Seven Simple Ways to Maximize Your Time

As a mom and an entrepreneur, chances are there’s probably just never enough time in the day.  When it’s mid-day and your house is a wreck, your to-do list is long, and your toddler is covered in this morning’s breakfast, it’s hard to fathom that we have the same 24 hours in a day that Beyonce and Oprah have.  We can’t create time…but we can free some up.  Here’s how.

Identify your time-wasters.  Make a list.

You’d be really surprised at how much time you spend mindlessly scrolling through social media or watching cat videos when you should be working or doing something otherwise productive.  Review how you spend your days (how you actually spend your time; not how you want to) and write down what you usually do when you’re procrastinating or otherwise wasting time.  The next time you find yourself googling random junk or watching your 100th Instagram story, you’ll know it’s time to log off and get productive.

Hide or delete apps if you need to.

If it’s just too tempting, hit delete.  You can always reinstall Twitter after you’ve hit your deadlines and accomplished whatever goals you had set for yourself for the day.

Schedule appointments, create an agenda, and stick with it.

There’s no need for what can be done in 20 minutes to take an hour.  Schedule your meetings with hard start and stop times, and stick to it.  Make an agenda so that you can keep your meeting on track, and again, stick with it.  You’ll be surprised at how much time you can shave off meetings and appointments when you stick to the script.  The people you’re meeting with will appreciate your stellar time management skills as well.

Prioritize your priorities — start with your most vital tasks first.

It may be tempting to see how many small tasks you can knock out in a big block of time, but once you’ve finished all the small stuff, you may be out of energy and balking at the idea of tackling a larger, more energy intensive task when all you want to do is wind down.  Start the exhausting stuff first, get it out of the way, and go from there.

Set strict boundaries with your time.

Just because you’re a business owner doesn’t mean you need to be available to everyone 24/7.  It’s counterintuitive, we know…but the reality of the situation is that the work will still be there for you to do in an hour, two hours, or tomorrow.  As long as you’re courteous to your clients and handling your business, there’s no harm in not being at someone’s beck and call 24/7.  Isn’t that why you became your own boss to begin with?   If you stop for every interruption that comes your way, you’ll never be able to focus on getting your work done.  Seriously, no one expects you to have a five minute response time at 2 am.  Set up “office hours” where people know they can expect you to be available — otherwise, set an appointment.

Use your waiting time wisely.

Waiting in the doctor’s office?  On hold listening to elevator music?  Got an extra 10 minutes before your next meeting?  That’s more than enough time to shoot a few emails, listen to your voicemail, or read a few pages of a book.  Instead of scrolling through the same 10 posts on Facebook, take advantage of the extra few minutes.

Listen to audiobooks while commuting.

Most of us spend a lot of time in our cars.  This is a great opportunity to pop in an audiobook and catch up on some reading — or rather, listening.  Bonus points if it’s educational material.

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