Select Member Mike Gardner, also known as The Time Doctor, has some scheduling tips to help you commit to getting things done…
The hardest part about time management is making a real commitment to following a schedule. It can be especially difficult for people who work for themselves to work to any type of schedule. It can feel wrong, somehow, to keep a schedule as an entrepreneur. However, keeping a schedule is going to increase your success exponentially. Putting your schedule in writing will help you follow it.
Below you’ll find a few ideas to help you get started:
Use Your Smartphone
Today’s phones are really mini-computers. You can have your entire life on there, including your work schedule with alarm reminders and everything. If you see a pop-up on your phone every time you go to use Facebook, reminding you of tasks that need to be done, you will not have much of an excuse for not doing them.
Try Google Calendar
If you have a Gmail account, then you already have access to a powerful system that can help you put your time in writing, while helping you keep track. You can easily set up different calendars for different aspects of your life and colour code the entries. Further you can print out a calendar each day or sync to your smart phone so that you don’t forget anything.
Try a Project Management System
Project management systems like Basecamp can help you put your schedule into writing, and organise it too. You can use this system whether or not you outsource tasks to others by just assigning the work to yourself if you don’t have others to assign them to. You’ll get an email reminder before the task is due.
This nifty little program can be used to help you keep track of your schedule, notes for projects, and more. It has a bit of a learning curve, but once you get used to it you’ll enjoy using it to keep track of many tasks.
Try the good “Old-Fashioned” Date Book
The old Filofax still exists and many people prefer it to using technology. If you’re one that does, don’t despair because many people stay better organised with everything in writing in one single notebook. If that’s you, you can still do it that way.
Use a Large Whiteboard
The great thing about having a large whiteboard on your office wall is you can’t escape the tasks that need to be done since they are very obvious. You can also feel accomplished as you erase things as they get done.
Use Time Tracking Software
FreshBooks.com comes with time tracking software that enables you to keep track of what you’re doing easily once you set up names for them. Make entries for using social media, making phone calls, even doing the washing up, and you’ll soon figure out where you’re wasting time. You can’t get time back, so it’s nice to know where it all went.
Create a Contract with Yourself
Actually put your promises and goals into writing in the form of a contract. Write down in black and white what you will do, what your work hours are, and what you plan to do during those work hours. Then sign it.
Setting a schedule and sticking to it requires commitment to your business as if it is a job. This isn’t to say that it won’t be more flexible than a job. But, if you have to move the two hours you wanted to work on a particular project, due to a family emergency, you need to then take time from elsewhere to replace the two hours you were going to work. Seeing the schedule in writing will help you schedule things the best by making a visual representation of your day.
Till Next Time
Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor
The original version of this blog post first appeared on The Time Doctor website. Mike Gardner, The Time Doctor, is passionate about helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals like you free up two hours a day so that you can work on your business, rather than in it, and still have time to spend with family and friends or on leisure activities.
You can click here to visit The Time Doctor website and download Mike’s free e-book “20 Top Time Management Tips”.