5 Top Tips For Time Management

Who couldn’t use a little help when it comes to time management! Check out these 5 super simple and easy ways to make the most of your valuable time.

 

5 Top Tips For Time Management

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1. Focus On Just 3 Things

How many things are you trying to get done in a day? Is your to-do list jam packed with all your projects, goals and dreams?

Constantly jumping from one thing to another? Feeling stretched a bit thin? Running around like a chicken with its head cut off?

I love that you have tons of amazing ideas, and that you want to make them a reality! But the actual reality is that we’re all human and can only do so much at once.

When we overcommit ourselves, and fill our days to overflowing with projects, goals and deadlines, we’re setting ourselves up for failure.

 

When we overcommit ourselves, and fill our days to overflowing with projects, goals and… Click To Tweet

 

Inevitably a lot will be left undone, and that can feel frustrating, discouraging and stressful. You might even feel guilty for not sticking to your plans and start doubting your abilities.

To avoid all these icky feelings, set yourself up for success by focusing on just 3 priorities each day.

Choose 3 main projects or to-do’s that you want to be able to say you’ve accomplished by the end of the day.

Three is the max number of things our brain can handle at a time. It’s manageable, realistic, focused, intentional and achievable.

 

Three is the max number of things our brain can handle at a time. Click To Tweet

 

And let’s keep it real. I’m not talking about planning to finish 3 huge projects each day. I’m talking about finishing 3 smaller, bite-sized, broken down tasks that you can realistically finish by the end of your day.

This can include things like outlining or drafting a blog post, writing a portion of an e-book, scheduling social media for the upcoming month, conducting two client meetings, two hours of marketing activities, doing a FB live, a networking event, website updates or research event venues.

 

2. Schedule The Important Stuff First

Do all of your most important projects and tasks always seem to get pushed to the side? Are you constantly moving them to your next day’s to-do list?

Why can we never seem to make time for this stuff?

To be clear, “important” refers to those things we want to be working on, that are meaningful to us, that bring us closer to achieving our goals, and that will have an impact on our lives and businesses. This is where we should be spending our time.

However, a lot of us make the mistake of thinking that when something feels “urgent”, it’s the first thing we should work on.

 

5 Top Tips For Time Management

 

It’s easy to prioritize the urgent stuff, like responding to texts and emails, and other people’s requests. But next thing ya know, the day is over and none of the important stuff got done (yet again).

Urgent stuff tends to be very reactionary (like deciding in the moment that certain things need to get done) and a result of others’ demands and expectations.

So now that you know “urgent” does not necessarily mean “important”, ask yourself what’s most important for you to be working on?

What’s going to bring you closer to achieving your overall goals, purpose and vision? What excites you most?

Schedule and block off time for these meaningful and important things in your calendar. Like, now.

 

3. Track That Precious Time

Have you ever wondered where the time went at the end of the day? Seriously, how is it 4pm already?!

A great way to get over the day-be-gone blues is to track your time. You might think you know how you’re spending your time, and that you’re making the most of it, but time tracking can be an eye opening experience.

Time tracking will allow you to:

  • See how long various things actually take you to do
  • How much time you’re really wasting
  • Decide if you’re using your time well or if adjustments need to be made
  • Schedule more time for the important stuff
  • Become aware of your attention, energy and focus levels throughout the day, so you can schedule your highest impact and most important tasks more effectively.

You can use an app such as RescueTime to track yourself automatically – it just runs in the background of your phone, tablet and computer, spitting out a really cool report for you at the end.

 

5 Top Tips For Time Management

 

Or you can do it manually using Excel or Google Drive. Keep note of the time you start and finish each thing you’re doing and working on (this includes breaks and mindlessly scrolling social media!) or set a timer for each hour and write down everything you worked on during that past hour.

 

4. Set Deadlines For Yourself

If you’re internally motivated (meaning you thrive on the internal satisfaction of a job well done), this is for you.

