Are you always wishing you had more time? Welcome to the club! Or maybe you’ve been a member for quite some time already. Having good time management isn’t necessarily a skill you’re born with.
For those of us looking to either start or grow our online businesses, this feeling is compounded by the fact that we often have to do everything ourselves, at least until we can afford to hire out.
The truth is, you probably have plenty of time to work on your business, even if it’s a side hustle. You just need to stay focused, practice better time management, and work on actions that truly make a difference.
Yup, that’s means if you’re trying to drive traffic to your blog or sales page, you probably shouldn’t be focusing on growing your Instagram followers (especially since it’s probably the worst social platform for linking).
Everyone has the same 24 hours in each day, so how is it possible that some people can accomplish much more than you do? How are they still able to be on time for all of their commitments?
If you’re struggling to meet deadlines, complete projects, or actually gain traction in your business, here are a few reasons why you need to take a closer look at how you approach your time management.
8 Reasons Why You Suck at Good Time Management
Chances are, you do have the time to do what you need, you just need to take a closer look at how you approach your time management. It’s likely that you waste time in small periods throughout the day—5 minutes here and 3 minutes there—but these little moments really add up.
Go through each item on this list and take note of which ones apply to you and how you can change your behavior. It’s worth paying attention to the ones that you think may not apply to you, too! You may get ideas for improving what you are good with.
You fail to prioritize
One of the most important parts of a good time management strategy is the ability to prioritize high impact tasks and things that must be done before you can start work on others.
You should always have an idea of what’s the most important activity necessary to complete an objective. If you’re not, then it’s likely that you’re not truly working on tasks that have the most impact.
Without prioritizing, it’s easy to stay busy but fail to accomplish anything.
Ask yourself, “What is the most important thing I need to accomplish?”
Then ask yourself, “What is the best way for me to accomplish that?”
Sometimes, you’ll have to do a little bit of learning to find out what you should be prioritizing, but once you know, your focus should be on constantly moving forward instead of around in circles.
You waste time
Wasting time is probably the most obvious way to improve your time management. It’s also the most common way we fail at managing our time. Everything else is just so tempting!
You may waste time due to procrastination or inefficient work habits. Maybe you frequently get distracted by social media or Netflix.
Whatever your vice is, make choices to avoid wasting time. Make quick decisions or put in the time to work when you’d otherwise be aimless browsing the web or watching your favorite show for the 5th time.
Becoming more organized is a good way to boost your time management skills, as well. Disorganized people never seem to have enough time, and they’re frequently late with their work.
When you’re not organized, everything takes longer than it should. You spend time looking for a pair of clean socks, your car keys, searching for files you printed, and trying to pull off things at the last minute.
The same is true for your digital workspace. If you don’t properly organize files on your computer, misplace or forget passwords, or forget where you saved that certain bookmark, looking for these things can slow you down.
Make an effort to organize your life and yourself. There are many available resources that are dedicated to organizing your life. Use them!
You have too many distractions in your life
It could be low-quality social interactions, TV, hobbies, noisy kids, clutter, or your prize-winning rose bushes. Having too many things in your life takes up a lot of time.
Remove the things from your life that are unnecessary. Minimize the distractions you can’t remove, like your children.
Lock down apps or websites that distract you with apps like RescueTime and put your phone on silent or place it in another room so it’s not as easy to grab every 5 minutes.
You don’t start your day early enough
Most of us don’t get much done in the evening. You might spend this time relaxing, just lying around the house or staring at your phone.
This is why so many highly successful people skip the evening hours by going to bed and waking up extra early. Your brain tends to shut down by the late afternoon, whether you started your day at 9:00 AM or 5:00 AM.
Give yourself a few extra productive hours by getting up early and going to bed early.
You don’t track your time
It’s impossible to practice good time management without some form of time tracking, but for this, I want to talk about tracking how you spend your time now so you can find and eliminate time-wasters.
Do you know how you actually spend each day? Are you aware of when you feel most energized and when your energy levels are low?
Track how you spend your time each day. Keep a simple journal for at least a week and make a record each hour of how you spent the last 60 minutes.
What did you do? How did you feel?
After a week, you should be able to notice some patterns and see where you may have some extra time in each day to work on your business. Try to rearrange your free time so it’s later in the day or out of a time when you feel energized.
You don’t have a plan for your day
Your day shouldn’t be random or determined on the fly. To get the most out of your time, you need to have a plan instead of trying to just wing it.
It’s best to create a detailed plan before you go to bed each night. It could be the last thing you do before you stop working for the night or a part of a nighttime routine.
Then, when you wake up in the morning, you won’t waste any of those precious daylight hours on figuring out what to do next. You’ll already know exactly what you want to do.
All you’ll have to do is spend your day executing your plan as well as you can.
You’re not focused
You’ve probably been told to “focus” or “concentrate,” but do you really know how? If you sit down to work on something for an hour, how many minutes is your attention truly focused on that task?
You can come up with plenty of time to accomplish everything you need to do each day if you focus on a higher level than you’re used to.
Focus is built through practice. You need to get used to finding your “zone.” Getting into your own state of flow.
If you struggle to stay focused, try using a timer to practice. Start with 5 or 10 minutes and work up from there. Use the tips throughout this ebook to minimize distractions to help you focus better on what you’re doing.
Using the Pomodoro Technique is a great way to practice focusing while also working on planning ahead and prioritizing—many of the necessary components of a good time management strategy.
Recap: Why You Fail at Good Time Management
Let’s quickly go over those 8 reasons one more time:
- You fail to prioritize
- You waste time
- You’re disorganized
- You have too many distractions in your life
- You don’t start your day early enough
- You don’t track your time
- You don’t have a plan for your day
- You’re not focused
Just like everybody else, you have 24 hours in each day. Be sure that you’re using those hours as wisely as possible. Go through each item on this list to evaluate your own time management skills.
Make the most of your time by prioritizing, removing distractions, and learning how to focus. You have all the time you need to build your business—even if that’s just slow and steady—if you’re willing to make the necessary adjustments to yourself and your life.
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