Too Many Things To Do and Not Enough Time To Do Them?

Burning The Midnight Oil?

Are you having difficulty finding the time to build your home-based business?  Maybe you have a 40 hour/week job (or more) and although you’re totally excited about building your business, you find that coming up with the time to do the necessary things to be successful is next to impossible.  Maybe you are a stay-at-home mom and between kids and doctor appointments and sports and house cleaning and errands you just can’t seem to find any quiet time that will allow you to concentrate on your business.  These are very valid concerns and I understand  your dilemma.

Not Enough Time?

Time is an interesting resource.  We are all given the same 24 hours per day, yet some folks, who I’ll refer to as Group A, seem to be perpetually late, frazzled and exhausted.  Then you see folks, I’ll call them Group B,  who manage a full and hectic calendar, yet have extra time to do things that they are passionate about – like maybe volunteer, or participate in hobbies or sports – and they breeze through life with a calm that is exasperating for those in Group A!

What do you suppose is the difference between these two groups?  If time management is a challenge for you, let’s go over some things that can help you transition from Group A to Group B quickly!

Time Is A Tool

First of all, you need to think of time as a tool.  As with many tools, if you want to use it effectively and efficiently, you may need some training, practice and determination.

Since we all have the same 24 hours per day, it isn’t really time management that we are talking about.  It is personal activity management.  Time goes by no matter what we do and we all know there is no way to speed it up or slow it down.  What really makes a difference is how you manage the many things in your life.

Taking charge of yourself and, to what degree is possible, your life, will show tremendous results rather quickly.

Let’s get started!

Define “Life Priorities”

The first step will be for you to define your “life priorities”.  List the top five things that are important to you in your life.  Since this list will be different for everyone, it is important for YOU to know what these five items are for YOU

  • Priority #1:
  • Priority #2:
  • Priority #3:
  • Priority #4:
  • Priority #5:

Once you have made your list, you need to carefully review the list.  Think about each of the things you put on the list and decide what activities and roles (and results) are most meaningful for you.  These are the things in your life where you MOST want to succeed.  Many times you will find items on your list that will overlap.  It can become a web for sure because it is YOUR life and it is normal for many of the facets to meet and cross over multiple times.  However, after careful consideration, you should find some distinct threads that will stand out as most important.

Next you need to accept that everything cannot be a priority.  There simply isn’t enough time in anyone’s life to have too many priorities.  Some things may need to be put on a “back burner” for awhile – especially if building a home-based business is one of your priorities.

Completing this exercise (defining priorities) must be done in order to move forward in this process.

Life Priorities vs. Daily Priorities

There is definitely a difference here and as you proceed through this next step, you will start to see how those folks we mentioned above (in Group B)  are able to accomplish so much and still manage to maintain peace and calm in their lives.

This next sentence is ESSENTIAL!!    You cannot let your “daily priorities” overthrow your “life priorities”!

Therefore, when prioritizing your daily activities, follow these steps:

  • Determine what really needs to be done
  • Prioritize those things
  • Actually write them down – this is really important – make a list!

It is at this exact point that you need to revisit your life priorities.  Here is where the “rubber hits the road” so to speak!  Lots of important things will compete for your attention!

Having already decided on your  top “life priorities” (in the first step above), you need to decide where you want to invest the time you have.  Remember – you only have the same 24 hours that everyone else has!  You may have to weed some of the less important things from your list.  Learning to say “no” is often very difficult – especially for women it seems.  It is frequently necessary.

When you actually write down the list of things to be done each day and review it carefully, you may find that you are spending quite a bit of time doing things that are not supportive of your  list of life priorities.  Deciding what NEEDS to be done and then applying the determination necessary to move to the items that support your overall priorities will be a huge step towards  becoming more in-charge of your life.  There is nothing quite as satisfying as the feeling that comes when you start accomplishing more of the things that are important in your life and you actually feel like you are in control.

Before I move on, I want to say that one of your “life priorities” needs to be YOU!  Setting aside time for you and your own personal needs is imperative.  This is one of the most difficult things for many.  You may think there are too many other things needing your attention.  But if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to do ANY of the other things on your list.  You must remind yourself of this regularly.   Taking care of yourself is like making sure your car has oil in the engine.  You might get away without putting oil in it for awhile, but sooner or later, you will be calling a tow truck!  Don’t do that to yourself!

As in nearly all areas of your life, your attitude can make or break this whole process.  A good, positive attitude will allow you to accomplish the tasks on your list much more quickly and efficiently.  A good attitude will help make life problems  seem less critical and you will be able to handle issues that inevitably come up more easily with grace and clarity.

If frustration creeps into your mind, take a moment…breathe deeply…focus on your potential.  Think about the things that are going RIGHT in your life and the things that are working.  See if there might be a lesson to be learned by the current situation – maybe how to avoid it in the future or plan differently to produce a more positive outcome.  As you work to refine these moments and strategize on how to make them better, you will learn how to change this negative energy into positive and useful energy.

If you apply the above principles of prioritization and stick to this plan without fail, you will begin to see results very quickly.  You will find that you have more time and energy, you will be able to focus more clearly and you will start feeling an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  As soon as this happens in your life, you will find it much easier to schedule the time necessary for success to take root.

