Managing Your Time (and you) Smarter

Use a Default Diary – The idea of a default diary is that you allocate time for specific activities on a regular basis – such as going to the gym between 5-6, and working on your marketing every Monday from 9am to 10am. The principle is that you allocate time to all important parts of your life and then stick to it.

Once you and those around you get familiar with the system, it works really well – and you’ll probably find yourself being interrupted less often. This strategy keeps you focused and keeps you in a routine to ensure nothing is missed.

Work in 90-minute blocks – Many studies have shown that 90 minutes is the optimal time for people to concentrate and work effectively. Therefore, if you identify 90-minute periods and work consistently and focus during that time (without any interruptions), you will find that you achieve more. Put the phone on silent and shut the door for 90 minutes.

This also gives you the opportunity to reward yourself at the end of each successful 90-minute period. This is the opposite of multitasking – which rarely works, despite many people thinking they are legendary multi-taskers. Apparently, our brains are not set up to switch between many different tasks at a time.

We are far more productive if we focus on a single task and just get it done. This is really why interruptions are such a major problem – once that train of thought has left the station, it’s hard to get it back. 90 minutes of focused, productive work is far better than half a day of interruptions.

Outsourcing – find those tasks that really don’t require your input directly. I’m not suggesting you lose total involvement, but surely there are areas of your core skills that are being pushed aside to deal with all the other aspects of business unecessarily. Consider just a few of the things you could outsource in your business:
Accounting, marketing, graphic design, administration work, manufacturing, copywriting, website design, human resource management, strategy and planning (though you should have some input into that), financial control, legal services, event planning, PR and promotions – you get the picture. Now you’re a little closer to managing your time smarter. Give it a try.