As a small business owner the buck stops with you. You and you alone are in control of how you spend your time. Of course when the phone is ringing, you are being interrupted and the unexpected has jumped out and bitten you again, it can feel like you have no control at all… So how do you cope with all these fluctuations and still power through your work to achieve your goals? Planning! Yes, I know, no matter how well you plan there is always something that happens that upsets your plan and puts you right back to square one, scrambling to keep your head above water. But there is a way to plan that lets you allow for these interruptions without it destroying your day. In any one given day you will have a certain percentage of the time when you will be able to focus and get work done. That percentage will vary depending on your circumstances. It might be as low as 10-20% for highly customer interactive businesses, and as much as 80% for others. It may vary from day to day. A day filled with meetings uses up the percentage of “plannable” productive time. Take a best guess at what the percentage might be for you in your circumstances – we are talking gut only feel here. Now think about that in terms of the available productive time in your day. It may not happen in one large chunk. The lower your percentage, the more likely that the time will be fragmented. That is the amount of time you have to achieve items from your task list.
- Take 5 minutes either first thing in the morning or last thing the night before (my preference) to look your plan for the day.
- Identify hard scheduled times, meetings etc
- Identify what your priorities will be for the day during your productive time. These stay as a list of activities, although you may want to jot down how long you think each should take.
- Assign each task a priority as mentioned in the blog article “The secret to using a daily list so it works”
- A – must be done today – life or death
- B – would be great if it was done today
- C – can afford to wait till tomorrow
- The total time you are committing should be limited by your productive percentage.
When you have non scheduled time start with the first “A” item. As interruptions occur weigh them against the priority of what you are currently doing. If they are not as high a priority, deal with them quickly (less than 2 minutes) or reschedule them for later. By using this flexible planning method you can make the most of the time you have available, while still allowing for the unexpected to occur without completely sabotaging your day. And of course if you ever manage to have a day with fewer interruptions I am sure you can find some additional items on your To Do list to keep you busy! If you are struggling to control your time and get the results you know you are capable of then it is time to take action. The Focused Time Management System TM avoids all the clutter and gives you the most important things to focus on to get you back in control of your time and your life. It’s all step by step, not a big mish mash of things. So you do step one of the system, and when you’re done with that, you move on to step two, and so on. So easy! All the tips, tools, and worksheets are handed to you on a silver platter. E mail me at Julie@DevelopmentSolutions.US to arrange a time to chat over your issues and see if I can help