It’s April. And that means, well — it’s PROCRASTINATION season.
Our phones are ringing off the hook, and our inboxes are clogged with Chicago people who are looking for tax help. Fortunately, our business owner clients (usually) are a little more ahead of the game.
But just because you manage a Chicago business, that doesn’t mean you are managing your time WELL.
You see, every day you work, time is going to work against you.
What could you do better with your time? How are you wasting time? Who is wasting your time? What days of the week normally crunch your time? Why are you taking the time to read this article?
The answer to that last question is simple: I want to help you best utilize your time.
How Chicago Business Owners Can Win The Day Through Micro Tasks
“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” – William Penn
You know those big projects that haunt you on a week-to-week basis? Although you manage to get them done, they often come with a dose of procrastination and a heap of stress.
But if any given project looms over you in such a way, try breaking it up into micro tasks.
For instance, if you are giving a presentation at the end of the week and wonder when you’ll get to work on the presentation — don’t get frustrated when your busy schedule, filled with meetings, takes over your timeline.
With micro tasks, there is cause for hope. It essentially breaks up pieces of your larger task (in this case, a presentation) into smaller tasks in between meetings and other time-sucking parts of your day.
The following is an example of what that might look like:
9am – Outline speech
10am – Highlight talking points
10:30am – Meeting
11:30am – Meeting
1pm – First speech run-through
2pm – Meeting
2:30pm – Strategize your presentation
3pm – Meeting
4pm – Edit, send to boss, rehearse once more
You see, when you break your big project up into smaller tasks throughout the day, it becomes more manageable.
Another strategy to save time for yourself from week-to-week is to schedule blocks of “project time” on your calendar so that no one schedules over your focus time.
This may help you get in a rhythm to say, “Every Tuesday morning from 8-10am, I work on upcoming presentations.” Friday mornings could be reserved for an hour to write thank you notes to business contacts or new clients from earlier in the week.
Conflicts will certainly arise and eat into those blocks, but the longer you have time blocked off on a consistent basis … others will start to schedule around those focus times.
Side Note: In an effort to break the monotony of your everyday routine, it might help to do certain blocks of time at a different location. Maybe you start to rehearse presentations in the conference room down the hall, or utilize Friday mornings outside on a park bench to write thank you notes. You get the idea.
It’s also important to schedule these time blocks right away when new projects arise. If your boss tells you on Monday he wants to see a report on Friday, immediately block off an hour on Wednesday morning to devote to the report.
While this is an efficient way to approach your schedule, it does take time to develop a rhythm. Give yourself some grace in the first few weeks of implementing these tips.
But recognize that micro tasking and scheduling time for yourself is not selfish. It’s actually making your own oxygen mask the first priority, so that you can then help others around you.
I make time every week to write these articles so that you can grow as a Chicago business leader. It’s one of my favorite time slots every week, and I hope you can soon create your own favorite pockets of time.
It’s worth every minute.
Feel free to share this post with any of your Chicago business associates or clients you know who could benefit from our assistance. While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for families and business owners.
A.L. Taylor and Associates, PC