Have you ever found yourself dreaming about all the things you'll do when you finally have more time?
Or perhaps found yourself getting frustrated because you simply don't have time to do all the things you need to do?
Not having enough time seems to be contagious disease these days and "I don't have time" is becoming a familiar catchphrase!
The good news is, there is a lot you can do to gain more time!
By the end of this post you'll have some great ideas on how to find more time for the things you really want to do - like building your business, following your passions, enjoying more family time or studying.
But first, you have to take a time-saving oath!
I (add your name) solemnly promise to never again say: 'I don't have time'!
Why promise this to yourself?
One very important reason. Time is a resource we can not control. We all have the same 24 hours in a day and no one can get more time than that. No one.
This means that you can never have 'more time', so when you tell yourself you don't have time, you will start to feel frustrated, helpless and depressed.
It's simple to avoid this however.
Instead of saying 'I don't have time' say to yourself 'I need to reassess what I do with my time', as this is something you can control - we can all use our time differently. Realising this is empowering, exciting and exhilarating!
See what a difference a simple change of wording can make?
So now you've promised yourself to find ways to use your time differently, here are some ideas of things to consider to help you get started!
People often say to me things like: "I don't know how you fit it all in!" and I'm about to share with you exactly how I do it.
While I've said above these are 'easy' ways, and they are certainly very achievable for the majority of people, like all new things they will take a certain about of discipline and determination to make them happen and turn them into useful habits.
That said, if you're ready to get an extra 5+ hours a week for your business, here are lots of ideas for you to try out!
Need more time in the day? Here's how you can get it!
Watch less TV
I was shocked to discover recently that the average American watches eight hours of TV a day - that's a full-time job!
If you were to turn off the TV two evenings a week, you'll have four or more hours extra a week to spend doing something more interesting and satisfying instead.
Just imagine what you could do in that time to build your business, your network or yourself!
Wake up earlier
Yes, I heard you swearing at the screen! And honestly, I would have done the same not so long ago. But getting up 30-60 minutes earlier is a great way to gain more time and get ahead on your business.
When I worked in an office, I would always aim to get into the office early so I could make the most of the early morning quiet time to get on top of my workload before the craziness and firefighting began - and it can do the same for your home business too!
I'm not suggesting you get up at 4am like many of the most successful entrepreneurs, but getting up one hour earlier can help you make the most of the most productive hours of the day and get your mind and energy in the right place, so take full advantage!
If you are not naturally 'morning person', ease yourself in by waking up 10 minutes earlier each day so it doesn't feel like such a shock. To help you avoid the snooze button trap, try out Mel Robbin's 5 second rule that will help you outsmart your brain.
Realising that she was wasting a lot of her time lying in bed feeling unmotivated, Mel created a simple way to motivate herself out of bed each day - counting down from 5-1 and then physically launching herself up and out of bed, in much the same way as a rocket takes off. It made a big difference to her life and having tried it myself, I can confirm it's simple but very effective. Watch Mel explain this method in this short YouTube video.
Waking up one hour earlier each morning will add up to 7 hours to your week - that's close to one full working day! With the bonus that once you get your morning routine right, you can set yourself up to get more out of all the other hours available to you.
Plan your day the night before
When you wake up with a plan of action and clear intent, you are more likely to be motivated, focused and productive throughout the day.
Like all things new, it can take time to make this a habit, but if you spend 10-20 minutes each evening planning your contacts and activities for the following day, it can make a big difference to your ability to get all the most important things done. The big tip here is to keep it simple, so it's easy to do.
If you are not able to plan your days each evening, then try and take time to plan your week every Sunday evening instead.
If we conservatively assume that more productive days with less procrastination can save you around 30 minutes a day, that will give you a good extra few hours a week!
"Energy flows where intention goes." - Gabby Bernstein
Multi-task certain activities
While for most business tasks, focus is definitely better if you want to get things done well, there are some time activities that can be done around others. This is something I looked at in my post: 5 Ways to Be A More Productive Business Owner.
