They say that we all have the same hours in the day as Beyonce. It’s supposed to be motivating, but quite often can act as the opposite. In fact, managing time is the single most stressful thing an entrepreneur can do if they don’t get a handle on it, and suddenly it can feel like nailing jelly to the ceiling very quickly.
Of course ideally, we’d all see our families and friends as much as we’d like, we’d get all the sales from doing just 10 minutes of work a day and lead an entirely stress-free existence with no challenges whatsoever. But as we know, the reality is a little different. But it doesn’t have to be as stressful as we make it out to be.
In fact, the idea of learning to manage our time as a continual adjustment rather than a one- and-done situation is a great idea to get your head around right from the get-go.
SEO (search engine optimisation) and Visibility Queen, Maddy Shine, helps creative female entrepreneurs get to the top of Google all over the world with her successful consultancy, and she’s here to share her tips on how you can manage time more effectively and still have time for a G&T in the bathtub (or however self-care looks to you).
First off, it’s important to understand that whilst we have to sleep, eat, exercise, maybe take care of kids, take care of business, network with others, update our website and post on social media, we don’t have to do it all, all of the time. And yet, most still try to.
So what can you do from this place of trying to do it all, to actually manage your time more effectively, feel better about everything on your To Do list, and actually, dare I say it, enjoy running your life and business.
What do you actually need to do today, or this week? What would be, simply, nice to do? It’s great to have these written down in two lists. You can then prioritise the absolute musts, and then feel good about ticking off the nice-to-have items if you do action them.
By time-blocking everything – which means adding every single task to your calendar, you can actually see where it’s getting bloated and where you need to trim the fat. You can start to see where you need to delegate, and what simply can shift onto a “One Day” list rather than the Right Now list you keep running through. You can use different colours in your online calendar to distinguish between personal and work, and you can even add your daily walk, your lunch breaks (yes, you need to take them), cooking your meals, grocery shopping and, of course, your evening G&T in the bathtub.
Allow for procrastination
Everyone does it. Checking the emails, adding things to the online shopping baskets, checking social media just one more time rather than cracking on and doing the work, and then the guilt hits. There is no need. Allow yourself time to procrastinate by adding it to your time-blocked calendar and guess what, you’ll feel so much better. You can then go back to the tasks you need to do, guilt-free!
Use an online scheduler
Once you start using an online scheduler for clients to book in calls (yes, even those ‘just want to pick your brain’ moments’) you’ll find that clients start respecting your time and boundaries more because guess what, you’ve started showing respect to your own time, expertise and boundaries. It cuts out the back-and-forth email chats about arranging a time to meet, and it gives both sides more time to prepare for the call meaning less time is wasted on the call itself.
Have call-free days
Once you start streamlining your process following these tips, you’ll find that you can create dedicated days in the week. Mondays might be your On the Business day, where you block off your calendar so that no one can book calls in. Fridays might be your Wrap Up the Week day, so that you can finish off your priority tasks before the weekend begins.
You cannot eat a whole elephant at once
One of the key things to learn is to recognise that you cannot do everything at once. By taking your tasks one by one, you can begin to see the wood for the trees. By writing down your new ideas and reviewing them monthly or quarterly, you can actually see how to stop yourself backtracking and getting caught up in a cycle of self-doubt and instead crack on with the tasks that will drive your business forward, step by step.