We all have the same amount of time in a day. You, me, Oprah, the most successful travel agent you know, we all have the same 24 hours in every day.
Your success ultimately comes down to how you spend your time each day.
You can take a guess at how you’re spending your time but the only way to TRULY, realistically know how you are spending your time – and to take control of it – is track it in real time in black and white.
While it may seem a little tedious, keep in mind you only have to track your time for a week and the insights that you gain from this exercise are PRICELESS!
Following these three simple steps will allow you to take back precious hours of your life and use them to meet your goals!
For one week, keep track of everything you do, every hour of every day.
You can keep track in your Travel Agent Success Planner, on a blank piece of paper or an app on your phone (I recommend using something more portable than your computer because remember, you are tracking ALL your time for this week and you don’t want to try to keep track in your head until you get back to your computer.)
Tuesday, November 3
6:00 am – 7:00 am: woke up, made coffee, completed miracle morning routine
7:00 am – 8:00 am: took the dog for a walk, shower, dressed
8:00 am – 9:00 am: answered emails
At the end of each day, take a few minutes to evaluate how you spent your time and write down your observations.
Some questions to ask yourself: (feel free to add more)
- Am I proud about how I spent my time today?
- What did I do that I could/should have delegated to someone else?
- What did I do because I was bored or procrastinating doing something I should do but don’t want to do (mindless internet scrolling, too much social media, too much TV, etc).
- At what times during the day do I feel most productive?
- At what times during the day do I feel the least productive?
- What surprises me about how I spent my time?
- What do I wish I had more time for?
- What do I absolutely hate doing?
- What did I do today that gave me energy?
- What did I do today that stole my energy and made me feel drained?
At the end of the week, sit down with your time study and your daily observations and answer these questions:
Delegate – what tasks can you delegate to someone else?
A virtual assistant, your spouse/partner, your kids, hired help – whoever, try to find at least 3 tasks you routinely do that you can delegate to someone else.
Delete – what tasks don’t need to be done by you or anyone?
Maybe they are purely time wasters (too much social media, TV, whatever). Or, sometimes there are tasks that appear like they need to be done, but don’t really produce an ROI (return on your investment) in your life or business. For each task ask yourself if it’s really moving the needle and be honest with your responses.
Batch and Block – what similar tasks can you combine and do at the same time?
It is WAY more effective and efficient to batch like tasks so that you can focus on one type of task for a chunk of time and get lots done instead of being scattered and unfocused on multiple different tasks. For example, batch answering emails, or making phone calls or running errands.
Once you figure out what you can batch, next look at when you said you feel most productive and block out time to complete the most important tasks, that require the most focus/energy form you during those productive times. Save the easy, “I could do this in my sleep” tasks for when you have less energy left.
Schedule time for renewal! – take another look at your time study, when did you feel the most drained? When were you the least productive? When did you have to “muscle through” your tasks?
These are the times blocks to schedule some rest and renewal activities. Maybe you take a walk, or take a nap, or read, or catch up with a friend, or pick up that hobby you keep saying you want to make time for! Whatever it is, make it something that FILLS YOU UP rather than depletes you further. This accomplishes two goals – 1 – you are able to work in those things you put off in favor of “work” and 2 – these tasks are going to give you MORE energy, and therefore more TIME to get other things accomplished.
I recommend doing a Time Study like once a quarter. Each time you’ll get new, valuable insight into how you’re spending your time. The investment you make in doing the study and committing to making the changes will pay you back with way more time recovered to invest in your goals!