Have you ever worked on a project and took way longer to accomplish it than what it should have? There are a lot of reasons that it can take longer to get things done than what it should take, and one of those reasons is that you didn’t put a time limit on yourself. When you set real-time limits and stick with them, you will find that you can get things done faster and have time left over. In today’s episode, we’ll talk about how setting time limits on your tasks will help you be more productive, but also have time to do other things.
Our culture has conditioned us that we have to work 40+ hours a week to be successful and make a full time income. But, when you work for yourself, if you can get the work done faster, you actually increase your hourly earnings as well as have the ability to take time off without it affecting your paycheck.
How do you get more done? By setting time limits to your work. If you give yourself 2 hours to do a project that only takes 1 hour, you’ll take the whole 2 hours. Why? Because you gave yourself that time.
The truth is, you can always do more and find things to do if you give yourself the time. Think about when you are having company come over. You could literally clean the entire day and still be doing last minute things before the company gets there. So, whether or not it’s cleaning up for company to come over or a task for your job, setting a time limit will really help you get more accomplished.
How do you set time limits? Here are a few things you can do.
Give Yourself a Short Deadline
Even if you have all week to turn something in to the client, back that date up and get it done early. One way to trick yourself with this is to put it on your calendar and not look at the original date you gave the client. When we give our clients a deadline, we usually back it up a couple of days on our calendar if we can. And, if we do find that we are getting in a time crunch, we go back and look at the original date and push things up if we have to.
Set a Timer
Whether you set an actual time or just look at the clock and tell yourself you only have x amount of time, this can be really helpful. Personally, I make it a goal to knock out certain tasks before lunchtime and others by the end of the workday. But, you could just as easily set a timer for 20 minutes and see how much you can get done.
Track Your Time
Also, timing yourself on your tasks can really help you figure out what time limit you should give yourself to do a job. For example, I know that a typical 500 word blog takes me about 30-45 minutes. I’ve been writing for years, so I know how much time any given writing project will take me. For that reason, if I were struggling to stay focused when I was writing, I could set my timer for that length of time and then race the clock. It’s really motivating to race yourself.
Reward Yourself When You Reach Your Time Limit
If you have a reason to clock out early or to get things done sooner, it’s going to help you knock out the work faster. At this time in our business, this looks like taking the weekends off. There were a lot of years where we couldn’t take the weekends off because there were too many responsibilities during the week to get all of our work accomplished. But, now, if we put in solid time during the week, we can take off most weekends completely and when we do work, it’s for a short period of time.
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Until next week, get out there and start breaking the mental chains that are keeping you from producing!