Where does the time go? We wake up on a Monday morning, all fired up with our goals firmly in mind for the week, and get to work. The next thing we know, it’s Friday night, we’re logging off, and the entire week seems to have disappeared in a puff of smoke, before we even have time to sit up and consider what has taken place.
Time can often seem flexible and unreliable – on some occasions it shoots past without so much as dropping in to say hello. Other times, it drags on and on, leaving us wishing away the minutes and seconds. This makes our time difficult to manage, as it can be unpredictable, unreliable and downright slippery! So, how do we free up time – the one thing, it is said, that money can’t buy – and make sure we get the most out of each hour of the day?
The main thing that helps me stay organized and stay ahead of time flying past is having a great routine – I get up at the same time each day, and go to my office at home. I then log on, do all of the administration which needs to be completed each day, and work for a while to plan anything else I need to get done today The rest of the day is then split in to sizeable chunks of time, so I know what I need to be doing at any given point. Having a time schedule supports people to keep on top of what needs to be done, and puts a little self-imposed pressure on the task of working from home, by galvanizing us in to action and preventing us from getting sidetracked by other things.
A routine is like any other habit – do it often enough, and your mind and body will get in to the swing of it until it becomes second nature. Of course, there are always going to be things which crop up unexpectedly, such as an urgent request for a customer, visits from people, or other time-sappers, but it’s possible to actually legitimize these by allocating a certain amount of each day for ad hoc requests or unexpected intrusions.
When we work in a corporate environment, our time is usually managed for us. We have an expected time to arrive each working day, and we are obliged to log on to our systems and be alert, productive and ready to go by a certain hour each morning. Lunch times are scheduled in – usually unpaid – pushing us in to taking a break at a specific section of each day, before returning for the afternoon to apply ourselves again.
However frustrating this may seem when we are actually in that environment, it is a system which has been used successfully for years, and one which we can just as effectively apply to our own day when we work for ourselves.
There are other great ways to manage time well – order your list of priorities each day to make sure the most urgent tasks get done first. If there are some things on your list which you can’t face, consider outsourcing them to other people who can do a better, quicker, more effective job on them than you may be able to.
Similarly, don’t be tempted to put off the tough things just because you don’t feel like facing them – the joy of effective time management is that you will find you have the capacity to take on even the hardest, most laborious jobs without flinching away from them, when you have a clear, ordered routine for your day.
I’m not saying that it is simple to become so effective at time management that you can do your work in one morning, and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure. However, a few simple steps such as those above can bring some discipline in to your blogging business, freeing you up for more enjoyable tasks, and taking some pressure away from your working week.