Time is measured in the same minutes and seconds for everyone, and yet, we all experience it differently: Daily activity, outlook, and life experience all play a part in how we perceive time.
Measured time and how you perceive its passing can make all the difference in the success of your business. After all, it’s time—not capital—that makes up the bulk of your upfront investment in a direct sales business.
With that in mind, let’s look at three important areas of time management and some smart apps to help you master each one—so you can improve your 24-hour output:
- Organization: De-Cluttering the Mind and the Desk
Fundamentally, time management is no more than an exercise in organization. Arranging tasks into prioritized to-do lists (aka task management) is a simple way to make the most of your time; it also relieves stress by freeing your brain from the clutter of line-item tasks, which allows you to think strategically and focus on completing more of your most important steps in short order.
The right apps take this de-cluttering further by also freeing your desk of sticky notes and scrap paper.
APP: REMEMBER THE MILK (LINK)
Don’t be deceived by its simple downhome name and claim (Get to-dos out of your head), this app can go beyond simple task-listing; it also uses modern organizational tools like tagging and locations to make your diverse reminders searchable, time-sensitive, and spatially aware. This app is something that can grow with you as you organize your way to a strong business.
APP: MY LIFE ORGANIZED (LINK)
The name of this app makes a bold claim—and delivers on it. Its flexibility sets it apart, which means you can really make it your own. At its heart are outlining tools for improved planning, followed by plain lists for effective doing. The only downside? It comes with a bit of a learning curve.
Bonus: More enterprise or “team” solutions like popular project management systems Trello and Asana also work as robust task management platforms for individuals or small groups. Trello’s blog, Across the Board, is a particularly good resource if you like a steady stream of time management tips and ideas.
- Measurement: Quantification for Clear-Cut Insight
Once you have a view into the goals you’re pursuing, the tasks that will get you there, and the subtasks to ensure you do it right—you may have arrived at Nirvana. Then again, time still often finds a way to slip through the cracks. If that’s the case for you, then your next step is to take a closer look at the time-hit of your habits to identify corrective action. And, yes, there’s an app for that—just not a mobile one.
APP: RESCUETIME (LINK)
If you spend the majority of your work time in front of a computer, RescueTime is the obvious choice for getting a clear breakdown of your time usage. It will track and illuminate your productivity, spotlighting your distractions, helping out with goal-setting, and even blocking the sites that commonly derail you. If you don’t use the computer much, you can use less detailed apps like Moment or Instant to track general usage on your smartphone.
- Focus: Let’s Talk Technique
Simply knowing when and where you lose concentration won’t necessarily grant you instant focus. We all know this, because FOMO-fueled distractions are the defining characteristics of our age. The simplest and most well-established time management framework for forcing focus is the Pomodoro Technique, and—surprise—we’re featuring an app that helps you use it.
APP: FOCUS BOOSTER (LINK)
Another desktop app, Focus Booster, gives you Pomodoro’s timer functionality and integrates it with your workspace, timesheets, and an insightful dashboard report. Looking for a simple mobile Pomodoro timer? There are plenty, and the similarly named Focus Keeper is a popular one.
APP: FOCUS@WILL (LINK)
Now for something entirely different! Rather than simply encouraging you to block out distractions, the Focus@Will program provides a focus-inducing atmosphere through neuroscience-backed music. The musical scores of this unique service work to keep your mind in a state of flow (see below) by avoiding the twin focus pitfalls of distraction and habituation.
Bonus: It just wouldn’t be right to talk about focus, productivity, and success without mentioning Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s research on flow. If you haven’t yet, you can catch his TED Talk here.
The world of time management is a big one, but it may be more manageable than you think. With the right tools, you can nail down the blend of technology and technique that works for you, and you’ll find yourself building a more efficient, enjoyable ASEA business.
Pro Tip: For those of you who have already mastered to-dos, measurement, and focus, we extend a next-level invitation into advanced automation. Tools like Zapier, Workflow, and Trello Power-Ups offer an optimized means for syncing up multiple tools and bundling multi-step processes into automatic actions tailored to your most common needs. Also be sure to look for available integrations in any apps we’ve mentioned above.
All right. Enough “tock”—go and find what makes your business tick!