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2 Simple ways to create more time and less stress in your workday –

Buzz, buzz, buzz … the sound in my head is driving me nuts!

Part of the problem is my tinnitus. The other part is being the only plate-spinner in my business.

How do I get everything that needs to get done, done?

If you are a small business owner, you’re probably in the same boat. And this could be limiting your growth as well as the amount of profit you record each year. What do you tell yourself when you start off your day? I bet it’s more “Yikes, I wonder what I’ll need to deal with today” than “Today I will … (fill in the blank)”.

So I guess the truth is, I tell myself I will run my day but often (too often), the day runs me. Or it did until I implemented two specific hacks that work for me.

Problem: Always rushing and burning the “midnight oil” to get projects finished by the deadline.

Solution One: Use a timer (any newer smartphone will have a timer or some app similar. I use an actual timer … thank you Chris Brogan!) to record how long stuff takes to do! After the first week, heck, the first day, I learned that I seriously underestimated how long things took to do.

How could I have been so wrong for so long? After all, I’ve been working on this stuff for more than a little while. I was hiding the time required by “multi-tasking”. This misguided notion had let me hop from project to project with no clear work time allocated to any of them. The work day morphed into one long, mishmash of a day, and by the end of the day, I wasn’t sure where one project ended and the next started. I was also burning up time figuring out where I was in the project when I last worked on it. This added time to the whole process. And when assessing my time for billing … let’s just say it’s a good thing that I  always honour my quoted cost.

This brings us to the next point.

woman-multi-tasking

Solution Two: Don’t multi-task! Yes, yes, yes, I know. You’re special. You’re really good at multi-tasking. You aren’t like the rest of us. Here’s a news flash. We all think and say that. None of us are good at multi-tasking. Suspend your doubt for two weeks and give these two changes a chance. Then let me know how your day has changed.

So, how will your day look?

  • Set your timer for the amount of time you’ve designated for that task. You’ll be surprised to the gap between the actual time and the estimated time on tasks. As you do this exercise the gap will get smaller.
  • Turn off your notifications on your desktop and your phone. No interruptions
  • Take a break every 20 minutes or so for about 5 minutes. Move, and especially take your eyes off of the computer screen for a couple of minutes. My optometrist recommends the 20/20/20 method – take your eyes off the screen after every 20 minutes, look at a point 20 feet away for about 20 seconds.
  • Work on one project until you finish it if possible, minimize the hopping around. Obviously, some larger projects need to be segmented and spread over a few days.
  • Allocate regular hours dedicated to client work, and don’t forget to allocate some time every day for your own business.

 

*my definition of multi-tasking: working on four different projects at the same time while doing laundry and contacting everyone on the fund-raising committee to let them know about the next meeting.

Over time, I thought I had mastered the art of covering off many issues at the same time. And sometimes, this is necessary. However, I’m finding more time to my day and less stress in my life since I’ve surrendered my superwoman cape.

And I have fewer broken plates …

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