If you're wondering how to improve your time management, you'll find everything you've been looking for in this article. Time management is one of the most important skills in business (and in life, to be honest) but it's also something that a lot of people suck at. You can spend hours digest information on bettering your time management – books, podcasts, Youtube videos,…
However, none of that will help your improve your time management if you don't actually implement it. I've done my fair share of research on this topic and here's the good news: it all boils down to 3 key steps. Let me introduce you to… the CBA principle.
The 3 steps you should know to improve your time management
The CBA principle consists of 3 steps called: Catch, Batch and Act. With these steps you'll improve your time management exponentially if you implement it correctly.
1. C is for Catch
The first step to managing your time better is knowing exactly what you need to do in the time you have. Here’s the thing: I’m a notebook lover. I buy them myself, I get gifted notebooks,… But when you’ve got a bunch of different notebooks, you start writing your to-do's and brilliant ideas in different notebooks and then you lose sight of what exactly you need to do.
So first things first: if you want to improve your time management, it's important you create an overview. Otherwise your to-do's are floating around in your brain pinging around like a pinball machine. Save yourself the unnecessary stress by keeping your to-do's in one place!
How do I implement this specifically? I have an Excel sheet that I call my master work file, and I ‘catch' everything I need to in there. It has improved my time management amazingly. And if you're on the go and a to-do or idea pops up? Make a note to yourself to add it to your master file.
So in short, step 1 is: catch everything in the same place.
2. B is for Batch
Okay, so, have you caught all of your tasks in one place? Then it's time to get started on the second step to improving your time management. And that step consists of batching your tasks. You probably know how important it is to have a good ‘work flow'.
Imagine this: you’re sitting at your desk writing emails one minute, having client phone calls the next, and then moving on to recording your podcast all in the space of a few hours. It’s unlikely that you can reach that ‘flow’ state where you’re in the zone and working really productively – it takes time for your brain to catch up every time you switch tasks.
Want to improve your time management? Well obviously, otherwise you wouldn't be here… Batching will be the way to go for you. For example: taking phone calls. If I wouldn't batch them, I'd be on the phone from 9am t'ill 7pm and at the end of my day, I wouldn't have gotten anything done. So I decided to work smarter not harder and I did so by creating an online calendar where people can book a call with me during a certain time slot.
Of course it doesn't only apply to calls, but batching is also ideal if you want to improve your time management when it comes to admin, social media content or even sending emails. Batch similar activities together and focus fully on those for that time. You’ll make the most of being in flow, and use your time efficiently.
3. A is for Act
The final step to bettering your time management is Act. Have you ever scribbled down a to-do list when you’re busy with something else, and when you look at it later, you wonder what in heaven's name you actually need to do? It’s just a list of random words like ‘garage’ and ‘mom’ and ‘email’. Just looking at the list overwhelms you.
Do yourself a favour and make those to-do list items actionable. Write down your tasks using actionable verbs with as much detail as possible: ‘call the garage to make an appointment for X car on Y day at Z time’. That way, it will become a lot easier for you to actually get through that list without wasting time decoding your own thoughts and scribbles. Don’t write sh*tty to-do lists, people. You’re just making your life more difficult.
There you have it: the CBA principle. The secret to improving your time management and yes, it really is that simple!
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