To summarize, I am including below  “The Dynamic Dozen – Strategies for Effective Time Use” – reference:  Challenges and Choices:   Time Effectiveness – Prioritizing Your Time by Carole G. Bozworth – Department of Consumer and Family Economics

The dynamic dozen

Strategies for effective time use
Each of these methods can assist you in getting closer to your goal of becoming more effective with your time:

  1. Assume ownership of your time
    Most people would be surprised if someone reached in their wallet without asking and helped themselves to the money found there. But how different is that from letting others help themselves to your time? Take ownership of your own time and do not allow others to make commitments of your time without your permission. It is not selfish to keep others from squandering your time. Give your time freely when you want but don’t make the mistake of undervaluing this resource, or feeling guilty when you do not allow others to waste it. Think of a time recently when someone wasted your time. How could you have handled the situation better?
  2. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize
    Continually check yourself to see that you are working on the most important things that need doing on any specific day. Helping your child talk through a problem he/she is having or discussing the day’s events with a spouse or friend may be more important than getting the dishes done or a load of laundry completed. Don’t think of priorities only as jobs that need doing. As you remind yourself to direct yourself to the most important tasks first, you will find yourself letting go of tasks that really did not need doing after all.
  3. Learn to say “no”
    It is not that saying the word is so difficult. It is more the feeling of guilt that many women experience as soon as they use the word. Try focusing on the important things that will get done because you used that two letter word to decline something which was not a part of your priorities. Looking at your past week, what are some things you should have said “no” to?
  4. Protect your blocks
    Think of your day as several large blocks of time (the morning block, afternoon block, after-dinner block) with the blocks separated by natural interruptions. Where you have control, keep your blocks whole, scheduling appointments and meetings, running errands at the beginning or end of a block rather than in the middle. Having an appointment in the middle of a block leaves little time at either end to tackle a major piece of work. Keeping your blocks of time as large as possible gives you a sense of having more available time.
  5. Delegate
    There’s that “D” word. Delegating means assigning the responsibility for a task (not just the work) to someone else. That means you no longer have to do the job, nor do you have to remind someone else to do it. Being able to delegate some tasks is a way of freeing up some of your time for the jobs that only you can do. You may have to use your standard shifting skill when you delegate. As someone else learns to do a task, do not be tempted to take over if they are not doing it quite right. You have to learn that “done” may be “good enough.”
  6. Think in terms of buying time
    There is an intimate relationship between time and money, where one can often be substituted for the other. The more hectic your schedule, the more reasonable it is to buy time by selecting goods and services that save you from investing time. Paying someone to mow your yard or transport your children to baseball practice are examples of purchasing time. What are some of the other ways you can or do buy some time?
  7. Learn to work with your biological clock
    Each individual has a peak time of day when their energy is at its highest and concentration at its best. Determine which time of day is your peak performance time and plan your work accordingly. Keep meetings and routine tasks for other parts of the day when you have the choice. What part of the day is best for you to do a task which takes real concentration?
  8. Develop systems to keep things running smoothly at home
    Busy individuals often keep personal calendars. In a family setting, a master calendar is also useful. Make each family member responsible for noting their time commitments on the calendar and consulting the calendar for potential conflicts when they make plans. After you have established the master calendar and have family members used to using it, work on a master bulletin board for posting reminders, announcements, and calling lists that each family member might need. Tack up not only a list of emergency numbers but also frequently used numbers such as your kids’ friends, the favorite pizza delivery service and the school attendance office. Then move on to establishing a central communication center. Family members should have one place where they post messages for other family members and where they check for messages whenever they get home.
  9. Set up a simple filing system
    At home and at work you need a filing system so that you can find important papers when you need them. Trying to locate important papers can be a real time waster. Keep your system simple using broad categories. For example, one file titled “Automobiles” can house everything from the bill of sale to receipts for auto repairs. A simple system will make filing go faster and there will be less temptation to put filing off.
  10. Break down large jobs into manageable pieces
    One of the sources of procrastination is that some tasks can seem too overwhelming to even begin. Learn to break down a large task into manageable pieces and then begin with a piece you know you can handle. The most challenging step on major undertakings is often the first one. Besides you will have a greater sense of satisfaction as you complete each individual portion of the task and this can keep you motivated to the end. Think of a major task you have ahead of you. How could you break it down into manageable pieces?
  11. Work on overcoming procrastination
    Once you recognize that you are procrastinating, the next step is to begin overcoming this time-wasting habit. And procrastination is a habit, a habitual way of dealing with tasks you find distasteful or that make you fearful of failure. When you see that you are procrastinating, make an appointment with yourself to take the first step toward completing the task. Determine exactly what that first step will be and then set a specific time in the near future to begin the work.
  12. Reward yourself
    Celebrate when a major task is completed or a major challenge is met. One of the problems with a hectic life is that you can be so busy that you fail to notice the completion of a major piece of work. You just move on to the next job without celebrating your previous success. This failure leads to focusing on what is still left undone instead of enjoying what has already been accomplished. Set up a reward system for yourself that serves as both a motivator to get certain difficult tasks done and an acknowledgment that you are making effective use of your time. Be it a bubble bath, two chapters in your new book, or a phone call to a friend, acknowledge your accomplishment by rewarding yourself.

To Your Success!

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    • Lin

      Reply Reply April 27, 2015

      Time management is one of my weakness but trying to improve every day. Like the dynamic dozen. Great post!

    • Dr. Lisa Thompson

      Reply Reply April 27, 2015

      Great post Pam!

      You are absolutely right – the most important commodity we have right now is time!

      Dr. Lisa

      • Pam Lambert

        Reply Reply April 27, 2015

        Funny thing is that I’m the first one to say “I just don’t have enough time!” :) But I’m working on these strategies too – being successful is an ongoing learning process:) Thanks for the comment on my post!

    • Ken

      Reply Reply May 4, 2015

      Time management is extremely important since so many home business professionals are juggling a job as they build their business.

      • Pam Lambert

        Reply Reply May 4, 2015

        Yes – it is really hard. But who said success would be easy? Right? :) I love learning new skills and helping others along the way!
        Do you have some good pointers on time management that would fit in here well? I’m always excited to hear ideas from others!

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