At Metronet, we talk a lot about time. As in, how much time you and your business can save by switching to fiber internet (which is true, by the way). But fiber internet isn’t the only way we as business people, and we as people, can save time – personal habits are also very important. Here are 10 ways that you can be intentional with your time management, so that you can be as successful as possible in your business life.
1. Prioritize Tasks
Once you’ve had your coffee and read your emails, or however you like to start your day, take a few moments to evaluate and prioritize your tasks. One popular tool for doing this is called The Eisenhower Matrix, which categorizes tasks into four quadrants based on urgency and importance. It was popularized by Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, who was known for his exceptional ability to manage time and make effective decisions. (I know you’re wondering, so just so you don’t have to Google it, the four quadrants are Urgent and Important (Do First), Not Urgent but Important (Schedule), Urgent but Not Important (Delegate), and Not Urgent and Not Important (Eliminate).) Focus your energy on tasks in the "Important and Urgent" quadrant, and delegate or schedule less critical tasks for later.
2. Set SMART Goals
Establish clear, achievable goals for your business. Having a roadmap helps you stay on track, and ensures that your daily activities align with your long-term objectives. Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable steps. Sometimes, these are called “S.M.A.R.T.” goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound).
3. Time Blocking
Allocate specific blocks of time for different tasks and stick to your schedule. This prevents multitasking, which is actually harmful to performance, and allows you to give your full attention to one task at a time. Consider using time management techniques like the Pomodoro Technique (a time management method based on 25-minute stretches of focused work broken by five-minute breaks). Even just blocking off some time on your Outlook or Google calendar (or whatever digital calendar you prefer) can help you stay on task.
Recognize that you can't do everything on your own. Delegate tasks to trusted team members or consider outsourcing tasks that are not within your area of expertise. This frees up your time to focus on strategic aspects of your business. These tasks are in the third quadrant of the previously mentioned Eisenhower Matrix – urgent, but not important.
5. Embrace Technology
Don’t be afraid to use productivity tools and apps to streamline tasks. Project management tools, calendar apps, and communication platforms can help you stay organized and on schedule.
6. Say Yes to Saying No
While it's important to be open to opportunities, it's equally important to know when to decline commitments that don't align with your goals or would overextend your resources. Saying no frees up time for your top priorities.
7. Realize and Adjust
Regularly evaluate how you're spending your time. Identify time-wasting habits or tasks that can be optimized. Adjust your schedule and strategies accordingly to continuously improve your time management skills.
8. Take Breaks and Practice Self-Care
Burnout can be a real threat to a successful career. Be sure to schedule regular breaks and prioritize self-care. Exercise, meditation, and adequate nutrition and sleep are important for maintaining productivity and well-being.
9. Learn from Successful People
Study the habits and routines of successful people. They often have valuable insights into time management and work habits that can inspire and inform your own approach. Many business books have valuable information to offer.
10. Seek Support
Consider joining entrepreneurial networks or seeking mentorship. Connecting with others who have faced similar challenges can provide valuable guidance and support.
Remember that effective time management isn't just about squeezing more work into your day - it's about achieving a balance that allows you to accomplish your business goals while maintaining your health and well-being. By implementing some or all of these strategies, you can make the most of your time as a businessperson and enjoy a fulfilling work-life balance.