Managing Your Time in 2020

Need some more resolutions for the new year?

I didn’t think so….but I found these in Fast Company Magazine and thought they were pretty good.

Certainly the topic of “time management” (not to be confused with “time billing”) was a hot one for Edge members throughout 2019. In fact, I came to believe that adopting a task management software tool like Trello or Monday or Asana could be the most important piece of technology you can find. I still believe that.

But we have to be careful to keep in mind that just as I wrote in my original “8 Steps” book in 2001, “less is more!” In other words, I want for any time management system you adopt to help make clear what NOT to do, and not just add more items to your “to-do” list.

Do Less

This is where the value of tracking your non-billable time comes in. What are you doing with that time? Does it involve tasks that can be outsourced, delegated or, best of all, eliminated? Here are some others from the article:

  • Quit a responsibility such as a committee, club, or leadership position;
  • Check social media less frequently or cut it out entirely. At a minimum, remove the apps from your phone and set a specific time to engage on your PC once a day;
  • Look for other ways to streamline tasks outside of work. Order groceries (and meals) online. Use 3rd party services for everything (groceries, maid, yard, pool, etc.) And if you think you’re saving money by doing those things yourself, then you may have forgotten that your time is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $200/hr. Are you really paying all those other people that much?

Know Less

I like this wording because it’s so counter-intuitive to what most of us have spent a lifetime thinking—that we have to stay on top of everything! We read news feeds and Facebook feeds, and open browsers with a dozen tabs of our favorite sites…and get notifications to our inbox and check Twitter and if we’re really masochists, perhaps even try to follow politics!

Really? Does all of that impact your business? Does it all impact the only two jobs you have—customer acquisition and doing great design? If not, try letting it go for a while…a long while!

Care Less

I love it! Sure it sounds callous, but think of the emotional drain when you attach the same importance to both meaningful and mundane events. Think about the absurdity that we feel obligated to respond to some email that we didn’t ask for and that is not related to our “two jobs.” Here are the suggestions from Fast Company.

  • Don’t respond to emails from someone you don’t know unless it is directly related to doing business with you;
  • Don’t feel obligated to set up calls with people because they want to connect. Only set up calls if you want to connect.
  • Be available to your clients during “working hours.” Do not feel obligated to respond to messages or texts during weekends or holidays. Inform them of that when first getting started and remind them if necessary.

Forget Less

The idea here is that once you’ve become better at letting go of the trivial or uninvited, that what’s left is really important and you had darn well better take care of it all…when and as promised! In other words, do what you said you would do…a great use of your task management tools.

Regret Less

You’re not likely going to look back on the year and say, “Gee, I really wish I had spent more time answering trivial emails and phone calls that I didn’t even ask for!” But it is common to wish you had really moved forward with projects that were professionally or personally important to you. Or, that you had done things that were good for your health or family or meaningful to you beyond mere business.

Ask yourself which of the things you’re dealing with on a recurring basis will matter to you more 10, 20, or 30 years from now. Take care of those, and you will have fewer regrets.

There you go…five simple thoughts to put you in charge of your time in 2020!

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