Do you suffer from running late for meetings, appointments and deadlines?
Time management can be a big challenge for the small business owner. We have so many demands on our time that it needs careful planning and the willpower to resist the urge to procrastinate by spending time on tasks that are not proactive or useful.
But we also need to value each other’s time. Being late to a meeting with a potential client can create a bad impression as it can make someone think you don’t respect them and it causes stress. Stress for you because you know you are going to be late and stress for your associate as they will have a demanding schedule too. It upsets me when I’m left waiting!
My friend Jen has spent her whole lifetime being late…very late…for everything. There is Greenwich Mean Time and then there is Jen Time which runs approximately 30 to 40 minutes later. Suddenly she has started arriving on time which has thrown all of us out of synch (we use to lie to her about the time to be ready)! We put up with it because she is our friend, but it is lovely not having to wait for her anymore 🙂
However, never fear, it’s not life threatening, there is a cure! We have a 10 step program to put you on the road to recovery:
- Know That You Have a Problem – knowing that you have a time management problem is the first step to changing your behavior. Although it is typical to be late for work or a social event on occasion, it is something that should not be happening on a daily or a weekly basis. If it is, it is time for you to admit that you may have a problem.
- Decide To Change – wanting to change is vital. Make the decision that you don’t want you and the others in your life to suffer the consequences of this disease anymore. Set goals for yourself such as showing up to meetings on time for a whole month. It does get easier with practice.
- Be Strong and Consistent – it is important that you don’t give up right away or when you are faced with complications. Setting goals simply isn’t enough; you need to be strong and stick with them.
- One Step At A Time – creating a To-Do List for yourself is an easy approach to properly manage your time. Outline what you need to do throughout the day. Be sure to list your tasks in order of importance and make sure it is in bite size chunks so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
- Get Help – managing your time is important, but it can be hard to get used to, especially right away. You may want to consider getting help by using time management tools to your advantage. Most mobile phones and email/calendar programs come with alarm clocks, reminders, task lists and so much more!
- Learn To Say No – “No” is important! There are times where you may not be able to refuse a project or task, but try to not take on more than you can feasibly manage. If you must, look into using outside help. In the home, this outside help can come from a housecleaner. In business this could come in the form of a Virtual Assistant!
- Get Organised – organisation is key to being able to manage your time. If you are unorganised you are likely to waste a large amount of time by searching for items such as mislaid documents, your glasses or car keys.
- Create a Support Network – as in Step 6, if you are overwhelmed, you may want to call for assistance. Build a support network; depending on your needs there are housekeepers, concierge services, bookkeepers and many more. In addition to taking this approach, there are individuals and companies who specialise in teaching others how to effectively manage their time and stay organised.
- Take Control – do you have to meet face-to-face? Can you book in a conference call using Skype or telephone? Having a virtual meeting can save you the travel time and fuel giving you more space to complete your To-Do List. Think of other ways you could streamline your day.
- Communicate – if being late is unavoidable then call those you are meeting, apologise and give them an estimate of when you will be there. This is common courtesy and will save your associate or date from feeling abandoned and cross! When you get there – apologise profusely and please have a good reason!
Good luck, let us know how the 10 steps to recovery work for you!