Time is like a business asset, the more we treat it with care and attention, the better are our returns going to be. As business owners, and marketing experts, our time tends to run out rather quick when it comes to goal completion, idea nurturing, and taking care of responsibilities.
If 10 years ago we already had so many distractions keeping us away from managing our time, then in today's world -- time is struggling to keep up with values of success. Juggling between multiple projects makes us forget the importance of time, and how managing this time can improve our productivity, and business success accordingly.
I, much like others, love to procrastinate over certain projects and tasks, but over the years I have taught myself to be more careful with my time allocation, and I learned that only a few simple steps in my daily schedule can improve my work performance tenfold.
1. Being proactive with lists
Lists are life-savers. We all make lists in our heads whether we are consciously aware of it or not, but we do. And making a list in your head is not the same as making a list on a piece of paper, or on a digital platform if most of your work is based in the digital world; as it is for me.
Outline is a digital notebook that I have began to use on daily basis as a means of categorizing my work performance, prioritizing tasks, and doing more thoroughly researched analysis of my work, based on the ability to keep everything in one place.
Anyone who isn't a Mac user can always try out Evernote, a great alternative for a notekeeping application that syncs with all your devices, and is available on the web as a cloud platform.
2. Tracking my daily performance
Time tracking wasn't something that was on my radar before I started getting heavily involved with doing freelance work that required a more concise understanding of how much time is spent on particular tasks, and whether I could measure the time spent and better understand what my rates should be.
Out of the hundreds of time tracking applications on the market, TMetric proved to be the most useful time tracker app as far as setting up my own tasks goes. This automatically trained my brain to be more receptive towards individual tasks, and monitor my performance as I keep completing individual tasks for any of my ongoing projects.
It's worth mentioning that TMetric is a free-forever platform, which made the choice that much more simple for me. It was also because it was so easy to integrate with popular project management tools like Asana, and Trello seamlessly; both of which I have written about here on Huff before, check the links for further reading.
3. Big tasks over small ones
One of my specialties in the freelance field is writing. I work with various clients on many different projects, and there are always tasks at hand that are bigger than others. For example, some days I have a post to research and write a draft for, another day I have a post to edit and make any final adjustments. The latter being the smaller task.
There's usually a new project on the horizon that I need to get started with, but the more often I selected editing as my priority, I learned that I lose a lot of momentum that I could otherwise have invested in starting with the bigger project, which was researching and writing up a new piece.
It can seem like you're doing a lot, when a lot of small tasks get completed, but if there is an unfinished job on the horizon with a deadline to meet, who is going to get the highest priority?
A notekeeping journal keeps my ideas and research entertained, while a time tracker allows me to see exactly how much time is being spent on tasks, and learn whether there is room for improvement.
Room for improvement? As someone who has a certain job and things to do, you eventually learn what takes up most of your time anyway, so prioritizing tasks that require focus and attention first, allows you to focus on less demanding tasks later on.
You have a reasonable amount of hours in a single day, out of which a portion is spent on doing actual work, knock off the big guys first, then you can cruise through other stuff while knowing that the most difficult tasks are already behind you.