How To Get Time On Your Side And Make Your Day Stretch Longer

stop the timeW O R K – as a micro business owner, those four letters are so important to you.

But do you ever find yourself uttering those words, “I just haven’t got the time!” 🙁

Twenty-four hours sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? So why are we always running out? Admittedly we spend seven or eight of them asleep but that still leaves 16 hours to play with. So why does it always feel as though we’re  running out of time – and more to the point, just where does it go!

But here’s what I’ve discovered.

Most of us run out of time simply because we don’t know how to make it work for us.

But here’s the good news. You really can learn to stop the clock. And once you understand how to get time on your side, it can become your ally – not your enemy. So whilst time saving isn’t easy, there are steps you can take to help you get more stuff done in less time. You simply need the courage to change and the hard work and determination to see it through.

So read on and I’ll reveal six powerful ways to make it happen:

1. Being Well

How are you feeling? If the answer is “tired” then you’re not alone.

At any time, one in five people will report feeling unusually tired. It’s so common it even has its own acronym; TATT (Tired All The Time). You must review the reasons why you feel this tiredness. Is it dietary, medical or even lack of motivation? Jot down how you feel during various times of the day and make some necessary changes including maybe visiting the doctor.

If you’re busy, the temptation is to try and work through this tiredness can be overpowering. But when you’re feeling like this, your general effectiveness slides. Worse still it’s when mistakes are made, tempers become frayed and simple tasks suddenly become much more complicated than they need to be.

2. Get organised

Many people find there are plenty of hours in the day, it’s just that the hours happen to be in the wrong place!

For some people it’s mornings when time seems to speed up. Suddenly they are falling through the front door still getting dressed and trying to sort out the papers while on the road to that important presentation. Other people find there are not enough hours before 5pm, and the rest discover their precious evenings are gone in the blink of an eye before they’ve even had time to help the kids with their homework.

Being organised is all about using time to its full advantage. With a little planning and self-discipline, you can use the vagaries of time to your own benefit.

3. Be effective

Being as effective as you can is all about not wasting the time that you do have – and it’s definitely a skill.

If you find yourself faffing, it’s time to sit down and analyse your average working day. For example:

  • Get clear on what you do during your working hours.
  • Be honest. Do you find yourself finishing up when you should be relaxing?
  • How much time do you spend on social media?
  • What gets you distracted?

Here’s a simple but highly effective activity to try.

Before you finish your working day, get out a pad and a pen and break the day you’ve just had down into half hour or 15 minute segments. Then write down exactly how you spent each segment of time. Be warned, this process can be a bit painful or at least uncomfortable (rather like facing up to your finances to work out where all your money is going). If you repeat this for two to three days you’ll quickly see in black and white exactly how your time is spent – AND you’ll soon discover where you’re haemorrhaging whole clumps of time.

4. Develop smart working practices

Let your computer do some of your work for you.

Most of us only use our computers to a fraction of their capabilities. The programmes we use every day for word processing and email can do a lot more than simply create and save documents or send and receive messages. Learn how to use some extra features such as hotkeys, filters, online filling softwares etc. In addition try not to keep numerous emails in your inbox. Instead action, file or delete!

If you cut back the time you spend on admin tasks, you can free up time to use in the more profitable areas of your business.

5. Be Assertive

Learn to say “No” (or at least Not Yet)

Saying No is never easy but it’s a vital skill to learn if you want to streamline the way you work and become more effective.

You see, whilst saying no may be difficult, consider the alternative.

Saying Yes to everything often leads to disaster as you’ll simply end up over-committed, stacked out and unable to complete anything satisfactorily. If you can’t meet your client’s time expectations be honest with them. Most customers will appreciate your frankness and this will increase their confidence in your ability to do the job rather than send them elsewhere.

6. Get support

The magic word of ‘delegate’ it is like a swear word to some people!

Is there anyone else who can take on some of your jobs? Once you have identified your most important tasks of the day, it’s time to analyse the rest and consider whether there is anyone else in your circle of contacts who can help you.  If it’s just you in your business delegating isn’t always an option, however you could consider outsourcing some of your non-core work to a VA. This is an effective and often cost-effective way to help free up some time and ensure you have more opportunity to finish the stuff only you can do.

What do you think?

How do you make the most of your time in your micro business? What strategies do you swear by that can help you get more done in less time? Please let me know in the comments below.

micro business actionToday’s Micro Action:

If time runs away from you it will really help if you get clear on how you’re spending it. So for the next three days keep a time log. Simply write down what you actually do for each 15 minute chunk of time. Then analyse what you discover and decide how you can make changes to your working day to help you get more stuff done. Good luck 🙂

Helen Smith

Helen Smith is the founder of HelenSmith Virtual PA Solutions and offers administration, secretarial and virtual PA duties throughout the UK. She has a passion and enthusiasm for working with micro business owners and experts. She is more than a PA she is a Powerful Advantage to your business!