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How to manage your time - Time management tips

Being self employed your time is precious to you. Whether you're finding you have too little time or you're not using your time in the way that you would like to, these tips can help you get back on track to reclaiming your time.

What is time?

Time is known as the fact that there are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, and so on. This form of time is unchanging and cannot be controlled, but how you view time can be.

How is is that being in work for an hour can feel like a full day or a child growing up feel like a fleeting moment? This is because your personal view on time is different from the actual time. Boring tasks take longer and interesting tasks take less time.

In order to begin to manage your time you have to realise that your time is made up of moments; thoughts, conversations and actions, and it's how these are managed that will ultimately be the deciding factor of how your time will be managed.

As a business owner you will find that your time is interrupted by others. This cannot be avoided, but you can set the time of these interruptions so that they do not have a large impact on your day.

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How to manage your time more effectively

Carry a schedule with you. This schedule is not for planning your day but monitoring it. Write down all the thoughts, conversations and actions that occur in it over the period of a week. This then can be used to measure how productive the days of the week have been and can then be used over the following weeks to try and minimise the amount of wasted time.

Important activities should have a time assigned to them. You may find that your to-do lists are getting longer and you feel like you're getting nowhere with them. However if you schedule them you'll find that they are completed faster and your list stays short. This can be done through time blocking, where you make sure you aren't disturbed or interrupted.

Schedule time for interruptions. This leads on from the above point. Have "office hours" where your employees can come in and talk through ideas with you and you can be interrupted as many times as needed during this time. But outside of office hours you are only to be disturbed in the most urgent of cases.

Take time out to plan your day. The first 30 minutes of your day should be spent planning how that day will go. This can be seen as the most important part of your day and only takes a short amount of time.

Before you make a call or have a conversation take 5 minutes out to plan it. You should plan how it will go and what you are hoping to achieve from it, this will help you to gauge how successful the interaction was. Also if it wasn't successful it will help you to determine why; this can mean that you are able to improve the next interruption and in turn improve how you are communicating.

If you really have to get work done block out everything else. Ignore incoming emails and phone calls (unless your business relies on quick responses), delay responses until you are ready. By scheduling a time to respond you are able to get on with other work until you are ready.

These are just a few time management tips that should help you to regain some of your time during the day.

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