Chances are if run your own business, at times you probably feel fed up, overwhelmed and like there is not enough time in the day.
Over the 10 years of running my own business, I have used three time-saving techniques to help me create more time in my day.
I will share them with you here as they help me run my business successfully. If you are tired of feeling overwhelmed and out of control, try applying these techniques now!
1. Conquer Your Email
Imagine knowing that all of those tasks, enquiries and important newsletters had been read, actioned and moved on, out of your inbox. And that you finished each day with an empty inbox. Would that take a load off your shoulders? Would you start to look forward to opening your email each day instead of viewing it with dread?
Try this effective way to manage email and see what difference it makes!
The 4 D’s Approach to Managing Your Email.
The goal is to only touch each email ONCE and then remove it from your inbox. (Your inbox is NOT a filing cabinet!) Once it is out of your inbox, your mind frees up to focus on other things. Magic!
When you open an email, choose one of the following 4 actions:
1. Do It Now
If it is a short task, do it now. Reply, action, make that appointment or whatever it is.
And then when it’s done – delete it or file it.
2. Decide When
If you know the action required by the email will take longer than a few minutes, or maybe it needs some thinking or further investigation, decide when you will do it and then block that time in your calendar.
Actually, schedule to time to do the action the email requires. Then place the email in a folder marked “Scheduled Follow Up”
If you have someone to delegate to – then do it! Forward them the email and a date by when it must be responded to. Then place the email in your “Delegated” folder.
No action, no need to file the email – then delete it. So it is gone and out of your inbox and out of your headspace.
2. Get Control of Your Diary
In one of my coaching sessions a few years ago, I complained to my coach that my diary was jam-packed – it was like it had exploded and taken on a life of its own. She then asked me a very simple question, “Well, Wendy, who actually puts those appointments in your diary?” Well, duh, it was me. I then had a fabulous light bulb moment and realized that I need to get control of my diary. This meant me putting myself first and structuring my week.
In the past, I used to run about all over the city to lots of meetings and networking events five days a week! This meant I was spending a lot of time travelling back and forth to meetings, precious time I couldn’t use to work. I found that my output was decreasing and I wasn’t getting the work done, nor did I have time to really think. So, I decided to get tough with my diary and only do certain things on certain days.
Try it! For instance – my week looks like this
Monday: Work from my office
Spend time planning my week, have my mastermind call, my marketing call and write articles.
Tuesday: Work from Office
Create courses, create the marketing campaign and if its the last Tuesday of the month, spend time reviewing my longer range plans.
Wednesday: Work from office or meet clients
This is the day I run workshops face to face or virtually
Friday: Out and about
Networking and meeting new people. I do this on a Friday as everyone’s diary seems to be easier to get into!
It took time to get used to being so disciplined but now I do it, I love it and I have more time!
Try shaping your schedule in a way that works for you.
3. Plan Your Day
This is much more than just writing a to-do list.
This is really about planning to use your time effectively. Again, I find that structuring my day into chunk’s to do certain types of activities is very efficient.
Try planning your day as follows:
- What are the things that MUST get done today to move your business forward?
Schedule time to do these FIRST. Even before you open your email before you return those calls. If you don’t spend time working on those things that will grow your business, it will stagnate.
- Plan two-time slots for email.
Do not have your email on all day. I doubt you need to be that immediately on call. I do mine (using the 4D approach) on the late morning and then last thing in the afternoon. And it is switched off at all other times. By doing this I control my day, not the people sending the email.
- If you have to make a lot of calls, group them together and do them one after the other.
This will get you into the rhythm and free time up later for other things.
- Writing and planning tasks you need to think about…
always schedule a block of three hours of completely uninterrupted time. The only way you will get the work done is if you actually make the time for it and focus on it. Remove other distractions and enjoy having space to work.
- Social Media. Manage this like email.
Choose two or three times a day when you will check and update and set a limit on your time. I have clients that use a timer set for 15 minutes. This helps them be more efficient when they go into the social media world.
Time is finite.
When we have a day, we never get it back.
Time is one of the most precious resources of your business.
With more planning and forethought you can create more!