Every business owner hopes to create the perfect time management system to help them complete everything on their checklist while still helping them avoid burnout.
This sounds like an incredible challenge, and managing time effectively is often extremely difficult. That is why so many time management systems exist.
Fortunately, in a recent interview, Adi Klevit of Business Success Consulting Group and Eric Recker, professional coach and owner of Recker Dental Care, PC, discussed time management strategies that anyone can use even if they have previously had difficulty with time-blocking systems.
Read on to find the strategies these two business coaches have shared with clients to help them manage their time effectively.
Five Strategies for Building Time Management Systems that Prevent Burnout
Here are five strategies you can use to build a time-blocking system that will work even if you find executive functioning a challenge or you often get distracted:
1. Hire a coach
When Eric was trying to figure out time management solutions, he hired a coach to help him. Sometimes, we need external motivation and help to ensure we get our tasks done. A coach may observe what stops you from completing your daily to-dos and reaching your goals. Additionally, a coach may provide new ideas and systems to try as you build the management system that works for you.
2. Try these tips
Most of time management is time blocking, so these tips are specifically geared toward those using time blocking systems. However, you can adapt them to work for the majority of time management systems:
- Include stress breaks in your day. Building a back-to-back schedule will burn you out before the day is over, making you slower and making everything harder. Stop and take several stress breaks throughout the day.
- Avoid back-to-back meetings. Everyone needs a break between meetings to process information, go to the bathroom, rehydrate, eat, etc. Give yourself that time.
- Reduce the amount of time per block. Sometimes, our time blocks are too long to hold our focused attention. If you aren’t focusing in a time block, try cutting the block down and see if that helps.
- Consider what is distracting you during that time and find ways to overcome it. Many things distract us during the day, and we can find ways around it. Acclaimed author Neil Gaiman once told an audience that he writes with a pen and paper to keep himself from looking at email and messing around on the computer during his writing time. You, too, can find out what’s distracting you and block yourself from doing those actions.
- Only block out the time for vital actions and leave the rest of the day free. As Eric noted in the interview, some people are more “free-range humans” and don’t do well when every minute of their day is scheduled. A solution is to block out time only for vital actions and then use the rest of the time to get everything else done.
- Use a block of time as a challenge to get as much done as you can. Some people respond to the idea that a time block is a “race against the clock” and spend that time achieving the goal they’ve set for that time block as quickly as possible. If that sounds like you, try this strategy!
- Alternatively, use a block of time as a moment of spaciousness in which you can deeply focus, distraction-free. Other people respond better to the idea that a time block is 30 minutes or an hour when nothing can distract them, so they can relax and get their work done within all of that dedicated time. If that sounds like you, try this mindset shift.
- Create a checklist. Eric is a pilot as well as an entrepreneur, and he knows the importance of a checklist. If you want to make sure your time is used effectively, try setting up a checklist and feel the satisfaction of checking actions off your list.
- Build a time-blocking system and test it out. Finally, create the time-blocking system you think will work best for you and then test it out. The whole point is for the time management system to work for you – not anyone else. Once you find the best strategy for you, stick with it!
3. Get an accountability partner
Many business owners do well with an accountability partner, so they don’t feel like they are only committing themselves when they say, “I will get __ done within __ time.” See if a fellow business owner, friend, family member, or coach can become your accountability partner.
4. Share the work
You should not try to do all of the work by yourself. Determine the best way to delegate tasks to your team or do what Eric did and find a business partner. Another option is to hire subcontractors and specialists for short-term projects.
The only way to grow a company is to share the workload, so find a method that works for you.
5. Address your burnout
You’re not going to get much done if you’re burned out. If you are already feeling burnt out, it can be tricky to find any solution, much less the one that works best for you.
Here are a few solutions to help you deal with burnout on an immediate basis, so that you can utilize the above strategies:
- Set up a sleep schedule that affords you 8 full hours of rest time each night – even if it’s only for a week.
- Schedule a meal service to deliver healthy meals to you at work or at your home.
- Ask your team for help, even if they can only take one or two small tasks off your plate.
- Block out five to ten minutes between meetings from here on – even if you have to move some meetings around.
- Find one “self-care” action you can do – even if it’s very small.
- Try to take a brief walk outdoors for a few minutes every day. Take out your earbuds and listen to the world around you.
The most essential of the above burnout solutions is to get enough sleep and eat consistent, nutritious food. The rest are additional small steps you can take toward finding time and mental space to tackle your larger goals.
Finally, if you are ready to begin creating systems in your business, consult with the experts! Schedule your free initial consultation today.