Who Owns Your Time Management?
No matter where a professional is at in their career – starting out, senior executive, or self-employed – time management is something that everyone struggles with. That’s why there are so many books, articles, and LinkedIn gurus writing about it! But when it comes down to it, are we truly in control of our time? At the end of the day, who really owns our professional hours?
When you’re managing multiple clients (or customers, bosses, or [insert your own situation here]), it’s never as simple as “time is money.” Often, you will have many stakeholders clamoring for the same amount of time on a daily basis, forcing you to make critical decisions about who gets your attention.
Letting your customers own your time is a surefire way to set yourself up for failure. Instead, taking ownership of your time is the best way to serve all the stakeholders in your life. Here are some ways I take ownership of my day and maintain my productivity habits.
Track Your Time Management for All Tasks
Not every task is built the same. While it may take you ten minutes to schedule weekly social media posts, it may take an hour to research or create the content you plan on sharing. So how much time are you really spending on that task?
By knowing how long it takes to get a job done from start to finish, you are arming yourself with valuable information on how long you need to dedicate to any task. With this, you can better plan your day and be more productive with the best eight hours of your day.
Time Management for All Seasons
Every Monday, I begin my week by planning out the tasks that I have ahead for each of my clients. What needs to get done more urgently than others? What have I promised to a client on deadline? And in the worst case scenario, what can I push back to open time for a bigger opportunity?
Creating a weekly plan that outlines what needs to get done and how long it will take will allow you to be flexible, yet goal oriented. Focus on getting the task done, and how much time you want to dedicate to completing that task. Remember: while time only goes in one direction, it isn’t rigid – don’t force your plan to be, either!
Time Management Using the Pomodoro Technique
I get it – you’re not a drone. Unlike a robot, you can’t sit down and plug in for eight hours straight. Besides, the unflattering pale that results from a monitor radiation tan isn’t a great look.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that allows you to stay focused throughout the day, with mini-breaks that keep you focused and fresh. Working for 25-minutes at a time with a ten minute break between sprints can keep you engaged and focused on creating your best work product. But don’t take my word for it – even psychologists agree that the Pomodoro Technique can keep you more productive throughout the day!
Time Management Against Emergencies
Remember when I said above that your day plan shouldn’t be rigid? Emergency situations are exactly why. It could be as simple as a client forgetting to give you an assignment, or as difficult as a real client crisis.
With proper planning and time management, you can prepare yourself to respond to emergency situations without a complete loss of productivity. Through strategic management of your time, a last-minute meeting or those tasks that MUST get done before you leave can find a place in your schedule without overwhelming your time management strategy.
By maintaining good time management habits, I’m able to best serve all my clients – no matter what happens to me throughout the day. Though it may not be easy to start, developing good habits can make sure your stakeholders remain taken care of in all situations.
How do you maintain proper time management? How do you make sure your work is getting done on time and with high quality? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!