When working on a project, have you ever underestimated the number of hours it will take to complete a job? Have you found yourself working endless nights and weekends on a project that could easily have been completed during normal business hours?
Do you constantly tweak and re-tweak your work, despite knowing, deep in your gut, that what you have written or designed is not only acceptable but your client would most likely find to be excellent?
If you answered yes to any of these scenarios on more than one occasion, you may need to “brush up” on your time management skills and let go of perfectionist tendencies.
Here are some tips on how to do just that:
- Make a to-do list, and prioritize tasks. Once the list is made, set time limits, but be realistic.
- Stick to established cut-off, “drop dead” deadlines. NO EXCEPTIONS.
- Use your Outlook calendar, mobile phone, a whiteboard…whatever means necessary…to ensure your deadlines, meetings, etc. are noted. It may be necessary to have them listed in more than one place.
- Take a step back, breathe and look at the big picture. Have you been spending too much time on one or more parts of a project when you have other areas that need attention or have not been addressed at all? If so, tackle those tasks immediately. If you have time later, you can revisit those other areas.
- Take breaks. Getting away from your desk for 15 minutes or an hour can re-energize you. Also, remember to eat lunch and have healthy snacks.
- Do not waste time waiting for someone to get back to you. While you are waiting for a phone call or email, use that time to accomplish other tasks on your list.
- Organize your filing systems. Having all of your files organized on your computer so they may easily be found saves time, especially when you need to lay your hands on a document during “crunch times.” The same is true for having an organized file cabinet and desk.
- Delegate and/or outsource. Sometimes, business owners fear losing control or they simply do not want to spend money to do a particular job they feel they can do themselves. A perfectionist might feel someone else could not do the work as well as he or she could. Actually, the opposite is true. By delegating and/or outsourcing, business owners are making a smart investment in hiring a specialist to do a job, thereby allowing more time to focus on doing other things on his or her to-do list.
By implementing smart time management principles, business owners can work more efficiently, resulting in less stress and more time to do the things you want.