Time Management Strategies To Avoid Overwhelm In Your Business (Part 2)
Contributed by Nathalie Ricaud July 27, 2017
In my previous post, I’ve shared the first three of the five most common issues people face when it comes to managing their time and my strategies to address them. Let’s dive into the last two.
Issue 4: Your Tasks Have No Dedicated Home
I’m sure you’re familiar with the organising concept that says that each and every item you own should have a dedicated place in your home. Well, it should be the same with your tasks.
You should have a dedicated time in your weekly and monthly schedule for every activity that’s important to you, whether it’s driven by a professional target or a personal aspiration.
Before you argue it’s impossible to put predictability into your schedule or that you can’t operate within so much structure, consider this: a routine schedule helps you separate the decision from the action. Instead of spending time deciding what you’re going to be doing next or procrastinating on things you don’t enjoy doing, you just do them.
A routine schedule also allows you to make well-thought-out decisions on how to spend your time when the unexpected happens. Now you can play around with your schedule and easily switch activities based on your priorities.
When creating your routine schedule, take into consideration your energy levels and concentration thresholds for various tasks as well as other people’s schedules. For example, the best time for me to do strategy work is in the morning when I’m very alert, and I also know that my concentration threshold for this type of work is 1.5 hour, after which my attention starts drifting. On the other hand, I dedicate the 4.30-6pm timeslot to activities that don’t need much focus (checking emails, sourcing pictures for my blog, etc.) as my son does his homework by my side at that time and may interrupt me.
Issue 5: You’re An Easy Target For Things That Lead To Time Wastage
There are many factors that can contribute to putting even your best laid out plans at risk. Think perfectionism, procrastination, interruptions (whether physical or digital), etc. I’ll just cover two of them here.
Multi-tasking just doesn’t work. Studies have shown that it takes your brain four times longer to recognise and process each thing, when switching back and forth between tasks.
Embrace single and batch-tasking instead if you want to improve your productivity.
Create blocks in your schedule of uninterrupted work for a single task or a group of similar tasks – that’s batch tasking. As opposed to doing these tasks on an ad-hoc basis, it allows you to be totally immersed in what you do, and as a result, improve your productivity.
As an example, by batch-tasking various updates (accounts, clients databases, KPIs, publication plan and website) that I was previously doing on an ad-hoc basis, I was able to save half the time I used to spend on these tasks.
Do you feel compelled to check your phone or your emails as soon as you see or hear a notification? Well another study has shown that every time you interrupt your work, your brain needs 25 minutes to return to the original task. Imagine the impact on your productivity!
It also means that if you keep checking your phone or emails while working on something that requires deep thinking, you can never really go deep into your thinking.
Learn to disconnect from the falsely urgent so you can reconnect with the important.
Turn off notifications from your emails, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and the likes so you can stay focused on the task at hands. If it’s not enough, put some distance with your phone to make it more difficult for you to reach out for it.
Allocate time to check your emails, maybe 3-4 daily and close the application down the rest of the time.
So there you are. My top tips to help let go of the feeling of overwhelm that usually goes with feeling time deprived. If you need help to get back in control of your time, have a look at my one-on-one time management coaching program1.