We live in a day and age where the norm is to have a jam packed schedule and we constantly complain of not having enough time. Our to-do list is never ending and there is no time for pausing.
We say yes to even more things and then try to squeeze them into our already hectic schedule. We take on more clients, more projects, try out more sales and marketing strategies. But the problem is, we generally overestimate how much we can do in a day and how long each task will take and then we end up more stressed and more exhausted.
Stress and feeling at breaking point is often a major problem for small business owners, as they push themselves harder to keep up with everything. To get your business (and life) to a more manageable level you need to be very realistic about what can and can’t do and be very realistic about how long things will really take.
It is far better to be realistic about what you can get done rather then get stressed about getting through a schedule that is way too full and meeting deadlines that are way too short.
Here are 5 tips to help you get real with your time
1. Check your estimates to complete a task
Look over your schedule and see how long you have allocated to complete each task. Many tasks on your schedule will likely involve multiple steps. While you might have write blog post in your schedule there are actually more steps than just writing. Instead its research blog, write blog, proof read blog, edit blog, select accompanying images, edit images, upload blog to website, format text and images, and finally publish blog. Have you really allowed enough time to complete all the steps for each of your tasks? Adjust the time to complete tasks if you need to.
2. Add a buffer to your tasks
Add a little extra time to your tasks. Think something will take 15 minutes, give yourself 20 minutes. Think something will take one day, give yourself a day a half. Unexpected things pop up all the time, a phone call, an urgent personal errand. Plan that everything will take a little longer, and if the task doesn’t take longer than expected you get some bonus free time. With that free time you can either complete a quick task you don’t normally have time for or do something nice and nurturing for yourself.
3. Create space in your schedule
Is every minute of your day scheduled? Do you have back to back meetings? Create space in your calendar between scheduled tasks to have a break, even if it’s only 5 minutes. Block out time between meetings to allow yourself time to get from one meeting to the next and to also get into the head space for the next one. And most importantly, make sure you block out time for rejuvenation and fun.
4. Reduce your commitments
A hectic and jam packed schedule is a major cause of stress. Reduce your stress by reducing your amount of commitments. Focus on essential, the things that matter most and that will make the most impact to your business. You can’t do everything. Some things can be postponed to a later date when you have the time to give it the proper amount of attention, some things perhaps need to be eliminated entirely.
5. Check your progress during the day
Check in during the day to see how you going with getting through your schedule. What still needs to be done? Do you have time to get through all the remaining tasks? What has to be done? What needs to be postponed? Can you create space between your tasks? Some days you might be on fire and can power through your to-do list and some days you just don’t have the energy and need to take things slower.
Reduce your stress by getting real about how much you can get done. Accept that you can’t do everything, there just isn’t the time.