Ten steps to getting it all done
Are you always feeling like you don’t have enough time? Do you wonder how some people seem to manage to get it all done with time to spare?
We all have the gift of 268 hours in each week and we do have the power to use those hours in a way that works for us.
But before we get into the nitty gritty, consider, what does time management mean for you? Does it mean you have hours left over at the end of the week to put your feet up with a cool drink and magazine? Or that you complete a certain amount of client work each week? What are you trying to achieve when considering time management? What isn’t working for you at the moment. If everything were ‘perfect’ what would your week feel like?
Managing your time in a realistic way can ensure you get the most important tasks done, have less stress in your life, but still be productive.
Let’s look at the 10 steps to getting it all done …
- You will create and customize your own template week. Either go to your online calendar – 7 day view – or make a printout of a ‘7 day week’.
- On your week, block out days / times that you definitely are not available to work. For example school drop offs and pick ups, family and domestic time, study time, down time, whatever fills your life when you are not working. If you want to colour different types of tasks, go for it! You could make study blue, family green etc. (Save three+ colours for step 8!)
- How many hours do you have left for working? Write down this number.
- Open a new document in your word processing software. List the tasks that you undertake as a migration agent. Cover all aspects of your business from visa preparation to sending agreements, banking fees to updating your ASIC. Brain dump everything that comes to mind. It may help to review your activities over the past couple of weeks.
- Now, group these tasks together into work groups.
Client tasks – answering enquiries, preparing applications, Operations – preparing and sending agreements, invoicing, managing IT, renewing subscriptions, insurances and registrations
Strategy – updating business plan, marketing review, financial reports
- Assign a percentage to each work group to represent, on average, the percentage of time spent each week doing these tasks, as a group.
You may come up with a spread like this, for example:
- Using the number of working hours you calculated in point 3, calculate the number of hours for each work group based on the percentages you worked out in step 6.
For example, if you work 30 hours per week, using the percentages in our example in step 6 you would have the following hours:
Client – 18 hours
Ops – 7.5 hours
Strategy – 4.5 hours
- Now is the fun part of planning your week.
When do you like doing what tasks? Do you prefer to do some times of tasks in the morning and others in the afternoon?
It has been proven that there is more efficiency in doing similar tasks together. For example, having a specific client appointment day. Or doing your marketing activities on one morning each week.
Assigning a colour to each of your work group types (in my example client, ops and strategy), mark out / colour in your weekly planner, on what days and times you will do the number of hours you have calculated for each group of tasks.
In our example above, you might do your client work across three days of six hours each between 9am and 3 pm.
Now, your highly coloured week is your road map of what you are going to be doing each and every day. Of course you need to build in some flexibility, but sit back and take a look and consider how you feel about your week. Adjust as you need to. Hang in there! Only 2 more steps to go!
- Back on your computer, make a list of your current to do items, all the tasks you currently have on hand in relation to each of your work groups. For client work, don’t list each and every activity (!!) but you could put for example– prepare 186 visa and documents, draft GP statement, prepare LMT. For other work groups you may want to be more specific, for example, write wording for website home page. You now have a gigantic list of all the stuff you need to get done.
Don’t panic, the final step will help you get it all under control!
- From your big list, choose the TOP 3 priorities for each work group. Write these tasks either in your online diary, or I like to use a big square colourful post it note (I will tell you why in a minute!).
Now, when you turn up for your next work day, you can see in your calendar what type of work you are doing during those hours. And, you have your first 3 most important tasks clearly written down. Do those tasks one by one until they are done. Yes, you will have interruptions but don’t be distracted! The key to success is sticking to your guns and keeping the end in mind.