When we’re working on a project that’s open ended and / or we don’t have anyone to answer to, as us entrepreneurs tend not to, we’ll often procrastinate, get distracted and fill our time with other stuff. Who’s experienced the Facebook or IG black hole more than once? *raises hand*

Here’s how to get started with your own deadlines:

  • List every single thing that needs to get done for whatever project you’re working on. Be extremely detailed.
  • Include the estimated time each of these things will take you to complete (your time tracking will help with this!)
  • Think about when you’d like to get this project completed by, and when you can realistically get it done (based on your list of tasks and time estimates). Pick a date somewhere between these two that feels right for you.
  • Set mini deadlines for various stages of the project. These will be your milestones that let you measure your progress, keep you on track and celebrate your accomplishments along the way (hey there motivation!)
  • Now write these deadlines down in your planner, Google calendar, wherever you’re going to see them daily. Writing our intentions down makes them real and gives you accountability.
  • Talk to people about it and tell them what deadlines you’re working towards. This also keeps you accountable, and then you can all celebrate together when you finish!

And if you happen to miss a deadline, remember: it’s not the end of the world.

 

5 Top Tips For Time Management

 

Deadlines have to shift sometimes, that’s normal! Use it as a learning opportunity by asking yourself what went wrong?

Did you under estimate your time? Did you procrastinate? If so, why?

 

5. Say No More Often

This is easier said than done, amiright?

Believe me – I know the feelings of anxiety when I want to say “no” to someone.

I don’t want to upset them. I don’t want them to be mad at me. I want to be a “good” person.

But in reality, people don’t take it quite that hard when we say “no” – and they usually completely understand.

Saying no isn’t always about another person and what they’re asking of you – it can be hard to say no to ourselves too.

 

Saying no isn’t always about another person and what they’re asking of you – it can be hard to… Click To Tweet

 

Sometimes we need to say no to expectations we’ve set for ourselves, or projects that we’ve written on our to-do list.

By saying no more often, you’re going to free up so much more of your time – for that important and meaningful stuff we talked about above.

Ask yourself straight up what can be eliminated from your to-do list.

What things need to be done, but you really don’t like doing them? Maybe they can be delegated or outsourced.

Is there anything that’s really hard or frustrating? Those things are going to take up a lot of your time, so hire an expert to do it instead.

What can be paused, and come back to later? Is this thing important to you (and bringing you closer to your goals)?

Why are you doing it? To please someone else? Be honest here.

So how can we be tactful about this saying no business?

I like the idea of a “compliment sandwich” – start by genuinely praising the person’s idea or effort, then tell them you’re not in a position to help right now, and end by expressing gratitude to them for thinking of you. Boom.

 

Now you’re a time management guru!

Get started with your top 3 things to focus on, then schedule that important stuff in your calendar. Make it a priority.

Putting it in writing and setting the intention will make it much more likely to happen!

Do some time tracking so you have a solid idea of how you’re spending your time and how long things actually take you. This will put you in a perfect place to map out some deadlines for yourself and say “no” to at least a few things on your list.

Happy time managing!

 

5 Top Tips For Time Management

 

What are your tips and tricks for time management? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

 

5 Top Tips For Time ManagementI’m the health food obsessed, lifelong spirituality exploring, bookworm Productivity Coach who’s hooked on getting things done. I work with creative and independent women entrepreneurs, to get control over their schedule so they can finally make the time for those important things they can never seem to get to. Instead of running around doing a million little things, our work together will take all those amazing ideas and projects spinning around in your head and create a focused, clear and positive plan of achievable action. You’ll know without a doubt exactly what you need to be doing to get the results you’ve been hoping for, and to see the impact of all your hard work. I believe without a doubt that it IS possible for you to achieve anything you want – you don’t have to struggle. Productivity can be second nature for you too. You just need clarity, intention and a PLAN. You gotta ask for what you want.

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  1. Kristin

    June 6th, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    These are AMAZING tips. I definitely need to try the bit about only scheduling 3 things in a day!

  2. Kelly Sherwood

    June 7th, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    Yesss!! We totally need to do that too. It’s such a great way to stay productive and not get overwhelmed! We’re so glad this helped you. 🙂

  3. Sam @ The Haunted Housewife

    June 6th, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    These are pretty helpful. I used to be a whiz at time management but then, social media… oops!

