Today I’m excited to bring to you a guest blog from my friend Pauline Delany who is a Harmony Life Stylist. Pauline works with female entrepreneurs whose growth is limited by lack of organisation, leverage and systems. She helps them to instead implement these things to give them more structure and free up their time so they can create more revenue and have more freedom while running a high level business.

Organising your schedule by Pauline Delany

I believe that one of the most important components of running a business is organisation. Without organisation, you have chaos.

Imagine you are running your own home-based business. Perhaps you are a virtual assistant. And you have a messy office. Invoices all over the place. All of your appointments are in your head, or on post-it’s around the office. Your marketing is haphazard, and you are very much an ” in the moment” type of person, who has no written plan, and is very reactive as things crop up during the day. So, rather than having a time-plan mapped out, you get up in the morning, look at what needs to be done, choose the task that looks the easiest and quickest to complete, and get started on it. But, halfway through, you hear an email notification, and jump into your inbox, only to discover that you have just landed another client. Woo hoo! Yay for you. So, you switch over to your email, send them some info, give them a call, and get so distracted by your sudden success that the original task you began is now half-finished and forgotten. And this is a pattern you repeat over and over again in different variations throughout your working day.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. Organising your schedule can be quite simple and painless, and can have a huge impact on your efficiency, productivity and your time management in your business.

So let’s now imagine a different scenario. You are still a virtual assistant, but, each evening, you look at what needs to be done the following day, and make a priority list of tasks to complete. Then you schedule them into time blocks throughout your day. For example 9-9.30 may be dealing with emails. Then 9.30-11.30 could be completing a project for a client. The key is to actually schedule your time. Then concentrate on one task at a time, rather than trying to multi-task, and spread your attention and focus over several different tasks at once. Did you know that it actually takes 40% longer to complete a task if you try to divide your attention between several different tasks at once? That’s a lot of wasted time, isn’t it?

And for every interruption, it can take between 6 and 21 minutes for you to refocus and get back to what you were doing. So, turn off your email notifications, don’t answer the phone, and especially steer clear of Facebook while you are in your “work-zone”. You can work quite intensely for 30 minutes or so, and then have a 5 minute break and refocus. This will allow you to be much more engaged with the task you are working on, and you can work at a fast pace that is very efficient for this limited time. So you can get much more done, in less time!

The upshot of all of this is that you can either take on more work or clients easily without adding a huge time-burden, or, alternatively, because you are more efficient, you can now achieve so much more in a shorter time frame, so can have some guilt free time to spend doing whatever you wish! How does that sound?