Dot Bekker - Entrepreneur Strategist

Dot Bekker works with Entrepreneurs to build, develop and grow their business success with proven strategies.

Is it time?

Time, its the only thing there is never enough of and not something anyone can give you, nor is it something you can get back when it is gone!

It's that time of year when we think of the time gone by and make ourselves promises of what the year ahead will bring and truly it is more important than we think.  Time is our most important asset next to health, well without health time changes our perspective, either we know we don't have enough of it left or we feel each moment painfully.  You may disagree with that statement and say money is more important, I can guarantee many dead rich people will disagree with you!

Enough of that rambling, time is important to each of us and even more so to Entrepreneurs.   A large number people become Entrepreneurs because they want to use their time more meaningfully, enjoy more free time or have the flexibility to spend their time as they choose.  Yet many get trapped in their business and allow it to overcome them or they get too flexible and relaxed and their business flounders or fails.  Finding the right balance is essential.

Everyone is different and while one strategy works for some people it really just doesn't for others, trust me I've tried all of the ones I will outline below and use most of them in combination to suit my personal needs.  Of course there are so many tools today that there really is no excuse for not being able to keep a clear schedule or managing actions that you need to take.

I'm an old fashioned girl, I like to work with pen and paper every now and then but when I say write, of course this is easily enough done on tablet or computer/laptop too.  So let's look at the tools that I use.    

  • I can't live without my 6 weeks at a glance whiteboard on it I write all my appointments and notes about family committments too so that at a glance I can see what everyone is doing.  When I'm planning a large project I also use the 'Year to View' Calendars to map out deadlines.  Some of you may use project tools for this, that's great, for me that's just too much detail ... unless I specifically need it.
  • Naturally the Calendar is essential, I use MS Outlook Calendar (I know it's not used much anymore but I've been using it for so long) and with this tool I can colour code my activities and those of my family - work, personal, husband, voluntary work, travel, etc., all of this again helps me see what I'm looking for at a glance.  Regrettably the app doesn't convert the colours, which does annoy me. Google and Outlook calendars are easy to use as well and convert well to mobile devices.
  • Scoring Sessions - these are sessions I hold weekly usually on Sunday evening to plan my week ahead or at the latest Monday mornings.  I'm going to write a blog about how I recommend planning scoring sessions but they are my planning and focus for the week ahead and review of the week gone by.  This holds me fully accountable for my actions and when I find too many things being passed into the next week I know I went off track the preceeding week.
  • Alarms - I'm one of those people who is often late ... not because I disrespect the other person but usually because I became wrapped up in something and just lost track of time.  So I've learnt to estimate when I need to get ready, travel or call someone and set my phone alarm to remind me and jerk me out of my concentration.  This has helped in two ways, one I no longer watch the clock every few minutes being totally distracted from my activity, secondly I now have enough time to get ready or prepare and be at a call or meeting on time, setting a much better impression and my focus when I'm working is more directed as I'm not distracted - the phone does it all.  It's also great to keep me on time at consultations or meetings so I don't lose track of time - time is money!  It's so simple, I'm not sure why I never thought of it before, I just set out at the beginning of the day my plans for the day by time, set the alarms where I need them and I'm on time.
  • Memo messages or notes.  You know those great ideas that come to you when you're driving the car or in the shower or just before you go to bed and fall asleep, if you think you'll remember them in the morning - good luck - I've forgotten so many great ideas and I'm not certain they ever came back.  But I've learnt to use a memo app on my phone or I always have a pad on my desk and freqently look at the ideas.  So many of these ideas are generated from the centre of yourself and true creativity, don't lose them.

There are a number of apps on Apple and Google Play, you're bound to find one to suit your needs and there are new ones all the time. What's most important is that you can access your calendar or notes from anywhere and saving some of these things to the cloud means that you are never without your calendar, especially if your technology fails.

Do share your favourite time saving tips with others here and enjoy the new year in good time.

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Saturday, 18 November 2017