Listen y’all...I’m the self-proclaimed Queen of Getting Shit Done. I started my first business as a Virtual Assistant with a 16 month old at home and 0 child care. While he was awake, I mommed. While he slept, I worked. And that meant I had to get MASSIVELY good at getting #allthethings done while he was sleeping because I didn’t have the luxury of doing it later.
And I’m gonna toot my own horn for a second and tell you I got REALLY good at time management during that time.
Now that I mentor women starting + scaling businesses just like I did, I hear a lot about what isn’t working and time management is definitely at the top of the list. And listen, I get it. Working from home doesn’t come naturally to everyone. There’s laundry to do, bills to pay and about 9883637643 other distractions staring you in the face each day. But, if you want to build a successful, profitable, balanced business you’re going to have to strengthen your time management muscle.
To help you do just that, I’m sharing my favorite 4 time management tips that helped me go from frazzled to focused in my business.
TIP #1: Find a great task management system and USE IT.
It’s no secret that I’m level 22 obsessed with Asana. I’ve been using the free version for almost 2 years and while I’ve used many other platforms (looking at you Trello and Basecamp) Asana still has my detail-loving heart.
Now you’re probably wondering how Asana can help you with time management and girl...I’m gonna tell you.
Asana keeps you organized so you’re not flipping through pages in a notebook, post-it notes and calendar reminders to figure out WTF you need to do each day. Asana also makes it insanely easy to manage multiple businesses (both yours and your clients) and makes subcontractor onboarding a sinch.
Three cheers for Asana!
TIP #2: Time block like a boss.
If you have 4 hours a day to work on your business and want to be productive AF so that you maximize your work time and income then you definitely want to consider time blocking.
Here’s how it works:
I have 6 hours a day to work when my little one is in school. I drop him off at 9:00 AM and pick him up at 3:00 PM. Here’s what my time blocking looks like each day:
9:15 AM - 10:00 AM | Work on my business (writing content, developing new ideas and anything else that relates directly to the growth of my business)
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM | Mentoring client calls
12:00 PM - 12:45 PM | Lunch + Netflix or Podcast
12:45 PM - 2:45 PM | Client work, Happy Thoughts work or business work run over (emails, social media responding, etc.)
Setting guidelines on when I work on what during my day helps me to stay focused on the task at hand instead of floundering around and wasting time figuring out what should get done next.
TIP #3: Write it down + set time limits
While I keep ALL of my daily, weekly and monthly to-dos in Asana, each time I sit down to do work in one of my time blocks I like to get super specific about what I want to accomplish during that period. If I have 45 minutes to work on my business I’ll check Asana to see what I assigned myself to work on and then pull open my favorite notebook (Fringe brand is the BEST!!!) and get detailed about how I’m going to spend my time.
Here’s what that looks like:
Content additions - 15 minutes
Marketing PDF fleshing out - 15 minutes
Emails - 10 minutes
Social media responses - 5 minutes
Then, I keep my eye on the clock and only allow myself that period of time to get the task done. If I run over, I can decide to “steal” time from another task or have to push it to another day.
I’ve found that I’m WILDLY productive when I set time limits and write down what I want to accomplish.
Also, crossing this all off a list definitely makes me feel like a productive queen...just sayin’!
TIP #4: Weave in brain breaks and rewards to make work fun.
Girl listen, you started your business to create a life + business you love...not to create another overworked + overwhelmed corporate environment for yourself.
So, if you’re working on better time management in your business to get more done in the time you have 1. give yourself a pat on the back and 2. remember that it doesn’t have to feel like it did when you worked in a cube.
There are two things I like to do during my day that you’ll definitely want to add to yours.
TAKE BRAIN BREAKS. If you’re in the middle of something and starting to feel bored/annoyed/tired/pissed/insert emotion here give yourself permission to take a brain break. For me, this is a quick Instagram or Pinterest check, a snuggle with one of my dogs or a walk to the fridge for a watermelon seltzer (OMG SO GOOD!). It’s just enough time to get me out of the doing and I can come back feeling refreshed and ready to finish.
REWARD YOURSELF. Can I be honest and tell you that writing content is hard for me? Ok good because it is. I love the end product but it takes me a loooooooong time to get it done and out the door. And sometimes, I get annoyed that it takes me so long. #truth But, when that happens I reward myself at the finish as a way to keep me focused. And y’all...it doesn’t have to be anything crazy. This could be a walk with your dogs, a trip to your local coffee shop for a latte or a call with your BFF. When you have BIG stuff to get done give yourself a reward so you have something to look forward to.
And, if you prefer to watch or listen to my 4 time management tips check out this Facebook LIVE I did on this exact subject right here!
Sara Wiles is an Online Business Mentor for done-for-you service providers. She spent 8 years traveling the US producing high-end corporate (and a few celebrity) events before becoming an entrepreneur. After just 4 weeks of starting her business, she filled her roster, replaced her 9-5 income and brought on a team. Sara is also a mother, champagne enthusiast and four-letter word addict.
She loves supporting women to start or scale their Virtual Assistant, Online Business Management and Social Media Management businesses. Click here to book a discovery call to talk more about mentoring!