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As an online business owner myself, I share my top 10 time management tips and skills to scale your online business. After reading this blog post, and implementing these top time management skills, your online business will benefit from increased productivity.
Time management is the process of actively managing your time.
If you do not manage your time actively, you simply waste time as you attend to whatever to-do pops up.
You too can decide how much time you want to spend on certain activities or areas of your life.
This makes it possible for you to exert control over what your day, week, or month looks like.
Decide on what your priorities will be by implementing the top 10 time management tips and skills.
Sometimes it can be easy to believe that some people were just born being good at time management. And others, well, not so much.
But the truth is that time management is a SKILL, made up of various abilities that you can learn and train.
Planning is the first skill you will need to master if you want to get better at time management. It helps you to understand how much time you can spend on one task. You will also see how certain tasks might be dependent on each other. And where you might have to wait for other people to give their input.
While you plan, you will notice that there are always more tasks than time. So you need to decide, which tasks are more important than others. The skill of prioritizing is more important than you might think. Because you cannot simply do the things you like best first. Prioritizing includes looking at the bigger picture and understanding which tasks will lead you faster to reaching your goals.
To be able to prioritize, you need to set some goals first. And yes, there is such a thing as setting bad goals. Being able to set reasonable and attainable goals is an important time management skill. Filtering through the S.M.A.R.T. Goals step by step will help you set the right goals.
Another skill you will need for successful time management is decision making. Actually, being decisive and knowing how to make good decisions that will help you in every area of your life and not delaying making these decisions is vital to your success in managing your time efficiently.
This skill seems to get rarer and rarer, as our brains learn to deal with millions of notifications and various distractions. But jumping from task to task will make you way less productive. And your time management less effective. Learn to focus on what you are busy with right now, where you are at this very moment, and learn the skill of avoiding distractions. Muting notifications is a great start. Learning to be present in every task completion assists with getting it done much faster.
Self-awareness is another one of these skills that will help you in every area of your life. When it comes to time management, you need it to manage yourself. You can only manage what you know. This includes knowing your own tendencies, like procrastination. And noticing when you do it. Regular self-reflection and keeping a journal can help understand your own tendencies and assist in making choices that reflect self-discipline. A calendar reveals your time habits and this is also a great tool to measure your tendencies.
I first considered calling this skill “discipline”. But then I decided to use “Self-motivation”. It expresses a very similar thing, but in a more positive way. Discipline is often linked to a negative action and I am a firm believer of motivation and encouragement go a long way! Self-motivation is important to make you stick to your plan. You need to be able to motivate yourself again and again. Being an Entrepreneur, the road often becomes very lonely, so you need to make friends with yourself. And motivate yourself to do things you decided on doing, even when you don’t feel like it. To reward yourself for sticking to your plan is a great way to keep self-motivation on automate.
Also known as “surrendering”… Knowing when to let go of a task and let someone else do it is another super important skill. Sometimes we are so caught up in our own little world that it can seem like we are the only ones who know how to do our tasks right. Perfectionism is the culprit here! But chances are that some people can do some of our assignments better than we could. It is worth trying to trust others to help us move forward and ever upward!
To be effective at time management you need to be able to deal with stress. And no, by that I don’t mean that you have to be able to work 16 hours a day. This is rather about your ability to let bad feelings go and refocus on your tasks. It is also the ability to know when to take a step back and rest. Boundaries are also necessary to understand what will add to our stress load and what can bring relief. Your values help with implementing healthy boundaries and your vision should steer you in this direction, always!
You can have the best plan laid out, knowing what to do every hour of the day. But then – disaster happens – you cannot find the documents you need to finish the task. If this sounds familiar, then your next step is to work on the skill of organization. For your plans to work, you need to have an overview of them. You need to be able to find your important and not so important files. And honestly, once you got everything organized, you’ll feel like a boss because you got everything under control! Organized chaos is sometimes the approach of many Entrepreneurs, but if you intend to scale your Online Business, someone after you will have to understand your thought behind organizing certain documents. Keep it simple and you can teach it to anyone!
Now you might be thinking “Okay, great, now I know which top 10 time management tips and skills I should have to scale my Online Business. But how can I actually improve my time management skills?”
I know it’s not as easy as reading some advice and you’re all productive and ready to go. Getting better at time management and related skills takes some time and dedication.
But you can definitely work on it.
Time management activities are various exercises that will help you understand yourself and your time spending tendencies better. These activities also boosts productivity while improving time management skills.
