Flashback: Are you ready? Hold on I will go pretty fast.
During my employment with a local college (before I became a Mompreneur), I had traditional work hours 8am – 4:30pm so I started my mornings at 6:00 am, getting my two kids ready for school (Jaune’ & Jeffrey, Jr.) & myself for work. The usual routine, breakfast, combing hair, loading the car with book bags and occasionally preparing lunch for the kids to take to school (if the school menu had something they didn’t find edible). First stop, Jeffrey’s school (before care) next Jaune’s school, then finally I arrive at work.
Jaune’ had the dream (at that time) to become an aspiring ballet dancer and she had been accepted into a strenuous dance class at New Orleans Center of Creative Arts (NOCCA); however the classes started at 4:00 pm, so I received approval to take my lunch break at 3:30 pm to allow me the opportunity to pick her up & take her to dance class across town. Upon dropping her off at dance class, I returned to work and if I was lucky I ate something in the car or I brought something from home to eat once I returned to my office. Okay, its 4:30pm, time to leave work and pick up Jeffrey, Jr. from school (after school care) and bring him home so that he could get ready for his 5:30 pm Karate Class, we had just enough time to make it home, let him change into his karate uniform, get a snack and off to class.
Now its time to drive back across town to pick up Jaune’ from Ballet Class which is over for 6:00 pm. and return back to get Jeffrey from Karate Class which ended at 6:30pm. Great! We are all headed home for dinner (I still need to cook) homework and discussions about our day.
Are you still with me?
Jaune’ is now changing uniforms because she has an 8:00 pm Karate Class (Karate classes are not too far from home, approximately a 15 minute drive). We are back on the road again to drop her off, return home & return to get her for 9:00 pm when her class ends. In the hour we are home, Jeffrey bathes and get ready for the night. We leave to pick up Jaune’. Okay, we are going home for the evening; we are home at 9:20 pm. I was very successful at work (I received a Raising Star Employee Award from the Vice Chancellor & aced my program audits) & my kids were honor roll students despite our extremely busy schedules.
I was asked numerous times how did I get it all done so smoothly and with ease. I can’t remember my reply, but now as I look back, I would reply, I didn’t waste time & avoided time traps. I knew what I had to do and I did it. I didn’t allow time traps to distract me or zap my energy and productivity. I ended my days feeling satisfied & fulfilled. Now as a Mompreneur, I continue to value my time and totally appreciate the flexibility & increased time with my family. You can do the same, the message is the same for your personal and business affairs, avoid time traps, to get the most out of your day.
Top Five Time Wasters to Avoid
1. Procrastination I will do it tomorrow, I will get to it soon or whatever excuse you use, it’s all procrastination. The feeling that you will complete the project or task in the near future will rob you of your time today and cause unnecessary stress when there is no more tomorrows left. In order to avoid the procrastination time trap, start your work day with the most unpleasant task first. Decide and visualize the desired outcome of the project and list small daily assignments that will get you to completion. You don’t have to complete the project in one day, just work on it daily, set deadlines in order to reach the desired outcome. Also, think about the consequences of not doing the project or task, which alone will motivate you to get it done. Block time on your schedule for tasks and commit to following your schedule, this will help you avoid putting off until tomorrow.
Once the project is completed, you will feel emotionally great to complete other
2. Emails / Telephone
Block time in your schedule to read and reply to emails. I check and reply to emails in the morning before I start my daily tasks and once again as I close my day. I only check emails during the day if I have a few minutes due to cancellations or I have finished a task sooner than anticipated. If you review & respond to emails all day or whenever you get mail, you will tend to spend more time corresponding on the internet and not completing other much needed tasks. Create folders for emails that you do not have time to read but would like to read them later on your personal time. Use filters to avoid the over abundance of unwanted mail and keep replies short and to the point. Depending upon your services or products, it is great to establish a “frequently most asked questions” list and use it to reply to questions or post it on your web page ( if you have one) as a point of reference, if the reply does not require a more customized answer from you.
Before you attend or arrange a meeting make sure you have an agenda. The agenda should include the purpose of the meeting, intended outcome and action items to review. Set a start and ending time for meetings. Stay on schedule and do not allow the meeting to go past the scheduled ending time. Take accurate minutes or tape the meeting and have the notes transcribed and send it to all parties in attendance. Make sure there is a necessary need for the meeting so you do not spend time outside of your office if it is not needed.
4. Unexpected Visitors
Set office hours (especially if you are a home based business owner) and share the hours with family, friends and associates. Let them know that you are working during those hours and you should only be distracted if there is an emergency. Keep your office door closed and hang a do not disturb sign on your door. Do not engage in aimless conversation, make a decision and end discussion.
5. No Daily Game Plan
You must start your day knowing what you need to accomplish on that day. Do not waste time wondering what you will do today. Purchase a weekly planner or use a spiral notebook and schedule tasks, any appointments, block time for telephone calls, emails and marketing. Put everything on your schedule with deadlines. At the end of the day, clear your desk and plan the next day’s activities. You will feel organized, proud and enjoy your day without worrying about tomorrow’s tasks, they are already planned. At the end of the week, you can than evaluate your weekly progress and make changes accordingly.
Start a time journal, write down what you do on a daily basis and include all interruptions: visitors, telephone calls, emails, meetings etc. then record how much time you spend with each. For example, read 45 incoming emails – 25 minutes, replied to 15 emails, 35 minutes, Aunt Sally stopped by to visit since she was in the area – 2 hours.
Your time journal will allow you to see where you are spending your time.
Identify Your Time Traps
You may find that there are other time traps that are stealing your time that I have not mentioned, write them all down. Then review your list, notice how much unnecessary time you spend on time traps as oppose to what you really need to accomplish. Now use the above tips and plan your day accordingly. Record how much time you are saving, and celebrate your increased success and productivity.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Bridgette Boudreaux helps Mompreneurs Move from Workload Overwhelm to Getting It All Done in 6 Hours or Less Daily!
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3 Simple Surefire Steps to Abolish Daily Workload Overwhelm