I’m sure many of you out there are thinking “I’ve got awesome time management skills. I know how to split my day, be productive, and that huge list I’m working on – sure it keeps getting bigger, but look, I was able to cross off four entire things off of the list since I started it three years ago!” I’ll give you a minute to let it all sink in…………there it is, the AHA moment. I know it well. I had mine not that long ago!
Since starting my blogging, and two businesses, I thought I was good to go with my “time management” skills. Yup, going through life, getting absolutely nothing accomplished from my long list of things to do, but always damn busy. What the…? Who the…? Busy, but not getting anything productive done for MY blog, or MY businesses. Just a whole lot of stuff done on other peoples’ long lists of things to do.
Here’s the BIG SECRET to managing my time…….I don’t manage my time. Instead, I manage my attention. Big difference. I can’t give you all the secrets I have learned from one of my favorite books, but you can have a couple that have proven to be the most effective for me in my every day life, as well as, my business life.
Stop answering your phone
When you’re working, or with your kids, if the phone rings….ignore it. I mean, check to make sure it isn’t a family member, or your significant other first! Same goes for the texts that come through. Focus on what you need to get done, and then check your messages. I know, you’re thinking “but what if it is an emergency?” Here’s the tall and skinny of it: if it is an emergency, they will call you back. Harsh, I know. It’s very rare that a phone call is life, or death, while you’re at work. Unless it is your kids’ school.
You get what I mean, right? Use your best judgement, of course. However, do NOT let the phone rule your day.
Stop allowing your email to update itself
I always had my emails automatically pop up when a new one arrived. I’d answer it, or handle the matter, then go back to work. Well, that’s not a good idea. It’s kind of like answering your phone, it takes away from your productivity, eats away all your time. At the end of the day, you’ve been busy, but never being productive. I’ve learned to set a specific period of time in the morning, and afternoon, and evening. I block out 10 minutes to look at my emails, sort what needs to be sorted, answer what needs to be answered, and delete what doesn’t need to be in my box! DAMN the SPAM.
Once I am done with my 10 minutes in the morning, afternoon, and evening – that’s it. I don’t look at the email. It is shut off, there’s no automatic alerts, or pop ups. I’ve been more productive since October than I have been all my email revolving life. I do have one email that comes through my phone, it’s for friends, and clients. Clients are the backbone of my businesses, and blog, so that email I check more often, but I don’t have them come through automatically. I retrieve them when I’m able to focus on them. What I have done is sent an email to my clients about my “open times” to contact me. They know if they send an email when I don’t have OPEN TIME, the email will have to wait to be answered.
I have found that when you give clients, and customers, a “heads up” to your available time, they are fine with it. They just know how it will work, and life manages to still go on.
Managing time is an outdated concept. Instead, think bigger……..manage your focus and productivity.