How To Get The Most From The Limited Time You Have

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The rat race that we call modern life

I’ve had the privilege of working with quite a few professional organizers, and I know that many of you struggle with the same challenges as your clients. As small business owners, you hold a multitude of responsibilities, and there are only so many hours to go around. If you’re already nodding your head, you’ll want to read these time management tips from Kimberley Laws.


Is time your most valuable commodity? Do you long for the introduction of the twenty-five hour day? If having “too much time on your hands” is a foreign experience and you’d welcome boredom with arms wide open, you are not alone. The “rat race” that we call “modern life” keeps moving at breakneck speed and, sometimes, it’s hard to keep up.

There are a few ways, however, that you can better manage your time and remain at the head of the pack.

Aim for Average

It is okay to be average (pause for the audible “pop” of perfectionist minds exploding in unison). Focussing on the minute details and nit-picking over the simplest things is said to be a form of procrastination. Yes, perfectionism = procrastination. For many, that news may come as an earth-shatteringly huge surprise. In your quest for perfection, you have actually adopted a “less than perfect” trait–the art of putting off today what you can do tomorrow.

ForbesTime Management for the Time-Challenged contends that at some point, we are all going to occasionally slip up and that one of the kindest things we can do is to forgive ourselves, then move on and try to learn from it. You are, after all, only human.

Turn to Technology

If the human propensity to be “less than perfect” has got you down, you may wish to enlist the help of modern technology. Not only are there a plethora of tools available to block out fun but distracting time-wasters like Facebook, but you can also make use of computerized day-timers, to-do lists, address books, and reminders.

You may also wish to consider taking on a virtual assistant to handle some of your most time-consuming tasks. Entrepreneur‘s 10 Things to Outsource to a Virtual Assistant recommends turning over assignments such as bookkeeping, research, scheduling, database entries, and managing e-mails. As The Top Three Ways a Virtual Assistant Can Support Your Blog, states a virtual assistant can also help you with the tasks that you are not comfortable with like technical support activities, for instance, such as security issues, performance problems, and regular backups. That way you can focus on the things you do best.

Master the Art of Ignoring

Until science masters the art of human cloning, you must learn to admit that you are only one person and, as such, you can only get so much done. And, in order to weed out what is doable and what is not, you will need to become adept at ignoring the things that are deemed surplus.

If a meeting runs overtime, don’t be afraid to adjourn it.

And, as Business Insider‘s How Successful People Make the Most of their Weekends advises, it is important to schedule down time and unplug–yes, this means turning off your computer and your phone–and take time to relax.

time management

Visualize a Productive Day

Sometimes, staying on track is difficult. Everyone has days when they would much rather tackle an easy chore than the much more urgent and toilsome inbox. When you feel yourself tempted by the seductive lure of procrastination, ask yourself how you will feel at the end of the day if you have accomplished diddly-squat. Will you feel panicked, guilty, riddled with crippling anxiety? Now, imagine how you will feel when you can see the bottom of your in-box. Will it bring you a sense of relief, pride in a job well-done, and some breathing room in the days to come?

According to Psychology Today‘s Six Secrets to Making the Most of Your Time, by doing the first one-second task, then the next, etc., you’ll start to build momentum and instantly feel better. And, before you know it, you will have made a significant dent in your workload.

So stop being a slave to the clock. By mastering a few valuable skills, you will be able to get a firm grip on time and how best to manage it. And you may even find yourself with a few extra hours on your hands.

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Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer, avid blogger, and, quite possible, the most disorganized individual to grace--and clutter--the planet earth. You can follow her--and volunteer to organize her cupboards--at The Embiggens Project.

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  1. Avatar Debbie Rosemont on January 14, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    I love the idea of taking anything that feels overwhelming as a whole and breaking it down into small micro-tasks, where the micro-tasks, taken and accomplished one at a time don’t feel overwhelming at all. Cumulatively, these add up to a finished project or goal that once felt overwhelming. I’ll be practicing that today on a couple of things that I’d be otherwise tempted to procrastinate on because they feel “big”. Now to go take the first micro-step ….

    Here’s to your productivity!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on January 30, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      I’ve started doing that too, Debbie. So instead of looking at my task list and saying, “I don’t have time to complete any of these right now,” I can simply look for micro-tasks that are manageable. This has increased my productivity considerably!

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