Be intentional with your time

by | May 8, 2024

How can you make the most effective use of your single most limited resource: time? This is the question that plagues many people, but especially small business owners. When we’re young Time Management is figuring out how to maximize the amount of fun you get to have while still getting enough homework done that your parents and teachers leave you alone. When we’re older it’s a totally different equation.

Last week we talked about how to move forward when you’re feeling totally overwhelmed with everything on your plate. The two big steps are strategy and prioritization. Strategy to show you what’s more important than the rest, and prioritization on how to put that into action. That’s where time management comes into play.

Prioritization and time management come together to help you make a conscious decision to spend time on some things, and since time is so limited that necessarily means not spending time on others. First though you must understand where your time is actually going, and the best way to do that is through a time audit.

Go through the next one to two weeks and write down what you spent your time on in 15 minute segments from when you wake up to when you go to bed. At the end of the two weeks go back through your spreadsheet (or whatever tool you used) and see what there is to learn. It may be helpful to identify specific categories.

Health and wellness might be one category, family time might be another, business development, accounting, operations, etc. The value will come from being able to see where the bulk of your time is being spent and then asking yourself if that is the way it should be.

Once you have this view of the Now, you can map out what an ideal day or week would look like with your strategy in mind and then try to put that into action over the next few weeks. Because of how easy it is to fall into old routines you’ll need to be vigilant about sticking to your new plan. For the first week or two you may need to continue with the time audit to keep track of where you need to make further adjustments.

We’ll talk about strategy next week and how to figure out what’s worth focusing on. Much like time management it will be at least as much about what you won’t focus on, as it will be what you will. These things are rarely so binary as Will You or Won’t You, but small adjustments made strategically can have an immense impact.