I am honored to share the inspiring writing of Karen Dunlap of DesignForYourSuccessNOW.com as the guest blogger today. Karen offers a Business of Design Seminar Series in Northern Virginia.
Time is one of the most precious things we have in our business. How we manage our time can lead as easily to our success as well as to our failure. If you are not taking consistent and disciplined steps to manage your time daily, you’re probably feeling like your spinning your wheels and not getting much done.
There are so many things today that compete for our time. Emails are constantly streaming in, cells phone are buzzing and there is always that unexpected event that has a way of showing up at the most inopportune time to totally throw off your day. When you allow these distractions to determine the course of your day, you are directly sabotaging your success.
Don’t take time management lightly. The most successful people I’ve noticed are also the most disciplined. They somehow manage to accomplish twice as much in half the time. That is no accident. Managing their time efficiently and effectively is a habit for them; they know that to do otherwise is a recipe for failure.
The first step in managing your time is to understand and fully accept that you are the keeper of your day – no one else. As soon as you accept this and live your life by it, you’ll find you immediately have more time in your day. It means having to say no at times, actually many times, to those requests that meet someone else’s agenda and allow your agenda to take top priority.
It also means carving time out in your day daily to address different aspects of your business. You can’t shoe horn in marketing, business development, social media let alone design time. These need to be routinely scheduled into your weeks. There is an advantage both physically and mentally in doing so. When we spend our days trying to cram things in and responding to the latest fire drill, it is physically and mentally exhausting. Rather than greeting the day with a sense of purpose, your body learns to gear up for battle if you don’t have a consistent plan or schedule to follow. We see this in babies. One of the most important things we can do to provide them a sense of peace and well-being is to get them on a routine. That need doesn’t change as we get older. We still are at our best when we can bring a sense of routine to our lives.
Look at your days and identify the leaks that are draining time away from doing what you really need to be doing to grow your business to the next level. Get serious about managing your time and then take consistent, focused and disciplined steps to establish a routine to make things happen. You’ll feel more energized and accomplish so much more!
Action Steps: Spend this week really accounting for how your minutes are being spent. Jot down from the very start of your workday to the very end what you did along with how much time you spend on that task. You’ll very quickly see the leaks in your day. That five minutes you thought you were taking for a cup of coffee my actually be 20 minutes as you allow yourself to get distracted with other tasks or interruptions. After doing this for several days, you’ll start to see some patterns emerge. You’ll note one time of day your most productive and what typically seems to be a weak spot for you in your day.
The key is to get clear on how your time is being spent and then to take consistent steps to manage that time more efficiently and effectively. Plan out those aspects of your business that need to be dealt with on routinely. Don’t wait for the time to do it; make the time to do it. For example, rather than running client invoices as they are needed, schedule this as something that gets done at a specific date and time each week. It’s all about taking consistent action to reach your goals and it all begins with taking ownership of and effectively managing the time you have each day.
If you feel challenged and frustrated in your business and want to learn specific steps and strategies to get you back to business, contact Karen by email or learn more about her coaching services at www.DesignForYourSuccessNOW.com.