Why do we need to claim back time? Well, our most precious commodity is time. There never seems to be enough. Inevitably, our go-to phrase is “I don’t have time”. Never more said than in relation to those things that allow us to keep strong and healthy, or even to be more productive in less time.

Humans are creatures of habit. We get ourselves in to some deep grooves with practices that do not help us manage our time appropriately or keep us fit and well. What are the things that you do that eat up your time? Things that stop you from doing what you really want to, and instead, you do things that you feel you shouldbe doing?

Time and the small business

Small business owners and entrepreneurs can flit from one task to the next. In my coaching practice, I work with many small business owners, and we often look at how to streamline things and reduce the feeling of overwhelm which tells us we just don’t have time to fit everything in.

We all have the same amount of hours in the day. So why is it some people seem more efficient than us? Why is is that some people are able to find time to work out and eat well, as well as get their work done and spend time with friends and family?

Is there a magic recipe to claim back time?

Not really. But self-awareness is key. Knowing how you’re giving your time away and where to is the first step. Brainstorming is a great idea. Even monitoring your days on a half hourly basis to see how you’re really spending your time is fantastic for gaining insight and reining things in.

Here’s some simple tips that you can start to action right now. Hopefully they will make you think about how you can restructure things and claim back more time for yourself.

1. Don’t over fill your diary.

If you schedule one meeting or appointment after another, how can you expect to get other things done? We need gaps. We need time with nothing in it, to allow us to get other things done. Saying no is something many of us could do with getting better at. Yes, it’s lovely to catch up with friends. Yes, meeting with new people who will open our horizons or be great business connections is a must. But how often do you need to be doing this? Once or twice a week can be great, but once a day is not so great. Be objective, and keep an eye on things. Say no unless you really want to. Don’t be afraid of saying you’d love to, but could you book it in for a few weeks’ time when you’re more available? Plan ahead!

2. Have a morning routine.

It’s absolutely true that we’re refreshed and more productive at the beginning of the day. So having a sound morning routine when you can harness that energy makes total sense. Some people like to reserve their first tasks each morning for something that aids their wellbeing, like meditation, exercise, reading, or just sitting with some tea. Others feel that is the prime time to get their most important tasks done so that they can be ahead of the game and feel there’s more time available to them the rest of the day. Experiment. Read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod for some inspiration, but always interpret such things in your own way and find what works best for you.

3. Set boundaries.

When you work for yourself, it’s common to think that any time is fair game for getting work done. The result tends to be that we rarely get downtime. Work seeps in everywhere and we’re always ‘on’. We need to set boundaries around working hours. To establish the best times for working, and equally, the best times for switching off. It’s also worth considering how much are you connected to your phone. We need healthy relationships with our devices and to monitor our usage. Looking at our phones first thing in the morning and last thing at night does not put us in a good position. On a positive note, being stricter with ourselves in terms of when we are ‘on’ and ‘off’ allows us to become less stressed and more productive.

4. Choose how and when to exercise and commit to it.

Exercise is vital in so many ways. It’s essential for our wellbeing and having a longer, healthier life. But getting out and exercising when we’re drowning in work is often the last thing we want to do. So we put it off. To change this, we need to create new habits. Deciding what kind of exercise you want to do – preferably one you enjoy – is the first step. Now work out when you want to do it. Are you a first thing in the morning person? Do you work out after the school run? In the middle of the day? At home? Outside? At the gym? Work out these finer details and then see your exercise as a reward. A way to look after yourself and take some time out that will boost your productivity and claim you back time rather than taking it away.

5. Delegate.

This is a tough one, but without a doubt the best way to claim back time. Whether we are talking about hiring a VA to help with admin tasks, or someone to help keep your house clean and do the ironing. All these things are a win if you can afford to do them, and will give you more time for all the above!! So have a think – What do you resent spending your time on? What could someone else do more efficiently and usually in less time? Take the plunge, you will love the feeling, I guarantee!

So over the next few days, think about how you spend your time. Think about where you waste time, and maybe try out a few of our tips to claim it back! And if you want find out more about our tips and tricks on this subject, check out our Time module – part of our 12 month programme.