To help you to work on the skills you need to be mindful and efficient with your time, these activities are effective.
Pick a day when you are not too busy or need to be working. Maybe a Saturday or Sunday. Once you wake up, set an alarm for every hour of the day. When the alarm goes off, write down how you feel at that moment. Focused? Tired? Hungry? Inspired? Motivated? Sluggish?
Do this throughout the day. And if you feel super motivated, repeat this exercise on another day.
Then have a good look at your results. Can you see a pattern? Do you feel on fire during the mornings, but sleepy and unmotivated after lunch? Or does your peak time only start in the afternoon and the mornings are your worst part of the day?
It will also assist you to understand your natural tendencies. Recording your hours train self-awareness and helps you with planning your days so that difficult tasks can happen during your peak times. And for those low times, you can plan anything mindless and mundane.
For a week, make it your evening habit to write down what you have accomplished during the day. Write down at least five accomplishments.
It’s not about forcing you to finish a big project every day. Quite the opposite, an accomplishment can be something small like “did the weekly shopping today” or “managed to file all the letters received last week”.
If you want, you can also write down one thing you did, that felt like a waste of time. Browsing through archived documents, for example.
Similar to the first time management activity, this one helps you see your own tendencies, but more task-focused.
Looking at all the things you did get done will motivate you. And it will give you a good feeling for how long certain things take.
Jigsaw puzzles are proven to be excellent in boosting problem-solving exercises and can be adapted to be an effective time management game too.
This activity is designed to give an idea of the importance of planning and how having an idea of the the bigger picture can help you prioritize and achieve certain goals.
You can play a Jigsaw Puzzle online on I’m a Puzzle.
It is often used as a demonstration to highlight the value of time.
The jar represents your life, the rocks are your most important things, like family, health, work etc. The gravel represents things like your house and car, and the sand represents everything else.
Which objects you put in the jar first determines how many of the other items you can include.
The mayo jar lesson really highlights the importance of prioritizing each urgent task and getting those done first, otherwise, you may not have enough time for the smaller tasks.
Online time management activities like video games can help improve your time management skills. Video games also become great tools useful for improving cognitive functions. It boosts organizational and business skills.
Here are a few to help improve time management:
A set of colored blocks is great for:
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Place the colored blocks on a table and explain to the participants that they must pick up as many blocks as they can in one minute.
Step 2: Participants can only use their non-dominant hand, and they may only pick up one block at a time.
Step 3: Once the time is up, give each participant a point for every block they have and write down the results.
Step 4: Spread the blocks on the table again, this time assigning a point value to each color, and repeat the exercise, marking the points on a separate sheet.
Step 5: Participants will have to think about the number of blocks they can collect and the number of points associated with each block.
This activity is excellent for changing how you perceive time. This can be demonstrated individually or in groups.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Ask each person ‘If you had $86,400 only for a day, how would you spend it?’
Step 2: Tell them to write down a schedule of their day. Ask them what they would spend it on and when.
Step 3: Explain to them that they can’t bank the money, and it doesn’t carry over. Anything that they haven’t assigned to be spent over twenty-four hours is gone.
Using this activity is a visual representation of time, as there are 86,400 seconds in a day.
It shows the importance of time by making people more aware of the limited time they have. This helps to understand how to prioritize and complete important tasks first.
The Blind Polygon time management activity is an excellent way to break the ice for new groups or projects. It requires one leader and several smaller groups.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Blindfold each player and give the team a length of rope.
Step 2: Groups fold or adjust the rope into a shape specified by the leader, like a rectangle.
Step 3: The team leader sets a time limit.
Step 4: No one may remove the blindfold, and every individual must be touching the rope at all times.
Step 5: Give the groups some time to make their shape.
Step 6: Once the time is up, let the groups look at their shapes before tackling it again.
The activity is excellent for team-building and forces groups to analyze how they handle a task within a set time frame.
Initially, people might perform poorly. But once they develop the required critical thinking and analytical skills, their performance will gradually improve.
Finding the ace of spades time management activity is best suited for a small group. Two individuals, one team leader and some decks of cards are required for this activity.
The activity highlights the importance of:
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Shuffle one pack of cards so they’re random, and organize the other in ascending order.
Step 2: Give each player a pack of cards.
Step 3: Players must try to find the Ace of Spades in the deck as quickly as possible.
