When I worked with my Virtual Assistant clients, the first thing I would have them do is spend three days writing down everything they do and how long it takes to do them. I mean EVERYTHING. Every phone call, every email that is written or responded to, everything. After the three days are up, we would spend some time going over the list; then we make a plan of all the things I can take off his or her plate.
Now, I do not expect you spend three days writing everything down; but, I do encourage you to sit down for 20-30 minutes writing down a list of all the things you are responsible for and how long it takes you to do them. After you’ve done this, ask yourself some questions:
- Is doing this the best use of my time?
- What are my biggest time wasters?
- Am I doing the things I absolutely love doing? Or, am I doing the things I think I “have” to do or “should” be doing?
- What tasks can I delegate?
- How am I spending my free time?
- Does this activity reflect my personal values and desires?
- Are there any areas that I can cut from my schedule that will free up more time to do other things?
- How much time do I spend time surfing the web or watching television? Can I scale down on these or other activities that will not disturb my overall quality of life?
- Am I willing to get up earlier (or staying up later) garner more time for more important things?
By the time you finish this exeercise, you will have a clearer vision of those things that are draining you of your time and energy. Then, once you have an idea of your specific time wasters, go back over the list and weed out all the “little things” that you can easily delete or delegate. You may be surprised by how much time you will gain just by weeding out these little things.
In the next installment, I will offer a couple of suggestions for setting priorities and implementing a plan so that you do not get sucked back into those time wasters again.