kambell-kindergarten-first-day-225x300My little Kambell is growing up. She started Kindergarten this year and while that first day was definitely harder on my wife than me, it has still slapped me into a new reality. In the last week, I’ve had to learn an entire new schedule for drop off and pickup, but also a new schedule to get my work done. My time in the office has been cut by 2 hours.

There are 7 things about time that this new routine has shown me that are applicable for business owners and pastors alike.

1. Identify your strengths

We are all gifted in certain areas, yet if you’re like me, you want to do it all. What I’ve learned from this is that you are only stretching yourself thin and doing nothing well. Personally, I am working to identify what I do well and find alternatives for those things that I am less than stellar at.

2. Time limitations increases productivity

For as long as I can remember, I have worked better under pressure. Some would call this procrastination. It’s amazing how quickly I can get stuff done when given an impending deadline. Funny thing is, usually I could have had that done much sooner and off my plate because my perception of the task was much larger than the actual reality. Now that I have fewer hours in my office per day, I am learning to get things done much quicker and prioritize projects.

3. Focus on What Works

I’m a dreamer.

That’s it. My mind is constantly going and I am always seeing things that I could get myself into or do. Now that my time has been limited, I now have to focus on what works for us. Does that mean stop dreaming? No. But I have learned that Evernote is my friend and when a new idea comes to mind, I take note so I can review later.

4. Prioritize Yourself

We’ve all been on the airplane where the safety briefing says to secure your air mask before your child. You are useless to those that need your help if you’re unconscious. Take the time to keep yourself in order so that you can continue to invest in others.

5. Ignore non-critical tasks or pay someone to do them

I like to mow my grass. It’s a good excuse for me to spend 30 minutes quiet. I spend a lot of my time mowing in thought and dreaming (see note 3). There are several of my business owner friends that have told me to hire someone to mow my grass so I can focus my time on the business. The good thing for me is that mowing is time I focus on my business. I do get their point though.

I’m sure there are tasks you are taking on that are much easier handled by someone else who has more expertise in that area (see note 1). Plus, there is an opportunity cost related to that task. If it’s taking your time and effort away from something you’re better at, then it’s actually costing you more.

What tasks are you still trying to manage that could be outsourced?

6. Adapt based on limitations

After I pick up my daughter, I still have a few hours at home that I can work before my wife gets home and its family time. I’ve started teaching my daughter a routine to work on her school work or reading while I’m doing the same. My hope is that this will instill in her habits to use for the future. I’ve had to find ways to continue to get work done, in a new environment with new tools since I’m not at my desk.

7. Laugh at yourself

When push comes to shove, we always think we’re under the gun more than we actually are. I know for me, the timelines and pressure I put on myself are far greater than what’s actually expected of me from others. Its good from time to time to take a few minutes and laugh. I’m glad that I’m very good and turning off and doing nothing. While it only lasts a short while before I get fidgety, there are a few minutes where I can say I’m relaxed. You should too.

It’s only been a week so I’m sure this list will grow and be refined, but I am so glad that I have the opportunity to invest in my kids life.

What are some ways you find to effectively manage your time?