Anyone can be good at time management. It’s all about setting good routines and sticking to them.
As a Virtual Assistant it is my job to help my clients save time. They outsource tasks for me to complete so that it frees up their time to do other stuff.
In fact, I’m so busy saving time for others, that I often struggle to find the time for myself which is why I’ve adopted many of the time management tips I’m about to share below.
If you are looking to save time or to manage your time more effectively then read on for some of my top tips:
1 | Shifting your mindset
The most important tip on my list is shifting your mindset into time management mode. If you know you want to be more organised and productive and you want to start waking up earlier, it’s so much easier when you are in the right mindset.
Start thinking positively about all the things you’re going to change to your daily routine. With the right mindset you will be able to achieve all of the tips below with ease. You can do this 👊🏻.
2 | Get up early
One of the easiest ways to get more time in your day is to wake up earlier. I’m super productive in the morning so I always like to get up early.
Set your alarm for 6am and make yourself wake up. By the time you’ve had a shower, eaten breakfast, fed and walked the dog, got the kids ready or whatever you need to do in the morning, you should be ready and at your desk by 9am at the latest.
TIP: Adopting this new routine might be easier in the Spring once the lighter mornings arrive, as it’s so much easier to get up early when it’s light and sunny.
3 | Introduce a morning routine
Once those early mornings become easier you can introduce a morning routine whereby you do the same things at the same time every morning.
My morning routine usually runs as follows:
🔸Alarm goes off at 6:30 and I’m always out of bed by 7pm.
🔸I usually head out with the dog first thing for a 30 minute walk.
🔸I shower when I get back and listen to an audio book whilst I get ready.
🔸I make the dogs breakfast, sit down and have my breakfast and check through social media and my emails.
🔸After I’ve washed up I’ll head to my desk and get ready to start my day. This is usually around 8:30/9am.
4 | Put your alarm on the other side of the room
If you struggle to get up in the morning, put your phone on the other side of your room (not on your bedside table). When your alarm goes off you have no other choice but to get out of bed to turn it off. You’re out of bed now so no point in getting back in.
5 | Plan your day
I can’t tell you how important it is to plan your day. Without a clear picture of what tasks you need to complete you’ll end up jumping about from one thing to another and end up feeling frustrated that you haven’t achieved much.
6 | Do one task at a time
Okay, I totally hold my hands up here and admit that I can be guilty of this! I’ll start a task, an email comes in which reminds me of something else I need to do and I’ll leave what I’m doing and start something new.
This is an unproductive way to work and I now try my hardest to finish a task before I start something else. This is where a to-do list comes in handy.
7 | To-do list
If you start your day without a clear direction of what you’re doing, you will waste time! Sit down and get all your tasks into a to-do list (not too long but manageable for the day).
Start from the top and work your way down, starting and finishing one task at a time. Another way to do it is to highlight the most urgent and work through the list that way.
8 | Calendar blocking
Blocking out and allocating chunks of time through the day is another great time management tool. I tend to block 1 hour chunks which I spend on each client. I’ll start with the client who has the most urgent tasks.
If I have a few urgent tasks for various clients I’ll add them to the top of my to do and spend the first hour or so completing them.
9 | Downtime
Remember to factor in some regular downtime intervals during your day. This means time AWAY from your desk. Firstly it doesn’t do your body any good if you sit for too long and secondly, concentration can start to diminish if you don’t take a break.
This is the perfect opportunity to grab a cuppa or take the dog for a walk. I go for 3 walks during the day and I especially like my lunchtime walk as it gives me time to refresh my brain ready for the afternoon.
10 | Introduce exercise
Get those endorphins pumping and re-energise yourself by introducing some exercise into your day.
You might think you don’t have time for exercise but some fresh air and a break from your desk will result in better focus and more motivation once you do get back at your desk. You will be more productive and get more done.
11 | Always use a calendar or daily planner
I’m always going on about my daily planner but I honestly wouldn’t be able to manage my time properly without it. I control my to do list within my planner and also block out time allocated to each client.
Having a calendar on the wall in front of you is also advised. I’m often working with dates and can easily locate a date by looking up at my calendar.
12 | Delegate
Why try and do everything when you can delegate tasks to someone else to do. Hiring a Virtual Assistant is a great way to free up some time so you can get on with other things.
13 | Create templates
Find yourself sending the same emails time after time? Create some draft template emails and save them in a templates folder. You can also do the same for contracts, letters of engagement, proposals etc. Don’t reinvent the wheel, keep templates handy which you can amend and reuse time after time.
We all want to save time and we all wish for more hours in the day but unfortunately we are all given the same 24 hours per day, it’s about HOW you use your time that makes a big difference. I hope that the above tips will help you with your time management.
If you need some help implementing some of these tips you know where I am.