*This post was updated September 10, 2015.
Do you sometimes get to the end of a day and wonder where the time went? You were busy and it seemed that you did a lot of things, and yet, you didn’t seem to get many things accomplished.
Instead of wondering where the time went, you can gain more control of your day by creating a time plan. It’s a simple concept that starts at the top of your day. Take 15-20 each morning to consider how much time you will need to successfully manage each part of your schedule.
Do you really need to make a time plan at the beginning of the day? Yes and no. Creating a plan will help you get more done, but you can start working on it the evening before. Simply end your work day 20 minutes early and review what’s coming up for the next day.
Okay, well, it may not always be that simple to end your day early when you have deadlines looming. So, some amount of planning (and commitment) on your part will be needed. Try ending your day five minutes early every day for a week. Then, increase that to 8 minutes, then 10 minutes, and so on until you get to 20 minutes.
How to Create Your Time Plan
To help you create your time plan, here are some steps to consider implementing:
- Come up with a realistic estimate of how long each item (e.g., task, meeting, call, etc.) will take.
- Look for ways you can connect two tasks to each other (e.g., go to the bank and post office that are close in proximity to each other, listen to your business audiobook during your commute).
- Find opportunities to share tasks or remove something from your plan by delegating it to someone else (like a virtual assistant, team member, or business partner).
- Do you need to build in time for interruptions? Add a block of time to respond to queries you put off because you were actively working your plan.
Remember, it may take some time to adjust and for changes to stick. If necessary, get an accountability partner to help you stay on focused on the goal of keeping control of your time.