How to Take Control Over Your Time

The following post is from Lisa of Working Naked:

source: Sean MacEntee

I’ve always wondered how a time management seminar could last two days. So, a few weeks ago I went to one. By the end of the first day, I knew I was right…the speaker could have shared all of his information in three hours, not eight. He showed us how we were wasting time — I could relate because I was wasting time at the seminar — and he gave us exercises to help us realize how we could make better use of our time.

By the second day, I felt sorry for the corporate employees who realized that when they went back to work, they’d have to play catch-up for the next few days.

Let me save you a few days by sharing a few time management tips I didn’t learn at the seminar, but instead through trial and error.

Do a self-check.

Throughout the day, ask yourself if what you’re doing is the best use of your time. Are you working on something you need to finish today or could you work on it another day? Set the timer on your phone or use a simple kitchen timer to remind you to evaluate how you’re using your time. You don’t have to check up on yourself more often than every three hours, because otherwise you’d be wasting time.

Work during your more productive times.

I used to say that I was a morning person, and then an afternoon person, and now I’m a “work when I can” person. Between my sons’ and my clients’ schedules, I need to be flexible. Concentrate on important tasks during the time you’re more productive and leave the less important tasks for when your energy level is low.

Work around your family’s schedule.

One of my clients works non-traditional hours. He waits for his kids to go to bed, and then he works between 8pm and 3am Monday-Friday. After that he sleeps for a few hours, has breakfast with his kids, and then goes back to sleep until around 11:00am. When his children come home from school, he’s available to spend time with them. Your schedule may not be the same every day; so plan ahead to make sure you can meet all of your deadlines and still have time to spend with your family.

Stay focused.

It’s easy to start one project and then bounce to another without finishing the first. At times, I’m the perfect example. At the end of the day, I’m exhausted, but I haven’t accomplished as much as I’d hoped to. If the same thing happens to you, refocus, stay on task and don’t be surprised if you start to accomplish more each day. Also, use a to-do list to keep yourself on track and to help you stay focused.

When you work for yourself, every minute counts. By recognizing the ways you’re wasting time, you’re one step closer to saving time.

How do you avoid wasting time?

Home office expert Lisa Kanarek is the founder of and the author of five books about working from home, including Organize Your Home Office For Success. Lisa works with entrepreneurs and home-based employees through seminars and individual consultations, to create functional home offices that meet each individual’s working style.