As a business owner, do you ever feel like time evaporates into thin air, leaving you at the end of the day with a long to-do list and a mind that can’t stop spinning? Sounds like you’re the victim of time theft.
Time thieves are common situations that steal away your most valuable time. If a client tells me that they don’t have time to focus on their bold goal, I know immediately they’ve got time thieves. By learning to recognize what derails your focus and creating better time management strategies, you’ll be able to achieve 10 times more. Here are four tips to keep focused on your high payoff activities while keeping distractions at bay.
1. Time Block Your Calendar
When I’m working with an entrepreneur who struggles to get everything done, I start with a method called Time Blocking. This is an uber-productive technique for two reasons. First, you know exactly what you need to be doing during certain hours of the day and second, momentum is created by providing focus on like-minded activities.
When I practice time block techniques, I have entire days dedicated to certain roles or activities. Monday is writing and planning day. Tuesday mornings are team meetings and the afternoons are devoted to projects. Wednesdays and Thursdays are dedicated to coaching and training. Fridays are my “flex day” where I typically won’t be in the office past noon.
When you time block, you train your mind to focus by creating routines. It’s very effective – when you stick to it!
2. Hire a Gatekeeper
If you are bombarded with interruptions all day long or have a difficult time saying “no” to people who just want to chat for a minute, hire a gatekeeper (AKA personal assistant). The gatekeeper has one job – to help you protect your time and limit who gets access to you.
When you hire a good personal assistant, some of the duties you’ll want to assign them will include managing your email, handling incoming phone calls, and setting up appointments on your behalf. Train this person what should get through to you immediately (like messages or calls from your kids or spouse) versus who needs to make an appointment. This will be the best time bandit protection service you ever invest in.
3. Get Your Calendar Organized
This is a quick fix that many entrepreneurs miss – getting organized so you know what your commitments are early on. If you signed up for a course, block it out on your calendar. When you commit to send an email to your community, set it up in your calendar. Made an appointment? Add it to your calendar immediately.
The number one reason most fast-paced entrepreneurs fall behind is because they haven’t been able to organize their commitments. As a result, they run around at the last minute trying to catch up or worse, miss their deadlines completely. Put simply, entrepreneurs who want to get more done have to get organized.
4. Stop The Automatic Yes
One of the fastest ways to lose control of your time is to say “yes” to the wrong activities. As you get more and more successful, everyone will want a piece of you. You can’t serve multiple masters and still have time for what really needs your attention. Ultimately, this means you’ll need to get clear on your priorities and build up your “just say no” muscle.
A productive habit to cultivate is to check your calendar and review your goals before you commit to any new activities. Once you reconnect to your priorities, saying “no” will be much easier.
Time is more valuable than money. It’s the only asset that nobody can create more of – unless you hire help. Pick one of these tips, put it into action this week, and you’ll notice a difference in how many things on your to-do list you get done immediately. With time back under your control, you’ll be able to invest it wisely in the projects and opportunities you are most passionate about.
Melanie Benson, founder of the Own Your Bold Challenge and Awaken Leadership Lab, is a profit amplifier for influential entrepreneurs, thought leaders and change-makers, finding hidden revenue in their current business offerings.
This article originally appeared on MyCorporation.