Time is your most valuable asset – it is so important that we do our best to manage it so that we can achieve what we’d like to in a day, and still have room to breathe by the end of it! I’ve spent my entire journey of entrepreneurship strengthening my relationship with time, and I’ve come up with some must-do’s if you’re looking to do the same.
I know that these strategies seem daunting up front, but trust me when I say they are integral to your business and to your mental health. Your time is valuable, and it is so important that you understand it well in order to achieve that oh-so-sweet “on top of it” feeling.
I was new to time tracking when I started my business. To be honest, I tried to stay away from it because it seemed like an overwhelming task, and I didn’t see the value in doing it.
Turns out, it’s one of the most important tools in my business. It helps me plan, understand my business, and track my overall business goals! Some specific benefits I’ve found from time tracking include:
- Pricing & Billing: I can clearly see how many labour hours are going into our services, meaning I can bill my clients appropriately, and I alleviate the likelihood of leaving hours unbilled by doing tasks in small increments and not marking it down
- Weekly Planning: By time tracking, you get a way better understanding of how long certain tasks take you, allowing you to comfortably plan your week without getting overwhelmed.
- Understanding When I Need Help: When I track the hours I spend on my own business, I can tell when certain aspects of work are taking too much of my time. From there I can make a decision on outsourcing some help in these areas.
“But Megan, I get that timetracking is important, I just don’t know how to start doing it!”
Well, let me tell you my top tips that helped me take timetracking from a task to a habit:
- Choose a method that works for you: I’ve gone back and forth between online tools and good ol’ paper and pen. I am strongest at pen and paper. I use my planner for my days and move it over to invoicing at the end of the day. I will move to online one day but for now, I know this works best for me.
- Decide if you will use increments: If you plan to have a minimum increment, (e.g. 15 minutes), ensure this is communicated with clients and/or teammates.
- Record time IMMEDIATELY at beginning and end of task: I used to get busy and try to summarize my time tracking at the end of the day. There was no way I could remember all the tasks I did which left me under billing!
- Organize your tasks so you aren’t jumping back and forth: The more you jump around, the less likely you will capture time…. Which leads me to my next topic…. Time Blocking!
Time blocking is a magical way to organize your days and weeks. Rather than going off a massive list of to-do’s, block your day with specific tasks. And then do them. No opening emails or checking social media – I promise, those can wait.
Here are my key tips to timeblocking that have been very effective for me:
Block off big chunks of time for bigger projects so you can sit down and focus on them
- Block out time for personal tasks too! Especially in this remote world, the line is ever-blurring between personal and work.
- Start your days with work that NEEDS to get done and/or your most daunting project. It will make the rest of the day feel more relaxed and enjoyable.
- Carve out 15-30 minute slots specifically for emails. Only check your inbox during those times. I know, easier said than done. But I promise they’ll still be there for you and you’ll get back to them more thoughtfully when it’s the only task on your plate.
- Have some extra bonus tasks on hand: You can tackle these when all these great time management tips leave you with some free time at the end of the day 😉
I can’t say it enough, time is your most valuable asset. I want to make sure I am using it to the fullest.. and that includes rest time!
Happy Time Tracking!