If you're like most entrepreneurs, you're on 24/7. Your inbox is overflowing, you've got fires to put out, and you're too crunched for time to even think about getting organized.
Could you use an extra two hours a day? Absolutely!
Some experts estimate that we lose as much as two hours a day dealing with distractions and trying to figure out what needs to be done. Imagine what you could do with that extra time!
This simple time management technique will save your sanity. It's easy to do, it only takes a few minutes, and it will turbocharge your efficiency.
Here's how it works:
Write Down What's Really Bothering You
All of those unfinished tasks are nagging at your attention, but they're not getting done. The first order of business is to get them down on paper so that you can sort them out.
There are plenty of software options out there to help you (GQueues and Todoist are both popular), but you can do it on a simple legal pad.
Here's the trick. Start each line with a verb: call, email, review -- whatever you need to actually do. That way, you know what action you need to take next.
First Things First
Most people make a list, get overwhelmed, and give up on trying to manage their time. That's a mistake, because you're only minutes away from getting organized. Just look at your list and rank each item by priority:
- Does it absolutely need to be done today? Mark it with an "A".
- Should it be completed sooner rather than later? Mark it with a "B".
- Would it be nice to get it done sometime? Mark it with a "C".
Now, look at all of your "A" items, and ask yourself: which one of these tasks is the most important? Label that one A-1.
The second most important task becomes A-2, then A-3, and so on.
Repeat the process for your "B" and "C" items.
Start Your Day With A-1.
That's it! Now, you've decided what deserves your attention first. And you also know what you can ignore for now.
Your "A" list serves as a short list of your highest priorities. Financial guru and best-selling author Dave Ramsey calls this a way to "put a little steak sauce on your day" because you always start with task A-1.
Stay focused on that top task and ignore everything else. If you get interrupted (and you will, because you're a busy entrepreneur), come right back to it.
End Your Day By Preparing For Tomorrow.
Block out 15 minutes at the very end of your day for one last important task: planning tomorrow.
You've already done the hard work. Now, you just need to update your list and number any new priorities.
First thing tomorrow morning, you'll already know what you need to focus on. Just having that in place will save you time, make you more effective, and put you ahead of the competition.
Plus, it will reduce your stress. You'll be in the right position to call the shots, and that will give you greater satisfaction at the end of a good day's work.