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Is time managing you?


If you are like many people, you decided to get a better handle on your time this year. Some people call this time management. How is that working out for you?

Funny thing is that we all have the same 24 hours in the day. Some of us just do a better job of managing ourselves. We really can’t manage the time. Here are five tips to help you do that.

Know what your time is worth.

Your goal as a business owner is to turn your time into money, so I think you should know what your time is worth. Here’s an easy way to figure it out. What do you want to make this year from your creative arts business?

For our example and easy math for me, let’s say $50,000. Let’s also say you take two weeks vacation, so that leaves 50 weeks a year that you work. Divide the $50,000 by 50 weeks and you get $1,000 a week. Divide that by five days in the week that you plan to work and that gives you $200 a day. Divide that by 5 hours a day that is productive and you get $40 an hour. Let’s double that to cover overhead. Now we have $80 an hour.

Your next step is to ask yourself if the task at hand is worth $80 an hour. A good exercise is to track your activities and look at them in this fashion. Is driving to the post office worth $80 an hour? Is grocery shopping worth $80 an hour? Is cleaning your house worth $80 an hour? Is packing your own product to ship worth $80 an hour? You may decide you need to continue doing these tasks, and that’s OK. You just need to know the value of the task.

Try this using your own goal number. What did you discover?

Track your tasks.

For the next week, record your business activities. At the end of the day, go back and note whether the activity was A (administrative/technical), M (managerial) or E (entrepreneurial). Then go back and decide whether these tasks could have been deleted, delegated, systematized or automated.

Your goal is to replace those activities that aren’t valued at your hourly rate, so that you can work on activities that are worth your hourly rate. It’s about working in your brilliance.

Try time blocking.

This is the idea of pre-assigning blocks of your time for specific activities. It lets your days be more productive because you’ve shifted to an “appointment” mindset with all your activities, not just outside appointments. It also lets you control your time because you decide when activities take place.

Look at your tasks (see previous step) and see what activities can be tackled in blocks. Here are just a few activities to consider: packing and shipping time; creative and design time; customer product intake on one afternoon and evening a week; time for bookkeeping; business development (marketing time); and time to write that book that you keep putting off.

Plan your day the night before and use a list.

At the end of each day, review what worked and didn’t with the day and plan what you need to accomplish the next day. By doing this the night before you’ll start the next day fresh and not spend time trying to figure out what to put on your to-do list. You will likely spend less time worrying about the next day that night because you preplanned it. And, I’ve heard that often your mind will work on those activities while you are sleeping, and you’ll come up with ideas you wouldn’t otherwise have.

Learn to say no.

This is a biggie, as it’s so easy to say yes to every opportunity. When you are asked to do something, consider whether it will move you closer to your goals. If so, then it might be appropriate to say yes. If not, can you find other compelling reasons to say yes? If not, then don’t hesitate to say no. Remember if you say yes to every opportunity you get without considering how worthwhile it is, you may have to say no to the really great opportunity.

Here are some time management quotes I really like.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” H. Jackson Brown

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” Michael Altshuler


It’s Your Turn!

What are your keys to managing yourself to better manage your time?

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2 Responses to “Is time managing you?”

  1. Penni Domikis said:

    I use all of the above tasks. Of course some days the time manages me better than I manage it. I keep lists that are easily modified (electronic). One for Long-Term tasks with a reasonable expectation of progress, one for the week so that I can better manage blocks of time and one diary of daily tasks. I plan the day the night before and also adding tasks to the day and add the items that I completed that we not on the list as well so that I can see where I spent my time. I mark off items completed with a highlighter so that I can still read them and at the end of the day I assess how well I did toward the goal. The highlighter gives me a visual cue and if I get to the middle of the day I can see how I am doing, can I take a break, do I need to add more tasks or balance the day.
    Some tasks take me less time than I thought they would and some are real time-suckers and take way more of my time than I thought. I also block out time each week to tackle yucky tasks that I don’t like such as calling state tax offices, managing finances or getting to particularly long overdue, long-term tasks. Learning to say no is making life easier. Using this method makes life so much easier when asked to do something you haven’t ever done before. I know my hourly-rate so requests are easier to process and price.
    If you can’t afford to hire and manage another person, see how much time you can say by paying for software that might do what you need. I implemented 3 new pieces of software in the last year. These alone allowed me more time to accomplish a long-term goal.

  2. Morna said:

    Penni, Thanks for adding to the conversation! I like the highlighter for checking off. It makes the ta-da done really stand out, plus motivating. As you say, it’s a good visual clue to where you are.

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