Does it seem like everyone and everything is vying for your attention all at once? It can be hard for solo entrepreneurs to know what to do first, let alone try to find the time to get caught up. Here are some time management tips that will help you to stay on top of it all:
1. Put your to-do list in writing and prioritize it. Studies show that people who write their lists down are 90% more likely to complete their list than those who do not.
2. Be realistic about how long it takes to get things done. Block out a reasonable amount of time on your planner, especially if it’s an appointment where there’s driving time to consider.
3. Schedule time with yourself, without interruptions. If that means closing your office door and letting your voicemail take phone messages, then that’s what you need to do. Do this at your most productive time of the day. Are you a morning person? Start your day out with some quiet time by yourself, when you’re the most productive and focused.
4. Don’t multi-task. That’s right! These days, people have found that they’re much more productive when they’re allowed to focus on one task at a time, rather than constantly juggling a dozen different projects at once. Think about it – don’t you feel like you’ve actually accomplished something when you can cross things off your list?
5. Are you a “yes” person? Learn to say no. Sometimes adding just one more thing to your to-do list means staying at work an extra hour. Ask yourself if you really have the time and energy to handle one more task. Don’t guilt yourself into it, especially if you’ll feel resentful later, for having done it.
6. Do you work at home? Don’t let common distractions sidetrack you. That basket of laundry will still be there at the end of the day.
7. Try to combine like tasks. If you have lots of phone calls to make and emails to respond to, make all of the phone calls first, then tackle the emails.
8. Keep all your contacts in one place, within easy reach. Do whatever works for you, whether you keep an address book in your day planner, in Outlook, in your PDA, or on your laptop. You need to have fast and easy access to phone numbers and email addresses.
9. Use waiting time productively. When waiting for an appointment or traveling, catch up on reading trade magazines, writing correspondence, or jotting down creative ideas for marketing your business.
10. At the end of each day, plan for the next day. Write down tomorrow’s to-do list, prioritize it, and then clean off your desk.