Having twelve children taught me a few things, and how to get a lot done is one of them. In my search for information on time management over the years, it was sometimes frustrating to find that someone else’s methods didn’t work for me. Most time management books seemed to be written by guys in suits and I was a mom at home struggling to keep my head above water.
When starting an online business a few years ago, I felt that my time management skills needed to be sharpened and once again I turned to books in the business section. I spent a good amount of time beating myself up because I couldn’t seem to fit my crazy schedule into someone else’s boxes.
I continued to move forward in growing my business and finally realized that the time management skills I had learned as the mother of a (very) large family were the very same skills that would help me succeed in business. Flexibility, consistency and the ability to fit tasks in where needed, along with a big dose of commitment would stand me in good stead.
There is a time and place for longer periods of focused effort on tasks. Having goals and action steps is crucial to progress. But often the reality of our busy lives keeps us frozen in procrastination because we just can’t find the time to get certain tasks done.
That’s where ten minutes can make a difference.
Here are ten tips for better time management in just ten minutes:
1. Harness the power of ten minutes. Set a timer and spend ten minutes on a task, either related to something you’ve really wanted to do or something you’ve been dreading. When the timer buzzes you can either stop or keep going, but either way you got started. Knowing you have ten minutes keeps you focused and productive.
2. Realize that ten minutes every day adds up to sixty hours in a year. What could you accomplish by working on a project for sixty hours?
3. Doing ten minutes’ worth every day gives you an incremental feeling of success….every day. Spread the love, enjoy the feeling of productivity every day. It won’t be long before that feeling spills over into other areas.
4. Ten minutes makes it possible to fit tasks in. Spend ten minutes scheduling Social Media posts, writing part of a blog article or optimizing SEO on past posts, all between finishing lunch and loading the dishwasher. This is how I’ve managed to get a lot done over the years!
5. Ten minutes removes the “overwhelm factor.” The thought of spending seven hours on a project, staying up till the wee hours, is enough to make you put it off indefinitely. The truth is, anybody can find ten minutes. It might take you longer to get the project done, but it beats thinking about it and dreading it and never getting around to it.
6. One key to a productive and focused ten minutes is to make it easy. If you have to stop and gather tools for a job you’re more likely to put it off. Have your desk set up so you can find supplies easily. Keep the document you’re working on in a folder on your computer desktop. Fill the printer’s paper tray so you can print receipts quickly. Spend one of your ten-minute slots doing preparations like these.
7. Ten minutes sounds easy so you’re more likely to do it. This is when the timer comes in especially handy. Start the dreaded task and tell yourself “only ten minutes!” You’ll be surprised how the mental mountain turns into a molehill.
8. Make a list of some annoying little chores that are buzzing in the back of your mind, always bugging you because they need to be done. You can make a big dent in things like cleaning off the top of the refrigerator and filing papers in ten minutes. Do one of these several times a week and before you know it you’ll be all caught up.
9. Purposely slice up a bigger task over several days—or weeks. Spending ten minutes every day working on your taxes or decluttering one drawer in the kitchen adds up. Then plan to reward yourself every single time. Think “after I clean this drawer I get to browse Pinterest for ten minutes!” or whatever is a nice little treat for you.
10. Spend ten minutes a day each on different tasks to move forward in several areas. Make sure that some of those ten-minute slots are spent doing things that get you closer to your goals, not just maintenance tasks. What if you spent ten minutes a day writing a book? How much would you get done in three months? Six months? One thing is sure, spending the six months waiting for the “perfect time” to spend two hours a day writing your book means that you’ll get zero done.
Let’s face it, putting things off usually feels bad. Completing dreaded tasks feels really good. Using the power of ten minutes is an easy way to get them checked off your list and start great momentum towards your goals. Anybody can find ten minutes, and now you know how to harness those minutes for better time management.
Charlotte Siems is a happy wife, mom, Master T-Tapp Trainer, teacher, speaker and author. Her story of losing over 100 pounds with T-Tapp has encouraged thousands of people all over the world. She specializes in making home management and T-Tapp “doable” for real people and real life. She is the homeschooling mother of twelve children, five of whom are still living at home in Oklahoma, and "Minky" to four grandchildren. Charlotte writes about family life and T-Tapp at www.CharlotteSiems.com