That headline may seem like hype to you, but the truth is that I turned myself into a time management and productivity expert in 2005 and changed my life forever. You can do the exact same thing, and I’ll give you some step by step details here on how to achieve this goal in the coming weeks. We all have the same twenty-four hours in each of our days, and learning how to get the most out of them, while still living a joyous and rewarding life is well worth your effort.
When I first set about to better manage my time and increase my productivity I had to take a close look at what I was doing each day. This applied to both my business and my personal life. It was astonishing what I discovered! I was wasting so much time and setting myself up for failure when it came to productivity. My recommendation is that you begin by doing the same to get started on the right track.
Track and Record Your Time
- Spend three full days writing down what you do each waking hour. One of these days should be a weekend day or other day off, while the others are typical work days.
Determine Your “Prime Time”
Once you know how you’re spending your time and what you are accomplishing, it’s time to take the next steps:
- Decide which hours of the day are your most alert and engaged ones. It’s when you are at your best and I refer to this as your “prime time” each day.
- Begin to schedule the most important activities of your day during your prime time hours and observe what that experience is like for you.
Implement the “Rocks, Pebbles, Sand” Strategy
Once you have done this successfully for a full week, take your time management and productivity plan to the next level.
- Create a calendar for next month. Using the “rocks, pebbles, sand” analogy (look this up if you aren’t familiar with it) mark off your calendar to make time for family, friends, and faith before anything else. Then mark off time for your business, and finally, time for the things that are important to you but not urgent.
Improve Your Time Management and Productivity
Your family will love and appreciate you for doing this. Instead of just blocking off time for birthdays and anniversaries, you’ll be scheduling the time to do things with them that you may have missed in the past. Now let’s focus on the business side of this strategy.
- Take a close look at the goals and projects you wish to accomplish next month. Does this list seem overwhelming to you right now? If not, add some additional tasks to it. That’s right, you want more on your to-do list than you believe you will finish. Trust me on this – it works!
- Now, break down each item on your list into smaller pieces. This is called “chunking” and helps you to see your goals more clearly. Make a list of the steps required to take you to the next stage of your goal.
I have used these strategies to accomplish more than I ever thought possible. When I write another book, it begins with one paragraph about who will be served with my writing. When I create a new product or course, it begins with a short outline about what information I will include.
Each day you will begin by reviewing your list of what you are working on right now. You will shift the most physically or mentally strenuous activities to your prime time hours. Each task will be broken down into its smaller components so that you can move forward rapidly and in a logical sequence. Delegate any activities that are better done by someone else. And give yourself a pat on the back as you are able to mark something off your list that is completed.
Improving your time management and productivity skills is life changing, if you are willing to shift your mindset and imagine the possibilities. Give it a try and let me know what other questions you have. Be sure to pick up my book on this topic, “Time Management Strategies for Entrepreneurs: How to Manage Your Time to Increase Your Bottom Line.”
Connie Ragen Green is an online marketing strategist (and an influencer!) working with people on six continents to build a lucrative business on the internet. Get started right away at Online Entrepreneur Blueprint and you’ll be on your way to entrepreneurship.