friends.   A big problem that people face is the feeling that everything must be done today. This is unreasonable to expect of yourself and it also ensures that any new problems will add much more stress to your day. By being realistic and scheduling your tasks evenly throughout the week, you will you feel like you have achieved much more from each day and will find fitting in new, urgent tasks much easier to manage.   Speaking of urgent tasks…  

2. Think Like President Eisenhower

  The connection between 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and effective time keeping may not seem obvious straight away. His leadership skills are well documented but he had a guiding principle that we should all adhere to. He said: “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”   An urgent task is one that should be done as soon as possible but it might be a relatively minor task in the whole scheme of things. Whereas an important task is one that can help achieve your life goals. Being able to distinguish between the two will revolutionise your time-keeping and help clarify your route to success. Tasks can be urgent, or important, or both, or neither.  The different combinations form a grid that has been dubbed the Eisenhower Decision Matrix:  

Urgent

Not Urgent

Important

Priority 1: Deadlines Emergencies Priority 2: Planning Housework

Not Important

Priority 3: Meetings Phone calls Priority 4: Time wasters Trivia
  This matrix, available as an iPhone app, will help you to determine what order and when your weekly tasks should be scheduled. You will find that by tackling important tasks ahead of time, you reduce the the number that become urgent as well as important, eliminating causes of stress..   It can also go towards helping with Step 3…  

3. Eat a live frog every morning

  Now, before you take me literally, I want to point out a quote from Mark Twain:   “Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”   The meaning is simply to schedule the worst task you have to do at the start of the day. Then all the work you have to do afterwards will seem much easier in comparison. If you get the horror job out of the way first thing in the morning, the confidence it gives you will drive you on to complete much more in a day than if you do the easiest tasks first.   Using the Eisenhower Decision Matrix to prioritise your tasks, you can put the most daunting, intimidating or unpleasant task at the start of your day, gradually working through your priority list before ending each day with something fun from the lowest priority as a reward.   These steps and devices combined will see you burn through that long to-do list and keep on top of all the urgent tasks. After a month of planning your days in this way, yo will be amazed by the progress you make.