How To Be More Efficient With Your Time

Oh how we all wish there were 26 hours in a day and 8 days in a week sometimes.  Am I right?  As much as we love a weekend, a five day week to get down to business can seem to fly by. 

One of the things I get asked by my clients a lot is “how can I be more productive” or “how can I make better use with my time”. As busy business owners or those climbing the career ladder, time is of the essence and we all wish we had more of it. However, everyone has the same number of minutes and hours in the day, it’s just how you choose to use it that means some excel better than others. 

Most people would like to be more efficient. Just think, you would spend less time doing the things that you don't enjoy and more on the things that bring satisfaction, happiness and profit in your business you would be one happy bunny wouldn’t you? Some people are just more efficient than others or maybe more sensible; focusing on their core zone of genius and letting others do the things that they are not as good at.

Top Tips for Time Management and Efficiency:

Identify your core zone of genius - this means focus on what you are good at and let others do the other things.  For example I am not good at cleaning, and I also loath it. So it is not good use of my time to be cleaning the kitchen or bathroom - I invest in a cleaner in order to be able to better invest my own time in building my business.  What things could you let others do, so that you can build your own business or excel in your career.  Maybe a Virtual Assistant or a dog walker?

Schedule, Plan and Share it - There are so many scheduling and productivity tools out there, we all have loads available to us on our phone. Even better is that some of them also allow you to share with the whole family.  So all the stress of remembering arrangements needn't just land with you - allocate tasks, share the schedule, plan with the family to allow you more time to be productive. I have friends who sit down on a Sunday as a family and they all go through the schedule for the week; it allows everyone to raise what new things are happening, what needs to be remembered, what out of the ordinary things might be scheduled - no surprises, less stress and everyone buying into having a plan for the week - maybe something to try?

Block your time out - using those scheduling tools or even just a good old notebook. Plan out tomorrow at the end of today. Take some time to look at your calendar - what events do you have, meetings planned, appointments and free time. By blocking out your time in your diary you can make the most of the time you have. By doing it at the end of the day before, it is less overwhelming when you start a new day. You know what is happening, where you need to be and you are less likely to forget something. 

By blocking your time into smaller, sizeable chunks you can achieve more and feel happier as well.  Our attention span these days is pretty goldfish like, so working in short, sharp bursts can be more productive.  Set yourself time limits to complete work, schedule in regular breaks and get up and move around.  Celebrate completing things rather than thinking about all that you have to do.  Small, manageable tasks are the way forward to create a positive working environment - think less stress, less dashing around, more calm and control!

Set goals and prioritise - setting goals is a key starting point when it comes to good time management.  Setting daily goals allows you to have clarity with your time and a sense of purpose.  By then prioritising the tasks you need to complete to achieve those goals you can really be efficient.  Have a look at your to-do list and take it from a list to a quadrant  - I like to use the Eisenhower Matrix for prioritising tasks based on urgency and importance. Categorise your to-do list under these four headings;

Urgent and Important.  Urgent and less important.  Less Urgent and Important.  Less Urgent and less important. 

To build more efficient time management skills, you should focus primarily on tasks that are important and need to be done on the same day. After those tasks are done, then you can move on to the things that are less important and less urgent.

Everything has its place - ok this is so simple yet can be a game changer when you’re trying to dash out of the door to a meeting or take the kids to school. Everything has a place, this is something to get into a routine with. A lot of time is wasted chasing down lost items. Keys, shoes and bag hunting first thing in the morning can cause distraction and frustration, especially when you have something important to do or somewhere important to be. By being more organised, you can be more efficient with your time.  Put everything in it’s place so you know where to find it and you can create a slick morning routine for getting out of the door on time.

Rachel Letham is a successful business and career coach based in Kent and Sussex. She works with clients to share the tools they need to lead more fulfilling lives and careers. Rachel helps clients build their a positive mindset for success, gaining clarity in their direction and purpose in business and their careers.  Rachel is also the queen of organisation and has a few productivity tips up her sleeve that she shares in her coaching practice