I used to be one of those people that prematurely judged when I would hear people say “Let me make sure I check and put it in my calendar” about what seemed to be very little thing. I would think to myself, you need a calendar to remember that. Nobody could be that busy! But my how time changes things. As promised, I’m going to be documenting my entrepreneurial and life pitfalls that I’m experiencing on this self-employment journey. The last month or so has been fun but crazy. But one of the biggest hurdles I am trying to leap right now is proper time management and putting systems in place to make sure I don’t lose track of commitments and responsibilities. I am so glad to have the amount of time I currently have to dedicate to my business but leaving my job has not been a magic pill as far as time is concerned. As a matter of fact, I have plenty of time but I also have plenty more on my plate. For this reason, I have had to make sure to be much more aware of how I am spending my time and make sure that I document every single commitment. It’s weird because my biggest worry was me wasting time in a different way. I was thinking I have to make sure I don’t get in a habit of waking up and watching TV for a few hours before getting to work and those kinds of things. I have’t had those kind of problems at all. It has been more of trying to make sure I am doing the work that matters and not just staying busy. It’s realizing that a planned out day means I don’t go to one side of town, come back to the office and then have to go right back out to where I just came from due to improper planning. And the big one, My wife would probably cosign heavy on this one, It’s making sure you don’t forget about family events, and To Do’s (like picking up the kids on certain days). The thing that I didn’t factor in is how much of a hunter you become when you know what you earn depends on developing leads and closing the deal. You see, when you’re at this stage of business ownership when a possible lead calls there’s a tendency to drop and forget about everything that you were supposed to be doing for the next 60 minutes or so. I mean I start salivating and everything. So I had to go ahead and bite the bullet and admit that I need well documented calendars and levels of reminders to make sure I don’t slip up as often when it comes to time and appointments. I was really disappointing to realize that I can’t keep it all in my head. LOL. As crazy as that may sound for me, it’s the truth. Some of the things I’ve done to improve in this area are:
Tips for Time Tracking and Use
- I put everything that is required at or by a certain time in a Digital Calendar (google, apple, etc.)
- I put everything that is required at or by a certain time in my written planner. ( I’m a huge fan of The Panda Planner and The Michael Hyatt Full Focus Planner)
- I make sure to set reminders on my phone and watch for upcoming events and responsibilities.
- I document my day with a time journal to assess whether or not I’m sticking to the plan.
- Don’t allow one or two hiccups (they will surely occur) to throw your whole day off. Things happen, get back to the schedule ASAP. Without a whole bunch of judgement and whining and complaining.
- Other people have things they are trying to get done too. So don’t judge others when it seems like they aren’t being considerate of your time at a given moment (use this one in moderation)
- Use that time journal to find those times you could be more productive or be more present for Family.
- Make exercise and rest a time priority
This list isn’t an end all be all but I can vouch for the fact that the things on it or making me better!
So what about you? What helps you stay on track?