Time is arguably your most valuable commodity. However, if you’re like most of us, our time seems to completely pass us by in the blink of an eye. “I can’t find the time!” If you’re an incredibly busy entrepreneur, I can almost guarantee that you’ve felt like this at one time or another throughout your week.
One big problem in today’s society is that we don’t seem to be able to effectively manage our time. We spend hours worrying about replying to emails. Organizing calls with clients. Scrambling to generate more work. We never spend time on the most important things.
In this article, we’re going to discuss the top three time management techniques. These not only dramatically improve your productivity but also improve your quality of life.
“For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” – African Proverb
#1: Plan Ahead
One sure-fire way to significantly improve your life, productivity and overall success is to formulate a well-structured plan.
Let’s be serious. Creating a simple plan isn’t rocket science. All you need is a pen and a sheet of paper. Start by writing out the top 5 things you need to do tomorrow. Then what you’ll need to complete them. Finally, when you’re going to do them.
Planning ahead gives you that all-important mental advantage on tomorrow. When you’re already organized you will be able to focus on your most important tasks.
You could even take things a step further and plan for the week, month, or even year ahead. Giving yourself a pre-planned schedule will make you hold yourself accountable for the completion of tasks. Use tools such as Google Calendar or TimeTree to organize your schedule, so you can be sure that your managing your time effectively.
#2: Eat The Frog
Right, before you start running off to your local pond, I want to make it clear that this is just a metaphor. The phrase “Eat The Frog” comes from something Mark Twain once said. Twain made the point that if you had to start every morning by eating a frog, it would probably be the worst thing that could happen that day. However, once that was over with you could continue to fully enjoy the rest of your day.
But how does that relate to time management?
When starting your workday it’s best to begin with the largest, most important tasks first. Think of your largest, most mentally-demanding, energy-consuming tasks as slimy frogs that you must eat. Once your largest tasks are complete, you’ll work and live the rest of your day without having the huge burden of finishing off those specific tasks.
Prioritizing your tasks will help you eliminate the time you’re wasting on much smaller, less important tasks. It will also give you some mental clarity whilst making you feel more energetic and ready for whatever comes next in your daily routine.
#3: Remove All Distractions
Let’s face it. It’s so easy for us to get distracted in this day and age. Texts, notifications, Instagram dm’s, YouTube videos, that cat screaming down the road.
We pretty much have instant access to any piece of content that will distract us. Being disciplined can be a tough skill to master. But trust me, if you want to have time to enjoy life, you must learn to cut out all the things that are distracting you from completing your most important tasks.
A study conducted by the University of California Irvine found that it took participants a staggering 23 minutes (on average) to refocus and get back on task after being distracted.
Now some distractions may be unavoidable, such as an important call with a client, or being asked to make some urgent final touches to some work. But eliminating all self-inflicted distractions such as aimlessly scrolling through your Facebook feed, watching Instagram stories, or taking that quiz to see what celebrity you’d be best coupled with, will make a gigantic difference in terms of your productivity. Plus how much time you have left in your day.
#4 The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is the perfect way to stay productive. You save yourself a ton of time by segmenting your schedule into 25-minute time slots.
The idea of this technique is that you work solidly in 25-minute blocks, and take a 5-minute break between each block. For every 4 blocks of 25 minutes worked, you must take a longer 15-20 minute break.
This technique is used to ensure you’re dedicating short bursts of focused time on each given task, whilst guaranteeing yourself regular breaks to help you de-stress and refocus. This way, you’re effectively committing your time to complete tasks while preserving your energy, keeping you feeling productive and refreshed throughout your day.
It’s definitely worth checking out apps that will help you adopt the Pomodoro technique. Try pomodoro-tracker.com. You can input your to-do list, click to begin the 25-minute countdown, and stay on track throughout the day!
Knowing how to value your time is crucial if you want to get the most out of your life. Having a well-managed schedule and implementing some of the techniques we’ve discussed in this article will help you transform your productivity. You will be rewarded with the precious time that you deserve to spend on things you enjoy.
For more tips on how you can improve your success as an entrepreneur, check out some of our other awesome posts, including “5 Morning Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs”.
Written by Lewis James