One of the main keys to time management is setting goals in a way that enables you to track your progress and ensures that they get done. Part of doing that is to set “timely” goals. A timely goal is a goal that provides a time limit to achieve the result you want, as well as providing a time estimate for how long you’ll need to work to achieve the result you want.
Here are a few ideas on how to accomplish this:
Tip #1 – Divide big goals into small tasks
If your goal is to create a six-figure publishing business, write down all the steps in chronological order that you’ll need to take through publishing. Some of the steps may include outlining, character development, plot development, graphic design, editing, formatting, and a whole lot of other things. Separate each of these things out from the result as different parts of the deliverable.
Tip #2 – Create your timeline
Once you put all the tasks you need to do in chronological order, you can start to develop a timeline for your project. For now, just put it in the order that it should be completed without any dates attached to it. Remember to note where bottlenecks could happen. For example, what’s the general turn-around time for your VA, your artists, and designers?
Tip #3 – Decide whether to learn or delegate
When it comes to building your business, you may want to do it all yourself, but you may not even know-how. What do you need to learn so that you can accomplish your desired result? What do you need to let someone else do instead to achieve not only a great result but a timely result?
Tip #4 – Realistically figure out your time
For some things that need to be done, you’ll have an easy way to estimate time because they take how long they take. For example, I know that it takes me anywhere between 2 and 4 hours every morning to get a newsletter ready for you. So I plan my days accordingly and don’t schedule anything else before noon unless I have to. Other ways to estimate your time that are a little more realistic than guessing are timing yourself doing a task, or looking up estimates online of how long it should take to do things.
Tip #5 – Talk to the experts
When you determine that you are going to delegate or outsource, remember to ask the experts how long it takes them. Ask them what their “turn around” time is. In some cases, you may find that you need to be on a waiting list. This can be a good thing because it may force you to work within their timeline, which might force you to stick to the time you’ve set for your project.
Tip #6 – Build in contingency time
You wouldn’t build a house without a contingency fund, so why would you even think that nothing can go wrong when your timing out a project? Software glitches, downed internet connections, or even the unavailability of a team member when you need them can play havoc with the time needed to finish a project. Always build in contingency time for unexpected delays so that you’re not stressing when deadline day approaches and you’re nowhere near ready.
Depending on the project, this process may be complicated or straightforward. Just remember that in most cases, you can adjust and tweak to improve your use of time as you go through life to fit in with how you do things now. The important thing is that you always work hard to attach a realistic time limit and deadline to every goal you make.