Rule your day- don't let it rule you!

Rule your day- don’t let it rule you!

We all have 24 hours in a day. How you use that time will affect when and even whether you meet your business goals, so it is important to have a plan for each day. Read on for some time management tips that will help you get more done in less time.

Tip #1: Know your “magic time” and protect it

This term is from Craig Ballantyne, who writes the popular Early to Rise newsletter for entrepreneurs. Your magic time is when you are the most productive and focused. It could be first thing in the morning, or late at night, and it’s the key time of day that you should focus on your revenue-producing activities and nothing else. This means NO email, phone calls, or any other interruption! It may be difficult at first since we are so used to having email open all the time (more on this later) and multi-tasking, but you will find that when you shut out distractions you can multiply your productivity- that’s right, multiply! Imagine getting important tasks done in 2 hours instead of over the course of 8 or more. So, again, determine your magic time, shut the office door, turn off all other distractions, and really focus on your most profitable activities for 1-2 hours every day.

Tip# 2:   Stop letting meetings waste your time

How many meetings do you attend every week? Every day? Most meetings are really just time suckers and don’t get anything done. If you can cut them out of your day you’ll have more time to complete more important tasks. Here’s a suggestion: keep meetings to 15 minutes if possible, have an agenda, and start early. Don’t wait for people to show up to begin the meeting. Announce the length of time you’ll be meeting for and stick to it. A lot of times people go on tangents or start socializing as soon as important topics have been discussed. Don’t let this happen: socializing is for lunch time, not business time.

Tip# 3: Don’t check email more than once or twice per day

Writer Mark Ford schedules every part of his day, including email time. He doesn’t check email until 4 PM each day, and only returns calls at this time as well. This has allowed him to become a best-selling author (under his pen name, Michael Masterson, he’s written books such as “Ready, Fire, Aim” and “The Pledge”, plus man others). Why? Email is a distraction. Have you ever noticed how emails back and forth seem to go on and on like an in person conversation. A lot of times the sender can easily resolve their question or concern and don’t really need your input. Communicate to your staff that you will only check your email at a certain time of the day, and if there is an emergency they can call or stop by your office. You can even put this as an email signature so that those you do business with get the message. It may not be popular at first, but it is one of the keys to increasing your productivity! Set a boundary and stick to it so you can stay focused.

Tip# 4: Take 5 minute breaks every hour

This could possibly be the most challenging of the time management tips for business owners. But it’s important. You will get much more done if you take a 5 minute break every hour than if you go for hours at a time. It’s simple: use a timer (an egg timer is good) and set it for one hour. Then go to work. When it goes off, go outside or anywhere away from your desk and do something else such as stretch, meditate, or talk to others in the office. After 5 minutes go back to your desk and repeat. Giving yourself a reward (5 minutes of rest) is a psychological way to get motivated to work constructively during that hour. You’ve probably read the experts’ advice on looking away from the computer screen for a time because of the strain on your eyes, and this practice not only gets your eyes away from the screen and your blood flowing because of you’re moving around. Try it for a day and see if you what a difference it makes!

Try putting these four time management tips into practice today and you will likely see a difference: more time, more focus, more accomplished. As a result you will set yourself apart from your competition, increase your revenue, and therefore your business’s value.

Do you have other tips for increasing productivity? Have you used the tips above and seen results? Visit our facebook page and give us your feedback!

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