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Productivity

Want more time? Then let go of the idea that you can manage it.

“We all have the same number of hours in a day, it’s what we do with them that counts”, says time management expert Kate Christie.

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Want more time?

There’s nothing I love more than a list of really simple time management tricks to help me feel organised.

If you feel the same then you’ll also love Kate Christie, time management expert’s tips on doing exactly that.

Speaking with Robert Gerrish at the Flying Solo Live event in Melbourne last year, Kate sagely pointed out that even the richest person in the whole world can’t “buy it.”

“We all have the same number of hours in a day, it’s what we do with them that counts,” says Kate.

Luckily, being an expert in time, Kate has plenty of accessible tips for those of us feeling like we’d like to be more on top of things in 2019.

Kate says the first step is to work out how you’re spending the time you currently have and running it through four filters.

First, spend two- or three-days making note of absolutely everything you do.

“Map your time, from the minute you get up till you go to bed. That data will show you where you’re wasting your time, what is interrupting your work and where you can make some changes right away,” says Kate.

"Don’t manage your time, invest it!."

Next, we must let go of the idea that we can manage our time.

“Think of time the way you think of money – we don’t manage our money, to get the most of it we invest it. And that’s how we must use our time.”

Doing this means working through a two-step process for every decision that you make run it through the following filters.

  1. Financial cost: How much money will I spend pursuing this course of action/ decision? Is there a way to get the same result without losing anything?
  2. Opportunity cost: If I spend time making this decision, what other opportunities must I let go of? Is that equation worth it?
  3. Emotional cost: How does this decision make me feel about myself and my time and my business? If it feels good – proceed. If not, what can I change?
  4. Physical cost: If I spend all day at my desk working without a break I’ll get a sore back. If I race around trying to clean up in the mornings before I start work, I lose an hour or so of productivity.

Kate says these filters help us to prioritise our values and by default, show us the best way to spend our time.

“Ask yourself which lens resonates most with you and use that to determine if you’ve made the right choice with how you spend your time.”

Next activate the time management toolkit.

1. Buy some post-it-notes

Hooray say fellow stationery aficionados!  And in your best handwriting write: “Is this the best way to spend my time?”

Put a couple in places you spend a lot of time: fridge, car, bathroom mirror and even your desk or laptop.

“This acts as a prompt throughout your day to make sure you’re focussing your time in the right place and at the right time. And if you’re not, you can then reset your focus.”

2. Reject being or talking about being ‘busy’

“When we tell clients that we are busy its akin to saying, “I am very unproductive and disorganised,” says Kate.

Decide you will no longer use that word to describe how you or your business is doing and replace it with words like: “happy,” “productive” or “business is great”.

3. Buy a good calendar and write a to-do list

“These two tools are the ‘power duo’ of organisation,” says Kate. “Make sure your to-do list isn’t a laundry list by allocating a time frame to each task, ie every time you add an item include how long it will take you to complete it.”

4. Batch your tasks INCLUDING your energy levels

“Group like-minded tasks together boosts efficiency,” says Kate. “Also, group chunks of time in order to be able to complete them.”

Invoicing, billing, sales, your tax, email and phone calls are all best achieved in an allocated chunk of time.

Yet Kate advises also batching your own energy levels.

“Everyone has a particular time of day where they are most effective,” says Kate. “Once you understand what time of day works best for you tick off all your most important tasks in that time period.”

5. Fit your own oxygen mask FIRST

Running a business alongside being a parent or a carer is a tonne of work which makes it easy to forget to look after yourself. Kate advises soloists start prioritising themselves by considering what they can outsource.

“Identify all the things you do each day that you can effectively pay someone else to do,” says Kate.

“Similarly draw up another list of all the things you can ask your family to help you do – for free!”.

6. Stop multitasking

Yes, you read that right! It might sound counter-intuitive but as Kate explains nobody can actually do more than one thing at a time, effectively.

“Instead of trying to do several things at once, batch your time instead and you’ll get more done.”

Is that sensible advice or what?

Now all you’ve got to do is put it into practice …  

Happy organising everyone!

Lucy Kippist

is an experienced Australian editor with experience in writing, podcasting radio and television, with previous senior editorial roles at News Corp news.com.au, Kidspot and Kinderling Kids Radio. In her current role as editor of Flying Solo, Australia's #1 website for solo business owners she is pursuing her passion for women in the small business space. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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