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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Time Management : why do I always seem to "not have time"?

The Scenario

Do you constantly find yourself strapped by work or chores, having no time to tidy up the house, meet a friend for dinner to unwind or find yourself telling people "I have no time / I am very busy"?

Are you avoiding meetings simply because you are really busy, are not interested in meeting up, or maybe financially-strapped?

If it is the first reason, unless you are managing multiple businesses, have 3 kids or travel extensively, then perhaps you are not managing your time right.

The Tried-and-tested
I wanted to try to feel "not having time", so that I could turn down more social meets. Ok, weak excuse. But anyway, let's see what I did these 2 weeks alone.

I currently hold a 9am-6pm full-time employment, by the way. Business development, yes, so like many of you, that's 8 hours of my day gone.

I have established partnerships for 3 products / services (thats for the side business I own), drafted a 21-pages business plan, worked out lists of prospects and venture capitalists for both streams respectively, completed a small advertising campaign for my food / beauty blog, and have spoken to various travel agencies as part research for my upcoming Europe tour. On top of that, I try to eat with my family at least twice a week, my husband's family around there, and meet a friend a week for catching up / exploring new restaurants.

Let me break it down further.

Today itself. I am on half-day leave so I could attend a business seminar at RELC. Wasnt aware that refreshments were provided so I chomped down a lousy sushi takeout lunch. In the large theater absorbing what the speakers were presenting (mainly repeating themselves), I sent out proposals to a few more VCs, generated a fresh list of potential clients, filled out a form for another upcoming seminar, made a small regular donation to charity of choice and coordinated 2 meetings with clients.

Those were the easier, happier aspects of the day. On the side, one of the business partners just sent me an email that I felt faint reading, and immediately I realised I had to meet him to iron out the discrepancies. So correspondences to attempt matching each other's schedules. Then a colleague and I were discussing solutions to an issue at work as well, so some brainstorming while I scribbled some notes from the current seminar I was sitting in. Finally, sent a chaser to our shortlisted tour agency of choice, to ask for the answers to our questions.  I am also hoping to get started on The Honeymoon Series for the blog (now that The Nuptial Series is over).

Is it lucrative?

I should think so. I managed to fulfill my duties for the dayjob and hit required results. The advertising campaign went through so now I can concentrate on the new product (thats the one for Partner C).  The 2 meetings fixed were for Partner B, so we could present a refreshing concept to spas. Finally, Partner A messaged to say 2 cases were sealed and I can start to prepare the invoice.

I almost never do things without a purpose, even though it might appear a leisurely event. How do I do it?

How do some people hold a full-time job and still scale mountains over the weekends? How do career moms juggle jobs together with the mommy's role? How could your average IT manager trade his stocks on the side and that pays more than his job? How does a marketing exec manage an online apparel shop well enough to have been able to sell it off for a handsome profit? Or simply put, how do full-time employees complete a Bachelor's or Masters in their free time?

Why can't you do it / why do you think you can't do it then?

8 Methods of Juggling Time Effectively:

1. Change Your Mindset
You'll need to get out of the fear or mentality that you cannot do it, cannot multi-task, cannot manage or will be tired / stressed out easily. We are all made up of the same soul and flesh - the only things that differ are really the minds. If you are determined to do it, you will be able to.

2 . Start Small / Practice Makes Perfect
You don't have to start with 5 or 6 activities at a go. Start with maybe 1 or 2 more, pace yourself, and then when you get better at handling them with more ease, add on 1 or 2 to the plate gradually.

3. Maximise your Time
Sometimes, our ongoing and pending tasks seem overwhelming because we set aside a fixed slot to do it, such as weekends or evenings. So it might look like, within a span of 3 hours on, say, Thursday evening, you have to finish the ironing, bought the groceries, finished reading the book on Investment for Dummies and finalized flight bookings for your family trip. Yeah, that looks a little trying.

Instead of cramping the to-do lists all into a day and appearing overly-ambitious, spread them out so that you can check your flight bookings over lunch, or while commuting between office and home. If you drive,  get the audio version of the Investment for Dummies learning series, so that you get to complete a chapter a day while on the road.

4.  Time Table
A good way of pacing yourself and organizing your to-do list would be to plot a time table. Sounds like the school days, yes, but we got all our learning done, didnt we?  A time table also allows you to fit in slots for me-time, family time and socialising, yet getting the important stuff done.

Now you just need to ensure that you conform to the schedule.

5. Set Reminders
In the event that you might miss an appointment or task, when you forget to refer to the time table, set reminders to self.

6. Breaking it Down
If a certain pending task is tedious or appear uninteresting, break it down into stages. For instance, if you are writing a business plan. Break it down so that you get to do market survey on one day, calculate the projected revenue for the next day, and source for potential investors 2 days later. That way, the assignments are more manageable and allow time for changes during each stage.

7.  Rewarding Yourself
No activities generate results or profits instantly - whether you are starting a small business, starting training to shed some pounds or taking up a new language course.  Set periodical rewards for yourself such a small purchase, a nice meal with friends or a visit to the long-awaited musical. This would give you something to look forward to, as long as you worked hard to complete what you set out to do.

8.  Get Started
This may sound easier than it seems, but believe me, it is easy. Many tasks or assignments "feel" boring, tiring, uninteresting, but once we take the first step to kickstart, it becomes easier gradually, enjoyable next, and rewarding eventually. This applies to anything from crafting the business plan to starting your evening jogs.

Try these tips out - you'll be amazed at the level of discipline instilled, and improvements to the results. All the best in your new ventures!

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