Self-development is a good example. You can listen to training and self-development books while driving, commuting or even while doing household tasks.
I often listen to inspiring videos and books while cooking or getting dressed. Admittedly I find that I need to listen to things more often to get full value, but I think when it comes to learning and growth, something is definitely better than nothing.
Multi-tasking your self-development and learning can save you 3-8 hours a week.
Make full use of your most productive hours
This point links into the points above about planning and multi-tasking. The idea is that you plan your most important tasks for your more productive hours of the day, such as early morning, and less important or 'brain intensive' tasks for other times.
For example, I do things like creating images, research and scheduling my social media posts for times when I'm not so productive - like late morning, afternoon or evenings. But more important tasks like client or prospect calls, or workshop and training design and development for early mornings and after lunch when I tend to have more focus and energy.
It's inevitable that despite all your careful planning, there will be things that crop up during the day that need your attention. But don't let these distract you.
Get your most important things done first as your top priority every day - the activities that your business and momentum depend upon -and only then allow yourself to look at other tasks. This will take some courage and discipline, but it's important to commit to.
Each time a new task arises, ask yourself these questions:
- How important is this?
- Does it need to be done today, or can I schedule it for another time?
- Does this have to be done by me, or can I delegate it to someone else?
- Does this really need to be done at all?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you'll be able to give the item the most appropriate priority and schedule.
Not being distracted and planning tasks for the most appropriate time can save you valuable minutes that all add up.
"Managing your time is not magic, it's planning!" - Melitta Campbell
So you might have read that heading and be thinking "Who do I delegate to?" or "I can't afford to delegate!", but don't worry, there is actually a lot you can delegate to give you more time - you might just have to get creative!
Firstly, there are probably household tasks that you can delegate to your kids or partner, that will save you time. Perhaps you can ask your husband to put the kids to bed or take them to school twice a week, giving you extra time to focus on your business - for some people a lot of extra time lol!
You can involve your kids in your business and give them some of the easier tasks that will make them feel like a valued part of your team, but save you time. Even young kids can take a useful role.
You could offer a young person in your community some work experience and get them to help you with your social media or image creation. If you do this, be sure that they learn some key skills through their involvement in your business.
Slightly different to delegation, but you could 'task swap' with other entrepreneurs or business owners in your network. I recently swapped my copywriting skills for someone else's design skills. It saved me both time and money!
If your business is starting to turn a profit, you could consider investing in a cleaner or virtual assistant to take over some of the tasks that eat into your time.
Taking the example of 'bed time', this could save you an extra 3 hours a week or more for your business. Taking a creative look at delegation could save you a lot more than that each week!
As a small business, you have to get creative when it comes to delegating.
Keep a list of 5-minute tasks
This is something I've found really helpful.
When you are starting your own business, you often do so around other commitments - such as a full-time job or family, so making the most of your time is crucial.
With a list of 5 minute activities, I'm able to squeeze a lot more activity into every day, since there are often times when I have 5 minutes spare... waiting to pick up the kids from school, waiting for the kettle to boil, being stuck in a traffic jam, arriving early at a business meeting... there are lots of opportunities for quick tasks.
Keep a list in a notebook that you keep with you, or make a note on your phone using a notes app such as Evernote.
I can typically fit in at least 10 x 5 minute tasks a day, which is close to an extra hour a day spent on my business every day!
Step away from your Social Media
Social Media is a great way to stay in touch with friends around the world and meet new ones - but it can be a huge drain on your time.
I remember the first time I discovered Pinterest - it was fascinating, but boy what a rabbit hole. Before I knew it 4 hours had passed!
I love social media, and use it a lot for my business, but it's important to make sure you manage your time online and don't let it eat up too much of your time.
How to do you manage your time?
These are some of the ways I've found it useful to plan my days and fit lots more activity into my days - have you tried any of them? How did they work out for you?
Have you tried anything different? I'd love to hear about what you are doing, or even what you are planning to try out.
Share your thoughts, ideas and experiences in the comments below!
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