I don’t have time.” How often have you said this? If you are an entrepreneur or on a verge to becoming one, chances are that you said it more often than not. Motivated to take control of your life, you started reading about time management and have tried everything from the to-do list to the electronic or paper-based day planner to schedule your day. Still, you’ve been wondering, “Why do I still feel I can’t get everything done?”
Sorry to break it to you but you probably didn’t understand the most essential thing: what time is. There are two types of time: clock time and mind time.
In clock time, seconds, minutes, hours and day pass equally. There are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day.
In mind time, however, everything is relative. Time flies when you’re enjoying what you’re doing and drags when you’re doing your taxes. You can execute a task in 15 minutes when you’re full of energy and in 45 minutes when you’re too tired.
The reason time management tools don’t work is that these tools can only manage clock time but you live in both times.
The key to a successful time management is to be fully aware of these two types of time to find out how to manage a lifestyle that depends on more patterns than the technical aspect of a task.
“Time management isn’t about scheduling every minute with things you’re ‘supposed’ to do,” says Laura Vanderkam, time management expert and author of 168 hours and What the most successful people do before breakfast. “It’s about making mindful choices so you spend more time on the things you want to and less on the things you don’t!”
The experts suggest five techniques to become the master of your own time:
1. Try tracking your time
“If you want to spend your time better, the best thing you can do is figure out how you’re spending it now. Often, we think we have no time for various things (e.g. that side business, or if you have the side business, the rest of life) but this is probably not true. There are 168 hours in a week. If you work 40 at your main job and 15 on your side business, and sleep 8 per night (56 per week) that leaves 57 hours for other things.”
2. Monitor your energy
“Figure out when you have the most energy, and figure out how to do the things that are most important to you then. It’s hard to make good business decisions after a long day of work. Most people are fresher in the morning, which means getting up earlier.”
3. Take care of yourself
“Sleep and exercise don’t take time, they make time. Often, whatever problems you’ve been struggling with will resolve themselves after a good night’s sleep or a workout.”
4. Build space into your schedule
Don’t say yes to too many things. You won’t be able to seize better opportunities when they come up.
5. Use bits of time
“5 minutes is enough to make a quick phone call, reach out to a potential contact, or psych yourself up by listening to a favorite song. Those are all better ideas than what we usually do with a spare 5 minutes (scroll around randomly on the phone, again).”