Time management is a hot topic these days, especially with the rise of the contract workforce. There’s always more work to tackle and the same amount of resources to do it with—24 hours, 7 days, and 1 person.
Instead of thinking about time as something to manage, many argue that it’s a matter of managing yourself. After all, you can’t control the ticking hands of a clock but you can control what you do with every passing minute.
If you’re overwhelmed with your current workload, it may be time to hire extra help or use better processes. Here are some things to keep in mind when addressing the latter.
Set Defined Goals and Deadlines
As a solopreneur you’re in charge of everything. You’re generating leads, onboarding new clients, managing current clients, and supplying deliverables. With all this to juggle, it might seem frivolous asking yourself what it’s all for.
You’re growing a business, you’re trying to make money doing what you love—what more is there? There’s the granular.
For every task you set out to do, map out a quick mental outline of how you’re going to do so. More importantly, establish clear deadlines for when you’re going to do something by.
Change Out of Your Pajamas
Isn’t staying in your pajamas one of the perks of working for yourself? Of course. And there are going to be days when you hold up on the couch in sweatpants and a ratty t-shirt. Making this the norm though is not ideal.
Mindset-wise, it helps to maintain a routine—one that involves you getting up and dressed to take on the day. When your outfit says “lounge mode,” it can end up decreasing productivity.
Time Block Your Day
When you start your day, it can be helpful to think of it in timed out chunks. For example, you might do your best work in the late morning and early afternoon. If so, set aside time from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for projects that will need the bulk of your mental capacity and creativity. You can use the remaining time for responding to emails, holding meetings, taking breaks, and other business development-related activities.
Time blocking your day like this also helps you in avoiding task jumping. It’s difficult to transition from one item to the next—and back again—with every distracting notification. Silence unnecessary devices and set your email pop-ups to “Do Not Disturb.” Acknowledge the space and time you need for getting stuff done—then set yourself up for success.
Be a Person of Integrity
If you say you’re going to do something, do it. This is what integrity is all about. And if you’re going to build a business based on trust and recurring clients, you need to embody this early on.
The more leeway you give, the easier it becomes to put things on the back burner. Hold yourself accountable to the commitments you make. And if you find yourself stretched thin, know when it’s time to say no.