Using a List to Manage Time

Originally Posted on September 19, 2012

Are you skilled at time management?  Many of us need help managing time.  With so many distractions, particularly with the growth of social media, keeping on task can be difficult.

In my own business, I find one of the best ways to keep organized is to keep a running list of things I need to do or accomplish.  As I finish a task, I cross it off.  Simple.  This list keeps me accountable as to projects I want or need to complete.  My list helps me set goals for the hours, the day, the week and so on.

My lists are usually multi-tiered based on priority of the project.  Each project may also have its own list of items to be completed. By setting more appropriate goals (such as a portion of a project to be completed), it will be easier to manage your time and the large task will not seem as daunting.

Another issue that can affect time-management is interruptions:  clients drop in, the phone keeps ringing, you have a personal emergency.  These unplanned events can quickly turn your well-planned day upside down.  For me, this makes having a list even more important.  Despite numerous distractions, I can still identify exactly what I need to get done by looking at what remains on the list.  It’s ok to not finish everything you planned to accomplish in one day, in fact, that is the nature of business.  Change is constant and the ability to redirect and regroup your efforts is priceless.

The list also identifies tasks that are not getting completed due to a lack of time.  I may simply not have the time I once had to complete a task or project or, more likely, I am wasting too much time doing something I should simply hire someone else to do for me.  As a small business owner, I have many, many jobs but do I really need to be an accountant or web designer?  Do I need to be the cleaner?  If your tasks are not getting completed, consider delegating the task to another employee or outsourcing someone to do it for you.  Your time is money.