Step 4: The player with the organized deck will find the challenge much easier than the player with the mixed deck.
The goal of the Circadian Rhythm activity is to help you synchronize your body clock (circadian clock) with your work. This way, you will be able to identity specific times that’s best for you to do a specific activity.
This activity ties up with activity one. The circadian time management exercise also effectively helps you determine your ideal energy levels. This way, you can schedule your time well and complete the most important things when your energy levels are highest.
Another good way to improve your time management skills is to utilize effective time management techniques. Now, before we dive into specific examples, let’s quickly look at what makes a time management strategy effective for you?
All famous time management techniques out there are effective for someone. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be famous, right? But once you start testing out various ideas, you will find that some work better for you than others. This is a personal preference only you can implement.
Don’t ignore this great strategy. Instead, see if you can notice a pattern. Perhaps you require techniques that give you a strict pattern to follow? Or you need techniques that give you a “logical way” of planning out your tasks? Maybe you need more freedom in making choices with some help or support when you need it?
An effective time management technique is one that really works for YOU!
Prioritizing can be quite some work. And sometimes, you might simply not know which criteria to use. In those moments, templates like the Eisenhower Matrix can help a lot.
It makes you evaluate tasks by both their urgency and their importance. And depending on where the tasks fall in the matrix, you know what to do with them.
Have a look at the Eisenhower Matrix below and try it right now with your task list
Another way to improve your prioritization skills is the Action Priority Matrix.
It works similarly to the Eisenhower Matrix, but it groups tasks by estimated effort and impact.
Parkinson’s Law states that every task will expand to fill the time allotted to it. In other words: If you plan on finding a birthday present for your friend by the end of the week, it will take all week. On the other hand, if you decide to find a present this afternoon, because you won’t have time otherwise, it will only take one afternoon.
Keep this principle in mind while planning your tasks and make sure that you don’t artificially bloat your schedule.
Time blocking is very similar.
Having recurring types of tasks in your schedule, it might be a good idea to simply block time in your calendar for those.
This example is in ClickUp, which is my favorite project and time management tool helping me to run my business:
An example could be to block one hour every morning for your morning routine and then two hours for working with clients. This way you don’t need to constantly check how many minutes you have left for a certain task. Instead, you can work on topics and check off as many tasks regarding that topic as you can.
To be able to efficiently plan, you need to find out how long certain tasks take you. And while your gut feeling is a great advisor for many things, it can be surprisingly off when it comes to time. Tasks you love will feel like short things, while a 10-minute task you dread can feel like hours.
To help with that, you can track your time.
Simply write down:
ClickUp is also a great tool to track your time on every task right in the app.
The Pareto Principle, or “80/20”, states that 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of efforts. And somehow, this turns out to be strangely very true for almost anything you can analyze by numbers like that.
Knowing this, you can plan your task list by first focussing on the tasks that you know bring results directly. And you know those tasks that take you forever, but in the end, they don’t amount to much? Put those all the way down on the priorities list. Or get rid of them altogether.
Now that you have planned and prioritized your task list, it’s time to start executing.
If you have trouble focusing and getting things done, the Pomodoro technique can do wonders for your productivity.
You break your schedule down into the following categories:
If executing is your weakness, you can read more about the Pomodoro method here
The last of my tips to improve your time management skills and scale your online business is to find out which time management tools will work for you. I know that Entrepreneurs cannot seem to agree on what is the best time management app. In my opinion, this is, again, because different people need different things from a tool. Sure, do your research.
But then, simply try some apps out and see how it works for you!
I personally have worked with various time management and online business tools so far, and I see advantages and disadvantages in each of them.
There is definitely no shortage of time tracking tools out there. Some of them will simply track your time. Others even block any time wasters you use, like social media pages. And then there are some that you can use even for professional needs, like tracking client work.
Some examples of time-tracking tools are:
For a more detailed analysis, check out this post by Zapier on the best time-tracking tools of 2022.
If you are only managing yourself, you might start planning your projects with your digital calendar. But as your projects become more and more complex, you might want to look into a project management tool to keep track of all your tasks.
These are some examples of tools that can do that for you:
Have you tried any of the techniques or time management strategies above?
Let me know in the comments and remember to share this article!
If you need help implementing time management strategies to achieve your business goals, you are invited to join my business membership, B.O.S.S Society. Inside this membership, I show you exactly how to find the best tool, implement the right strategy and increase your productivity to help you scale your online business.
Hope to see you inside!