Manage Your Time: Tips For Solo Professionals

Everyone has the same amount of time each day. Have you noticed how some people seem to have it together and others are a hot mess? Maybe you looked at someone and thought, how do they get everything done and still have time for family and friends? 

As humans, we tend to procrastinate by keeping ourselves busy with unimportant things, reading unimportant emails, scrolling/posting on social media, or taking personal phone calls that have nothing to do with our business. Running your own business is no small feat, but if you implement some time management skills, you can get things done and still have time for your family, friends, and fun. 

1. Make a Daily To-Do List 

Every evening before I “clock out,” I write my daily agenda and to-do list for the next day. I determine the most important task that needs to be done, and that is the first task(s) I list, and then I list the not so urgent tasks last. Then I think about how much time each task will take to complete. This way, I focus on what needs to be done and a time goal to get it done.

I make it a challenge of sorts. If I check off two or three tasks on my list in one sitting, I reward myself with a cup of tea or a little snack before moving on to the next tasks on my list. 

Another way is to keep your to-do list visible. Write your list on a whiteboard in your office. You will see what needs to be done every time you look up and hold yourself accountable for getting those tasks done. You can still reward yourself when you complete tasks.😉

2. When Are You Most Productive? 

Ask yourself, “when am I most productive?” Is it in the morning when you’re fresh from a good night’s sleep, in the afternoon, or are you a night owl?  I am more productive in the morning; however, my sister is more productive in the evening. Every person has a time when they have more energy, and that is when you should plan on doing your more important tasks.

For example, when I have a deadline to write a newsletter or create a newsletter for a client, I do it in the morning when my energy is at its peak. My work gets done, and I feel so much better about my day because I got that task checked off my list.

3. Track Your Time 

Whether you use a daily planner, Google calendar, or time tracking software (like Clockify), you can look back and notice patterns when you have a record of how you spend your time at the end of the week. When were you most productive? When were you least productive? It’s also great to look back and see what you have accomplished during the week.

It is hard not to obsess over your to-do list and forget all you accomplished in a week. By keeping track of your time, you think more positively, and that can increase your energy and productivity levels.

4. The Pomodoro Technique 

If you aren’t familiar with the Pomodoro technique, it is working for a specific time period (25 minute blocks of time) and taking a 5 minute break in between. Block out time on your calendar for each task, and then figure out how many Pomodoros that will be. Shut off all distractions (i.e., email, social media, etc.) and focus on the task at hand.

There is a Pomodoro app for iPhone and Android that will pop up a text window when each session is over. You can journal your work, and at the end of the day or week, look back and see what you have accomplished. 

5. Focus on What’s Important

When we focus on what’s important and forget everything else, it opens the door to a productive and happy life. To manage our time efficiently, we must first define what really matters and focus on those things during the week. 

Make a list of everything that you have to do during the week. Include work and personal tasks. Once you have completed the list, go back through and star the most important task and make those a priority for the week. Make sure that you keep this list visible (Whiteboard?) so that you can stay focused on what’s important.

There are so many different ways to manage your time. These are just a few examples. If you are struggling with time management, don’t be too hard on yourself. Consider implementing one or more of these tips. If it doesn’t work, try a different method. It took me several times to get a time management style that worked for me.

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