I had the opportunity to facilitate a conversation with over 60 women business owners at the NAWBO Leadership Conference last month about their feelings regarding time. 

What is your biggest challenge with time? 

We narrowed the list to six main categories.  They then broke into groups and shared best practices and consistent solutions that work for each of them. Below are the results of real-world solutions, in their own words… not cookie-cutter ideas from the latest time management book.

Photo credit: Snap Happy Photos


Being distracted throughout the day – by going down rabbit holes, putting out fires, and reacting to other people

  • Turn off your phone and notifications
  • Remove yourself from the distraction
  • Block time
  • Headphones, focus music
  • Asking the client to help you prioritize
  • Pomodoro process, set time limits and breaks
  • Time block to keep on task

Feeling a lack of Work/Life Harmony – and the guilt that comes with it

  • Time block to make sure priorities are honored
  • Keep a time log so you can see where the time sucks are. This way you are working from data rather than emotions
  • Simultaneous tasking, task balance, no multitasking
  • Being present – honoring where you are
  • Make a list of To-Dos and check them off, give yourself credit for what you did

Email Black Hole

  • Email productivity – check at noon and 4:00 pm
  • If you are using email as a procrastination activity, do a revenue-generating activity in the block before email, then check the email.
  • Automate some of the repetitive subjects/newsletters and put them in folders so they are not in the way
  • Take work email off your phone

Ineffective Delegation

  • Systemize, create standard operating procedures for everything
  • Delegate, give them the authority to do their job, and get out of the way
  • What, by who, by when? For EVERY task!
  • Make sure they understand
  • Let it go, but remember, you get what you pay for!
  • Zone of genius – know yours and everything else is someone else’s job

Feeling like I’m wearing all the hats / doing all the roles

  • Time block so the priorities are honored
  • Delegating to partner/kids
  • Managing self-expectations – what is really important?
  • Do you have to do it all? Can someone else do it?
  • Identify the BIG goals for the day – do those first
  • Top three priorities for the day, put it on a post-it note, notifications to refocus during the day

Analysis paralysis – having a hard time making decisions

  • Leadership slide – if what you need to know to move forward falls between 30 and 70% percent, then move forward. If less than 30% it is too soon to make a decision, if more than 70% the time to act has passed
  • Done is better than perfect – just act
  • Every decision isn’t a forever thing, try it, and if it doesn’t work out, try something else

Initially, because this is a group of doers – most had a list of 6 – 8 action items to implement after the conference. However, change happens best one action at a time – so I strongly urged each to narrow down their list to ONE next step once they returned home.

What I enjoyed the most at the end of our hour was the confirmation that every business owner in the room was successfully doing many things right, even in the face of various time-related challenges. Running a business, spending quality time with loved ones, and making a positive impact on the community can be demanding. However, realizing that they were all in the same situation and had a built-in support structure to rely on made the journey a bit easier.

If you are seeking assistance in your quest to master time management, consider private coaching sessions with a professional time management coach. Having a partner on the journey is invaluable. Book a call. www.ImpactiveStrategies.as.me/20min