One of the biggest complaints head from others about starting and building a home business is the lack of time. The truth is, there’s a lot of time. The problem isn’t lack of time, it’s the misuse of time. Granted, some of that wasted time goes to television or social media, but just like people nickel and dime their money away, so too do they fritter away minutes that could be better spent moving toward a goal.
Here are 5 ways to add more time in your day starting right now.
Get Real About Your Time
It is said that the first step to overcoming a problem is in acknowledging there is a problem. The same is true about time. People will tell you they don't have time for important projects and in the next breath say they've binge-watched something on Netflix or gotten into a debate on Facebook.
Before you can find or create more time, you have to be honest with yourself about where you're spending time. Many experts suggest keeping a time log. If you're honest about your time, you'll immediately find activities you can eliminate or reduce to create more time.
Plan Your Day
Planning your day prevents wasting time figuring out what you need to do next, even if most of your days look pretty much the same. Planning is more than simply listing tasks. As you plan your day:
- Create a clear to-do list. Instead of saying “write,” indicate what you’re writing.
- Start with the end in mind. We don’t mean the ultimate end goal, but the result you want from the task. For example, if you’re writing a book, while your ultimate goal is a completed book, your to-do list task might be “Complete draft of chapter one.”
- Block out time. Blocking out time helps you focus on the task at hand. It also creates a boundary, so you don’t take too much time on an activity. For example, checking email or social media can quickly waste an hour or more.
- Overestimate the time needed to complete your task. Often we get into trouble getting through the to-do list because we run out of time. Remember, things rarely go as planned, so tack on extra time for each to-do, and adjust your list and schedule so as not to overstuff your time.
- Use a timer. To help keep you working within your blocks, use a timer to let you know when your time is up. If needed, you can continue on that task, but you’ll need to readjust your other blocks to accommodate it.
- Don’t multitask. The idea of doing tasks simultaneously is a myth unless it’s walking and chewing gum. You can’t focus on more than one task at a time, and you lose time adjusting and refocusing on a new task as you go back and forth. You spend less time when focused on one task, and then switching to a new task when the first is complete.
- Add fun to your day. Breaks are important, but so is fun. If you schedule your day full of work and no leisure time, you’ll burn out. So schedule a block of fun and/or relaxation. Read for leisure. Stretch. Watch TV (just don’t binge watch). Get a massage. Do whatever you enjoy and will refuel your energy tanks.
Start Your Day Earlier
The 5 AM Miracle by Jeff Sanders and The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod are two books that advocate getting up at 5 a.m. If you're not a morning person, the idea of getting up at 5 a.m. can make you cringe. Nevertheless, getting up earlier than usual can help you get more done. You might even find yourself finishing earlier while doing more. There’s something about getting up earlier that helps you get more done in less time. If you can’t immediately start getting up at 5 a.m., set your alarm in earlier increments. Further, you don’t have get up at 5 a.m. The goal is to get up earlier than usual. So if you usually get up at 10 am, earlier might be 7 or 8 a.m.
Use Tools and Systems
The whole purpose of tools and systems is to make tasks easier and more effective. Especially for digital tasks, you can save a great deal of time using automation. You can schedule emails and social media in advance. There are online schedulers where your clients can book themselves and it automatically gets put on your calendar.
Note that initially, you'll have to invest extra time to learn and set up the tools. But once you do, you can save yourself hours every week.
Today, it’s easier and more affordable than ever to get help on tasks that you don’t necessarily need to do, such as schedule social media, respond to email, do media/PR outreach and more. A virtual assistant can help with these tasks.
However, your business isn't the only place you can add more time to your day through delegation. You can ask family members to pitch and help around the house or hire someone to clean or cook.