Time Management Tips: Focus on Your Priorities

Are you feeling overwhelmed, juggling too many tasks & projects, and feeling stressed out? I'm guessing YES!

You're not just an entrepreneur trying to start or manage a successful online business... you also have a full life outside of that vying for your time and attention.

We're always in search of that magic solution, the ideal schedule or routine, and testing out different Time Management tips & techniques to replace those that just aren't working anymore. Or at least I am. πŸ˜‰

That's where I am now actually.

Do you find that you work all day, day after day, and "stay busy" - but never actually achieve your goals, or get to your most important tasks?

Lately it has become obvious that my current Time Management techniques simply are NOT working for me. At the moment, I should say - because they've worked just fine for me in the past. But I have new projects, changes in my routine, and very ambitious goals to reach before the end of the year... so it's time for change!

The Time Management changes I decided to make were very simple, but are already making a huge difference in my work/life balance and in my productivity...

Yesterday I read a thought provoking article FULL of Time Management tips by Karyn Greenstreet titled 44 Tips for Dealing with Overwhelm. The article itself seemed overwhelming at first glance (lol), so I printed it off to read in my "offline reading time" - which is a new Time Block I've recently added to my daily routine.

In the article, Karyn made a brilliant point:

You're in control of your calendar. You're in control of which projects are top priority. You're in control of your thoughts about your business. You’re even in control of whether you answer a ringing phone or not...

Stating the obvious? Sure! But how many of us control our day, instead of letting our day (and all of it's distractions) control us? πŸ˜‰

Karyn also shared a link to this video where Stephen Covey shows a visual example of doing the most important things in your life and business FIRST:


A timely addition. Covey made such a powerful impact on this world!

Time Management tips will only work for you if they are in line with YOUR current objectives. Tip: Focus On Your TOP Priorities!

You can study Time Management tips & techniques all day long, but in the end they are not going to work for you if they're not in line with your goals - specifically.

If you know your objective upfront you can choose & apply those tips strategically, as they relate to YOUR goals, which is the key. Before you can effectively manage your time, or achieve life balance, you have to know what you want to do - and why.

As I was analyzing my own routine against my goals this past week, I found myself overwhelmed trying to fit all the little tasks into all the little time blocks. Like piecing together a puzzle in the dark. I had to back out and look at the big picture.

I made a list of my Top Five Priorities, or top five things I most wanted to achieve in my life by year end. These are things I've wanted to do/change for awhile now, aside from and in addition to my current schedule & routine. Of course as we all know, wanting and thinking and wishing won't get you anywhere fast. πŸ˜‰

It takes consistent and specific action to achieve ANY goal.

I started by making a list of all my current obligations. This included both business and non-business tasks. Basically everything that makes up my usual routine. I analyzed that list for things that could be scheduled, removed or outsourced.

Next I took the "top five" list, the things I want to change/add, and determined what I would need to do (ie specific tasks) to turn those goals into reality.

Let's say for example that you want to blog more consistently, exercise daily, spend more time in your garden or finish a book you've been writing for ages. In order to fit anything new into your schedule, you have to make an appointment to get it done.

Otherwise you may find that the majority of your time is spent on tasks that aren't in line with your biggest goals, and you spend very little time (if any at all) working toward reaching those goals. And that's just plain frustrating. 😐

Making The Most Of Your Time

Take some time today to consider your biggest wishes and wants in life. What would you most love to achieve, that you haven't been able to get started on - or complete? What nags you the most in the back of your mind about your life or business?

What would it take to achieve that goal?

Break it down into a consistent action (or actions), determine how often you need to do it and how long it will take, and schedule it in! Like they illustrated in the video above, you should focus on your top priorities (your biggest rocks) FIRST.

Everything else is just a distraction, or a means of procrastinating...

If you need a starting point, keep a Time Log for three straight days. Make note of everything you do in your time each day, and how long it takes. This includes sleeping, eating, watching TV, working, spending time with family - all of it. You'll probably find that you have 24 hours in your Time Log just like the rest of us. πŸ™‚

Well before that three days is up you'll start to see where you could be making better use of your time, what you can stop doing, and how you might be able to fit in the things you'd like to start doing.

It's not just about time management, or doing the things "experts" (or well meaning friends & family) say you should be doing. It's about doing what is most important to you. Period. Because you cannot do it all. And you DO get to choose.

Know where you are.

