Hi guys! It is Sophie here from Resource Worldwide. I hope you are having an amazing week so far. I just wanted to grab your attention for a couple of minutes and answer a question that keeps on coming up, which is, “Sophie, how do you manage to have the time to fit everything in?” 

For me, it is a slightly funny question. When I think back, I used to get really overwhelmed and really stressed when I started my entrepreneurial journey three years ago. It is funny because three years ago, we just had the one business that was starting up, and I had my son, so I did have a newborn. But I had an amazing support system as well. 

I was a lot more stressed and overwhelmed then and felt like I was not that productive and did not really know how I was spending so much time every day and not really moving forward at the rate I wanted to within the business. Whereas now, fast-forward three years, we have two great businesses. We have our second child on the way, and we have a puppy thrown into the mix. That really does get a little chaotic. 

How do I manage my time so I am not so stressed and overwhelmed? In fact, now, I feel quite balanced and able to pace things out. So I have come up with these five top tips of how I manage my time and put it into my daily activities. They really help with that overwhelm and stress. 

  1. If you are finding that you are running out of time, not moving forward, getting overwhelmed, getting stressed, spend the next two weeks keeping a diary of how you are actually spending your time. 

So everything that you are doing, from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, just note it down. Keep a book in your pocket or keep it on your phone and just note it down. You might find that to be quite surprising. I definitely did when I was doing that. I realised I got quite a lot of voids where I was basically just faffing around. So, there were a lot of empty gaps during my day that I was not using. I was not managing my time particularly effectively, but I did not realise that until I had gotten it all written down. 

  1. Look at those tasks once you have finished doing them. 

Can any of them be grouped together? Is there a certain amount of time you are spending on social media? Is it scattered throughout the day? Can that be put together? Is there a certain amount of time you spend doing emails? Is it scattered throughout the day? Could that be put together? Have a little look. Are the tasks that you are doing maintenance tasks? Are they growth tasks? If you feel like you are just churning and you are working a lot every day, but your business is not really growing, it is likely because you are doing a lot of maintenance tasks.

So, can you change that? Can you do fewer maintenance tasks and more growth tasks? One thing that we realised quite early on in our first business is that we were spending a huge amount of time doing maintenance tasks. We then outsourced very quickly and it made a significant impact on our business, particularly on our revenue and time, as in how we were spending our time because we were able to focus on growing the business. Again, that may apply to you. 

  1. Read a book called “Eat That Frog!” by Brian Tracy. 

It is an excellent book, and I highly recommend you to read it. In the book, he talks about procrastination, and how sometimes we delay the tasks that we do not want to do till the end of the day. If you think about that logically and you have got a task coming up at the end of the day you do not want to do, you are probably going to do lots of things to delay getting to that task.  So what he suggests you do is do it first as soon as you wake up. Attack the day. Do that task that you do not really want to do or your least favourite thing, and leave your favourite thing to do right at the end.

I normally just do three things a day. I normally only have three things on my to-do list. If it is something that I am not that excited about, it is the first one, and what I am really excited about is the third task. I am always in a bit of a hurry to get to that third task, which I know I am going to really enjoy. 

  1. Manage your diary as efficiently and effectively as possible. 

We talked about the time-blocking earlier on. If you can put your emails together, then decide the times that you look at them. So I look at my emails at 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., 30 minutes each one. Any emails that come in outside of that, I do not look at. I may react to them. So I may go, “Oh, I’ve just got this email,” and then it sends me on a chain of activities I need to do, which takes me away from the things that I had down to do today on my to-do list. 

Second, it is just a distraction. I do not want that type of distraction when I am focused and doing the things I need to do for my business. I make sure that I have allocated times when I am doing things. It is really important that you commit to that. Make an appointment with yourself. This is the same as if you had an appointment with a marketing team. If you had an appointment with a prospective client or an existing client, you would never miss it, and you would bring your all to the meeting. 

It is exactly the same with these meetings with yourself. Make sure you turn up on time. Leave everything else at the door when you come into these meetings with yourself, and make sure that you give 100%. 

  1. Engage in deep work sessions.

This is based on another book, “Deep Work,” by Cal Newport. Deep work sessions are when you just switch off all distractions. I usually do this in the morning. You can do it morning and afternoon or just afternoon. For an hour and a half, I just switch off all distractions, and make sure that I am focusing entirely on the task that I have at hand. 

For example, if we are launching a new email marketing campaign, which we are in our other business, it may be that we need some time to really think about that. Now, writing emails is not my strongest point, but it is something that I have got involved in within this other business. It is something new that we are excited to learn about, but it is not my strongest point.

I cannot have any distractions whilst I am doing it because I will potentially procrastinate. It will drag on a little bit longer than it needs to. So I’ll spend an hour and a half each morning focusing on writing these emails to get them done to the best of my ability within a timely manner. Once we get those out, that is going to have a big impact on growing that business. 

You can see how that productivity and time management really link into each other. You just need to be present and intentional whenever you are doing anything. So if you are sitting down and you are working on something, try not to think about anything else. Try not to react to anything that comes in. Trying just to be focused in the moment will make you much more productive and get things ticked off your to-do list. You will end up feeling like you are in control as opposed to the clock controlling you.

Sophie Dearden
Resource Worldwide