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There’s so much to be said for technology, it has given us instant access to a whole world, no universe of things. If we had a question about something “BI” (Before Internet) we waited until the weekend, went to the library, scanned through a million index cards, walked up and down book aisles, found the right book, looked through the contents page, fo und the section we wanted, read that section until we found the answer we needed, or went back and found another book if the first one didn’t answer the question.

Now we google stuff. Cool hey?

“BI” we used to phone our friends at a pre-agreed time, leave a message if they weren’t home, and sit on the step and talk for hours once we got in touch with them.

Now we Snapchat or PM them on Facebook (and when I say we…well I don’t have snapchat, call me a dinosaur if you want, see if I care).

The downside is that somehow we have created this instant, face paced world where everyone wants everything NOW. And we also want everything NOW for ourselves. Which somehow, leads to a world of overwhelmed people with too many things to do and not enough time!

So if we can’t go back in time and make our world slow down, we need to find a way
to manage our time effectively.

There’s a million places you can read about time management, determining what’s important, seeking help when you need it. I’ve read lots of them, and gained some great insights, and probably forgotten more.

So here’s my 7 tips for managing your time effectively.

Tip 1. Write a list. A big one.

I like to break my lists into categories, and mine isn’t exactly a list, it goes on a large piece of unlined paper in boxes with different coloured pens (I’m a creative). This is a master list of all things in the universe you want or need to do. As you go to write something down, ask yourself if you really need to be doing it, and leave it off if you don’t. I do it for my whole life not just business. So the kind of groups I might have are property/house/horses/bills/existing clients/marketing/accounts/team/ and the list goes on like that. However you break yours down is up to you.

Tip 2. Don’t look at the list all the time.

If I had my master list in my line of sight right now my blood pressure would be elevated far beyond what it is now. I don’t keep it in front of me, I get it out and use it regularly, but we might as not overwhelm ourselves by seeing how large that list is. Providing you are referring to it and not just hiding it so you can escape it, there’s nothing to say you have to have it sitting in front of you reminding you how damn busy you are!

Tip 3. Pick a few things from the list that you are going to work on for the day.

I tend to choose 4 or 5 things to begin with, depending on what else I have on that day, and those are the things I focus on for the day. Those things go into my diary which I use as my daily list, reason I do that in the same place is so I don’t forget any commitments I have that are at a specific time (eg a client appointment, take child to band rehearsal, farrier, etc)

Tip 4. When you think of another thing you should be doing, don’t go and do it

Write it on the master list and put it away again. That’s it. It’s highly ineffective to stop what you are doing halfway through, start something else, then get distracted away from that and never get anything finished. Sound familiar?

Tip 5. Schedule your day realistically

If I am out with clients from 9 – 4pm, putting 7 things on my list that are going to take 5 hours is not that realistic for me with horses, a property and a family. Each morning, set your intention for the day and write down a plan for that day. Tick things off as you go, I know that gives me a great sense of satisfaction.

Tip 6. Use the big rocks and little rocks theory

If you haven’t heard about this theory it’s a good un! It’s a great analogy about time management by Dr Steve Coovey who talks about having big rocks, small rocks and sand, and fitting it all into a jar. If you put the sand in first, then the small rocks, you wont fit all the big rocks in. If you put the big rocks in first, then fit the little rocks in between, then fill the gaps with sand, it all fits. You guessed it, the big rocks are the important things in your day. Watch the video here.

Tip 7. Rinse and repeat

It’s great to do this once and lose that sense of panic and overwhelm. Very quickly you might start to feel ok, under control and the first thing people do is let their time management system slide. And then voila, you are back to being out of control in no time! So stick to the plan, every single day you need to write yourself that list for the day of things you choose from your master list as being the most important for that day.
Someone recently shared a video with me and in it the person speaking said something along the lines of this;
“you can’t control your time, but you can control your energy”
I thought that was really useful, it reminds us that we can only do so much and it reminds me not to make my day’s list too large, and to look for where I get my energy from. With that and my daily list in my arsenal of how to get through a busy day, it’s not always pretty, but I get there in the end!