Know where you want to be.

Know what it's going to take to get from here to there.

Then... go do it!

Best,

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...moreΒ»

Discussion

  1. Peteni Kuzwayo says

    Hi Lynn

    A great post you've written.

    Time Management and Goal Setting are such a pain in most people's lives. I guess we want results without going through the necessary 'sweat' of planning and doing.

    Really sad about Steve. But, he has lived an incredibly fulfilled and purposeful life.

    I see you are doing the same through your blog.

    Looking forward to learn a lot from you.

    Regards
    Peteni

    • Thank you Peteni & Welcome πŸ˜€

      You're right that most people want results without putting in the time & work. Personally I love goals. Having "something to look forward to" is one of my favorite things in life, and I LOVE seeing the results!

      Sometimes I like to run my business freestyle and just go with the flow. Other times I have big ideas and ambitious goals, and really have to step it up. Now is one of those "other times." πŸ˜‰

  2. Some individuals find it very hard to take on less work or to delegate tasks appropriately. Having an overloaded work plate really will make time management difficult no matter what techniques you employ. Being realistic about what you can and can't accomplish within a give time period is the best way to manage time.

  3. Sharie Orr says

    Funnily (I LOVE that word!) enough, I'm in the process a gigantic Prioritizing/Organizing/Simplifying effort right now. And I came across
    your site in my bookmarks and added it to my "Keepers" list. πŸ™‚
    Of course, had to have a peak first before moving on... (Wonder why
    I don't have enough time in my day--not!)
    Great topic, and great post.
    I know in my own case, I have so many irons NEAR the fire that they're each
    getting too cold for lack of warmth and attention.
    I just thought it was pretty cool to read your post at this moment...

  4. Thank you for this timely post. I have taken over business and realized that I need to implement a series of project plans to keep me focused on moving the business forward. The Gantt software is just what I needed.

    The list of 44 tips has been printed out and I will be reading them every morning while I have my first cup of the day to reinforce and support my focus for the day and weeks ahead.

    This is what I needed exactly when I needed it.

  5. Lynn,

    I have seen that video before, and I have seen people do that live.

    It always makes an impression on me. Focus on the important items first and all of the trivialities will fall in around it.

    That is so true.

    Mark

  6. I love your Top Five Priorities idea, Lynn. Over the past few weeks, my priorities have shifted, but I hadn't really paid attention to how that impacts what I'm working on in the moment. It's like my To Do list has to catch up with my Priorities list. πŸ™‚

    I'm starting to think (dream!) of setting aside one morning a month to sit back and review priorities, then re-write my To Do list. A conscious effort in a timely fashion would go a long way to keeping things on an even keel.

    • Good point, and that's what I am going through as well. I am working with time blocks with some of them being daily, weekly and monthly - as needed. It takes practice (and patience! lol) to make serious positive change when it comes to time management and productivity. Always a work in progress here... πŸ˜‰

  7. Carl Tambeau says

    Hi Lynn:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts through this article and thanks for sharing the video of Stephen Covey - he was an amazing person and will be missed.

    Not only have I enjoyed the content of your article and will be putting your suggestions to use in my personal life but I also appreciate the comments of other people - very inspiring to say the least.

    The strategies you shared of keeping a time log is something that has helped me in the past however I did get away from it and today you reminded me that is what I need to get back to. I especially see the benefit in listing my top five priorities as this will be extremely helpful.

    Once again thank you for sharing - Awesome Article Lynn.

  8. Managing the time in the correct way can prove helpful in our lives. Penning down the list of work you want to do the following days and then executing on the plan as the days come can help you finish off the work as decided and achieve the objectives set for long time. You have to yourself prioritise the activities.

  9. Mary Tairua says

    Great post Lynn! I often find myself getting frustrated by what feels like poor time management when trivial tasks seem to take up so much of my time that I don't get enough big stuff done. Focusing on priorities will definitely help stop this from happening. Thanks for sharing the link to 44 Tips for Dealing with Overwhelm - that was a great read for me. Cheers!

  10. John Toumpakke says

    Hi Lynn and thanks for your post!

    It's true how you said...
    "It takes consistent and specific action to achieve ANY goal"

    If only more people understood that concept... One hit wonders occur with songs and gettin' struck by lightning. But building a business with high achievement, then you gotta be consistent and take ACTION... and welcome failure.

    Great Post Lynn πŸ™‚

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