Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tips on Time Management

Referencing back to my Facebook post where you guys shared business topics you wanted to discuss, I thought I'd touch base on time management today. Let me just say that time management is an on-going battle for me, and I'm sure most small business owners, so I am definitely not an expert. The tips listed below are things I'm constantly working on. I'm learning as I go.
Write That Shit Down - Making a list is always key, but also make sure that list is visible. In the past I have used my phone calendar or a pocket planner but I find that if I don't have my list in front of me, I don't check it enough. We have a chalkboard in our kitchen that I write big "to-dos" on, and I also keep my handy dandy "don't forget" notepad on my desk to remind me of smaller, more detailed tasks I need to accomplish.

Set Specific Deadlines - Rather than saying, "I need to get this done ASAP," set an exact date or time. It gives better perspective on the time available to complete a task. 

Use Phone Reminders - Setting alerts and reminders on your phone is an easy way to remember to transition from one task to another. Maybe you want to give yourself two hours to process orders before spending some time promoting. Set an alert on your phone for when it's time to stop doing orders for the day, otherwise it's easy to spend more than the time allotted on one task.

Get into a Routine - Getting familiar with a set schedule can help productivity a lot. For example, every day after waking up I'll do orders till about noon. Well, sometimes longer if I get super wrapped up in it (maybe you should set your phone reminder Jules..). Then it's a post office run. Then it's designing, or blogging, or folding. I don't really have to think about when I should do what because I know the routine that works for me.

Multi-Tasking - If there is a task you need to do that doesn't have to be overlooked constantly, then try to incorporate that with an additional task. I do this all the time when it comes to printing wholesale orders. They take up a lot of my printer's time so I make sure to do something else (whether it's work-related, cleaning, errands, whatever) while the large order is printing. Multi-tasking can be done in the littlest, simplest way and still be effective. For example, printing a shipping label. In the amount of time it takes to print a label, do something else. (Write a thank you note, tie a string, stamp your logo on the packaging, etc...).

Limit Distractions - With sites like Facebook and Twitter just a click away, limiting these distractions is a tough one. I fail at this all the time. For business owners, I think it's hard because we also use FB and Twitter for promotional purposes. I can go on there to share a new item and find myself scrolling down, down, down, reading everyone's posts. I 100% recommend using these sites, and most importantly, interacting with other people on them. But do your best to recognize when you're being productive and when you're getting sucked into distractions.  

Schedule Social Media Updates - This is something I don't really do, but thought it was worth mentioning. You can use programs like Hootesuite to schedule social media updates. Facebook also gives you the option to schedule your status update for a specific time as well (here's how.) I have done this before but honestly, I didn't find that it saved me much time. However, I do recommend using Hootesuite to schedule updates when you're on vacation and don't have internet access.

Schedule Breaks - This is important, yet easily over-looked. When you have a lot to do, it's hard to step away. However, even the shortest break can make you feel a little less stress and a lot more motivated. Step outside, walk the dog, exercise....I promise it will help the chaos that is going on inside your head. I'm not saying take the next plane to Maui (oh wait...) but you have to make time for yourself. If you have a hard time doing this, set your phone alarm! "Break time!" I have my alarm set for 3:00 every day to remind me to work out. Now, I'm not saying that this works every time....but hey, it's an effort and it helps!


What strategy do you use to manage your time? I would love to hear your tips!

Also, if you have a business topic you'd like to discuss, you can ask it here.

xo JA

16 comments:

  1. Great tips! Time management is something I struggle with on a daily. Even when I make lists and set deadlines... yeah, not everything gets done.

    I have used Hootsuite for years now, both for myself and companies I work for. I also gave Buffer a try: http://bufferapp.com/ They can schedule your posts to go out at times when your fans will see it more. I've seen success with both Buffer and Hootsuite's auto-schedule so it's certainly personal preference.

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  2. I JUST posted about how I'm getting all my shit together to be organized! haha I'm trying very hard this year to do it. I got an awesome app for my phone because I , too, love making lists but never seem to remember to take the lists anywhere! It even tells me good job, to remember to smile today, etc. I love it :)

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  3. Limiting distractions is a big one for me. I'm definitely struggling right now with time management. After I get home from my day job, all I want to do is have a drink and watch Jeopardy, and that doesn't bode well for being productive. It's definitely hard to nurture my shop "on the side." I like your suggestion to set specific dates and times for deadlines. I think that might help me a lot. :)

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  4. These are such great tips! Limiting distractions and taking breaks are my biggest struggles with time management, but I cannot do anything without a list. How do people go without lists?

    -Chelsea
    chelsandthecity.blogspot.com

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  5. I suck at time management! Since I am still basically at the beginning of really doing anything with my photography I am in full out learning mode, so this post was well timed for me :) The only routine I have in my life at the moment is when I get up in the morning I sit down and enjoy a cup of tea.
    At my old job when I knew I had a certain amount of time before break I would put on a soundtrack or specific album so that when it ended I knew it was break time. Since I'm home all the time (for the moment anyways) I tend to tell time by tv...not the best strategy, but I find if I'm in the office listening to music instead I have no clue what time of day it is and get caught up in things easier. Luckily daytime tv is still pretty boring so it's just background noise lol.

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  6. Actually using Google Calendar is totally on my list this year. I'm hoping I double book less this way.

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  7. I find that really using my Outlook calendar helps me. My entire day is scheduled (and with different fun colors). Because you can set it to remind you of upcoming meetings or the next task (reminds you 5, 10, or 15 minutes beforehand), it's a great way to make sure you stay on point. Because of it, I never have time with time management. And, you can add the app to your smart phone so that even when you are away from your laptop, desktop, etc., you 'll still get the notifications on your smart phone or tablet.

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  8. I am addicted to "to do lists" ... probably a little too much so :) I always keep one open and on my desk with a pen or pencil somewhere near it. Usually it's a list that applies to the whole week, but sometimes I'll do day specific ones too.

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  9. Thanks for the tips! Like you I'm a big fan of to do lists and blackboard reminders. Visibility is key and I adore my filofax for planning. I find that participating in Twitter chats can be really helpful for promoting and I use Buffer for scheduling my tweets.

    In terms of life, my boyfriend and I find meal planning really helps us to stay organised and frees up time for business tasks. That way I'm not surrounded by orders reaching for the phone to order take out pizza or standing infront of the fridge wondering what to cook!

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  10. I just sent out some information for a new post chatting about time management! This is perfect timing. So glad to have come across your blog and your shop. :)

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  11. Excellent list for something I think quite a few of us struggle with... and YAY not being the only one who has to see the list at all times. Taking a break first... starting now.

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  12. Reading this on my lunch break at work- where i've been running around like a maniac all day! Great tips, i'll be using them for the rest of today. xo

    www.littleleightree.co.uk

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  13. I'm a big To Do List person and try to prioritize by importance of tasks but still always trying out new ways to improve time management skills. Great Post!

    Velvet Moon Dairies

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  14. Great tips! Pinning. =0)

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  15. Great tips, especially the keeping your lists in sight. I was always making notes on my phone and then never never going back to check. Now I have a board above my desk where I pin little notes with all my ideas so they are always within eyesight!

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  16. Hey Julie

    Thank you so much for these wonderful tips. I have a Ph.D. In Procrastination, so this certainly helps :D

    I especially agree about staying away from social media - my major time-sucker ;) - and taking some time out to de-stress #HUGSSS

    Much love and BEST wishes
    Kitto

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Thanks for the comment! I read them all and reply when I can. Please be sure your blogger account is linked to your e-mail so I can do so! (Tutorial on how to do that here: http://tinyurl.com/c6gh9fk) xo JA