  4. Kelly Sherwood

    June 7th, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Haha yes!! Social media can really be a time suck. Glad you found it helpful 🙂

  5. Zoe

    June 6th, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    Now to actually put into practice.

  6. Kelly Sherwood

    June 7th, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Amen to that!! We’re working on this right with you 😀

  7. Nikki

    June 6th, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    I forget to set deadlines with dates. Thank you for the reminder.

  8. Kelly Sherwood

    June 7th, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    It’s hard, especially when you work for yourself!! We’re so glad you found this helpful!

  9. Tabitha Blue

    June 7th, 2018 at 3:58 am

    I needed to read this today! Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Kelly Sherwood

    June 7th, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    We’re so glad this helped you, Tabitha!!

  11. Cassie |White Sands and Cool Breezes

    June 7th, 2018 at 7:20 am

    I love these tips. Sometimes I tell myself to only focus on one task instead of getting ahead of myself. It’s so easy for me to think of everything else I need to do if I can remind myself to just do one then I can be more productive.

  12. Kelly Sherwood

    June 7th, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Yes! It’s crazy how that tiny mindset shift can help so much! We are right there with you.

  13. Veronica

    June 13th, 2018 at 8:41 am

    Good tips! I especially struggle with number one – I always want to focus on like a dozen things, but obviously that’s not very effective! This was just what I needed today.

  14. Kelly Sherwood

    June 13th, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Yes, us too! We definitely struggle with trying to do too many things at once. We’re so glad this helped you today, Veronica!!

  15. Zoe

    June 13th, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Pulling away from the black holes, that’s the biggest thing i need to do.

  16. Kelly Sherwood

    June 13th, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    Yes, Zoe! Such a good takeaway!

  17. Karoline Rose

    June 13th, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    It’s going to be tough to learn to only keep three things on my brain at once, but I do expect that practicing this could lead to a much higher rate of productive time in my day.

  18. Kelly Sherwood

    June 13th, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    We’re right there with you! It’s tough to put into practice but so rewarding whenever we’ve tried it.

  19. Haley

    June 13th, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    Love this! This post is definitely encouraging! Love the perspective it has provided me! Thank you!!!

  20. Kelly Sherwood

    June 14th, 2018 at 7:23 am

    Yay!! We’re so glad it helped you today, friend.

  21. Angela

    June 15th, 2018 at 9:41 am

    Great tips! Focusing on only a few things a day has helped me a lot!

  22. Kelly Sherwood

    June 15th, 2018 at 10:49 am

    Yes!! It’s such a helpful way to structure your day and avoid overwhelm. So glad this helped you, Angela!

  23. Heather

    July 9th, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    Thanks so much for this list, I needed it! I have been working on creating a list of 3 things I need to do each day and sticking with that list without getting distracted. I definitely know it helps if I just get those 3 most important things done first. It makes me feel so much more accomplished!

  24. Kelly Sherwood

    July 9th, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    Yes! We couldn’t agree more! So glad this helped you, Heather!

  25. Hailey

    July 9th, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    I always love time management pieces. Thanks for the insight, I’ll be sure to try some of these!

  26. Kelly Sherwood

    July 10th, 2018 at 7:25 am

    Absolutely! We’re so glad you found it helpful, Hailey!

  27. Erika Lancaster

    July 23rd, 2018 at 11:14 am

    I loved this post! I resonated a lot with the point about learning to say “no”. Still working on this myself, but I know that it’s a huge part of making sure you’re using your time wisely to get to where you want to get to! Thanks so much for these tips.

  28. Kelly Sherwood

    July 24th, 2018 at 8:31 am

    Yes! So wise, Erika. It can definitely be hard to say no, but its also so freeing once you start! We’re right there with you.

  29. Shawna

    August 8th, 2018 at 8:56 am

    Fantastic tips! I mark 1 or 2 items as “must dos” for the day. Anything else is a bonus. Definitely helps fight that overwhelm feeling.

  30. Kelly Sherwood

    August 8th, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Yes!! Such a helpful practice! So good, Shawna.

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