Time management is an interesting concept. There are 168 hours in each week, but the end of the week rolls around and you’re left feeling like most of those hours were wasted. You’re trying to reach your goals, you’re trying to break free from the monotony of the 9 – 5, but you just can’t seem to make headway!
Maybe you are stuck feeling like you can’t finish anything? If that’s the case, it’s time to buckle down a little and make your time work for you. This is where time management comes in.
Let’s say you sleep for 8 hours. This leaves 16 hours in the day. Most people will work about 8 hours a day, which leaves you with 8 hours unaccounted for (even more on the weekends or days off). Do you realize that you have EIGHT HOURS a day that aren’t taken up by sleeping or working? Of course, you probably spend some of that time commuting and prepping and eating meals. Let’s say you spend an hour commuting daily, and 2 hours on meal prepping and eating. You have 5 hours left. At the end of the day, can you say what you did during those 5 hours and why?
If you are ready to ditch your corporate job and become an entrepreneur, you need to have a game plan. You need to know what to do with every minute of your time so you can check off everything on your to-do list and maintain your sanity!
If you’re ready, let’s talk about how time management works.
When you set out on the entrepreneurial journey, your time = money. Time is the most valuable thing you have, and it is not infinite. There are only so many hours available to you, so let’s make the most of them.
Managing your time is like managing your money. If you don’t pay attention, it can slip away and you’re left at the end of the day wondering where your day went! So, how can you take control and manage your time? How can you stop spinning your wheels and make a difference in your life and productivity?
To end the cycle of being stuck in your 9 – 5 job, you will need to intentionally take control of your time.
Becoming Intentional with Your Time
The first step in managing your time is intentionality. This is not just scheduling out your day.
Being intentional means scheduling your time with PURPOSE.
When you start telling your time where to go and yourself how to be productive, you start to be very careful about where you spend your time. You'll be picky about what you’re productively doing. I mean, you can very productively watch the latest season of your favorite show on Netflix, right? If that’s how you decide to spend your time, great! But be intentional about it and know that those hours spent watching your show aren’t hours spent making headway with your goals!
You Need to Get a Planner
The next step in managing your time is getting a planner. There are hundreds of options, so it shouldn’t be hard (unless you LOVE planners, and have commitment issues) to find something that will suit your style and needs. Using a planner is the best way to tackle time management. There are a few digital options out there that work well for some, but nothing beats a good, old-fashioned paper planner!
A planner helps you keep track of upcoming appointments, gives you a place to write your to-do list, provides a space for goals, and more.
Side note: if you’re not keeping track of upcoming appointments, or writing your to-do list somewhere easy to reference, or setting goals and tracking them, then we need to talk about whether you’re ready for this entrepreneurial gig!
You Have a Planner Now What Should You do with it?
Now that you have a planner, you actually have to use it…I know, crazy, right?? Just having a planner will not automatically make you organized. It’s a sad fact of life, but that’s the cold, hard truth. Follow these steps to make your planner (and your time) work for you.
Set it up to work for you
Keep it visible. It’s not going to do a lick of good if it’s hiding out somewhere!
Make sure you have all the tools you need. Highlighters, colored pens, tabs, rulers - keep everything that will help you rock your planning sessions handy.
Take time to review and plan weekly and daily
Set aside an hour at the beginning of each week to make a plan. Fill in appointments and deadlines for the upcoming week, update your to-do lists, check in with your goals and priorities, and see if you need to adjust your strategy.
Make time at the end of each day to review the day, transfer things that didn’t get done to the following day, and set up a prioritized list of plans and to-dos for the next day. Take time to re-center yourself. If you don’t do this daily, you will find that your planning becomes reactive, not proactive.
Manage your goals
A goal is something you want to accomplish in the future. It's very important to think about your goals and write them down, and then take steps to manage your goals.
Make some time at the beginning of your planning process to lay out your goals. Where do you want to be and what do you want to accomplish in 10 years? 5 years? 1 year? What do you need to do today to make those goals happen?
Meal Planning & Prep
Take a little time at the beginning of the week to plan out your meals. Make a grocery list based on what you will need for those meals. Don't wait until it’s almost time to eat on Wednesday to figure out what you’re serving.
Organized home and office spaces are vital to an organized life over all. Before you sit down to plan and organize, take some time to make your physical spaces more orderly. Your psyche will thank you!
Schedule a few minutes every day to do a little housework or organization. Put a few items on your daily checklist, like “empty sink at night,” or “Clean off flat surfaces.”
Can managing your time help you break free from your 9 – 5?
Yes, it can. When you pay attention to your time, you will find that you have more time than you think. You have an extra few hours each day that you can use to make your dreams come true. Think about it! If you had an extra 10 hours a week to build a new business, would you make your goals into reality? Of course, you would!
Now, get out there and tell your time what to do. Stop letting those extra hours to slip away and put them to work making your dreams into your new reality!