Not enough time to get everything done? Try this ONE thing.

We all get the same allotment of time each day – here’s one thing you can do to make sure that you’re making the most of the same 168 hours per week that we all get. Video below, scroll for the text.

Highlights

  • The business coaching assignment that radically changed how I spend my time
  • The actual assignment
  • 3 reasons to do it (even though you probably won’t want to!)

Time is a huge limitation for self-employed people

Each “hat” we wear in our business requires some of our precious time.

When you’re self-employed you have to do everything in your business.

You wear all the hats: you provide the service, do the sales and marketing, look after customer service and administration, track the money and do the big boss high-level decision making stuff.

It’s a LOT to manage.

And it can eat up a lot of your time.

Time is the big limitation.

We all get the same amount of time.

24 hours a day, 168 per week and a grand total of 8,760 hours per year.

You can’t make more time, but what you can do is make better use of it.

Here’s the one EASY thing you can do that can make an ENORMOUS difference in how you use your time:

Track how you spend your time – in 30 minute increments – for a week

Let me write that down: “tracking my time” – 30 seconds

About 5 years ago, my business coach gave me a simple assignment to track my time.

I didn’t want to do it.

I thought it would take too much time.

I resisted what looked like a TPS report for my own business – needless administrative overhead and one more thing to fit into a busy day.

However…I engaged a business coach to get insight and perspective and advice because what I was doing wasn’t giving me the results I wanted.

So I did what he suggested. (I may or may not have grumbled about it.)

Here’s what I discovered…

It doesn’t take a lot of time to track your time!

My time tracking system (bear not included)

First of all, it doesn’t take a lot of time to track your time. Track it and you’ll see!

I use a spreadsheet on my computer – it’s part of the tracking system dashboard I created to track my business on a daily basis.

(Psst: you can get this system in the YOU-Shaped Business course.)

You could also use a journal, a notebook or even a scrap of paper.

If you want to track your time on your phone, I’m sure they have an app for that!

Stop what you’re doing periodically and jot down how you’ve spent your time.

Tracking your time will instantly change how you use it and give you the data you need to make better decisions.Click To Tweet

3 reasons why you should track how you spend your time

You know how watching the clock seems to slow down time? Use that to your advantage!

Tracking my time was such a useful exercise, that I continued doing it.

Five years later, I STILL track my time – every single day – for these three reasons:

Paying attention to how you spend your time will change how you spend it

The act of tracking puts you into the NOW and helps you make better decisions about how you’ll spend the next few minutes.

You’ll immediately begin to make better use of your time because you won’t want to record the fact that you just wasted 2 hours mucking about on Facebook.

Paying attention to how you’re spending your time can also help you focus and eliminate distractions.

Doing this on a regular basis also helps you build good time management habits.

You can also make a plan for how you WANT to use your time – then compare it to how you actually use your time!

You can see your progress

Yesterday it took 30 minutes to eat my lunch – let’s see if I can do it in 25 today!

As we practice and our skills improve, we get better and more efficient.

Tracking your time can show this progress. It can also show you places where learning something new could help you speed up a task. (Or even places where you can outsource things entirely.)

When I started this project of producing a video and blog post every day, it took several hours.

After several weeks, I have the time down to as little as 2 hours on some days.

I expect that as I get faster and develop a rhythm to the posts, I may be able to reduce that further.

Because I track my time, I have conclusive proof that I’m getting faster as I go along.

I also know that this is true of EVERY task I take on – because I can see the larger pattern. I’ve watched my time investment fall for creating workshops, developing presentations and producing webinars.

Armed with this information, I can confidently embark on a project like this that seems to take a long time – knowing that the daily investment in time will fall once I get good at doing it.

You’ll have the information you need to make better decisions

You can save a lot of time dressing when you work from home via video conferencing!

Tracking your time will reveal things that aren’t paying off.

When I first started time tracking, it became clear that I needed to stop going to 3 out of the 4 networking events I was attending. I wasn’t getting any business from them – and the actual time invested was more than I thought.

I looked at a 2 hour event as taking 2 hours of my time.

In reality, once I factored in travel time, getting ready and finding my pants – it was closer to FOUR hours.

Once I had this information, I could make better decisions about how to spend my time – dedicating more time to the things that were actually paying off.

You can’t make more time, but you can make good use of the time you have!

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