Five Easy Ways to Get Back Control of Your Time

I think it’s easy for us as small business owners to get so wrapped up in our own work that we find little time for ourselves.  So it’s’ with that, that I’m happy to welcome Debby Dowling, the creator of Wedding Pro Newsletter, to the Illuminate Blog. Today, Debby sheds light on how you can find time for yourself once again.

As a small business owner you have tons of demands on your time.  You have to market, sell, and manage expenses not to mention organize your schedule, meet clients, and actually do the work.

With so many personal and professional demands on our time, one of the hardest things to do can often be managing your time more effectively. So if you need some help in gaining the edge on time management, here are five easy ways to get back control of your crazy schedule.

1. Identify Your Goals

It’s never a good idea to run a business by the seat of your pants.  Instead, look at what you need to accomplish over the next year, then break it down by month, week, and even day.  Then start building out your schedule. Setting goals will help you prioritize as well as give structure to your day. Because if you know what needs to be done, it’s a lot easier to stay focused and productive.

2. Set a Schedule & Stick to It

How many times have you reached the end of the day and realized the day has totally gotten away from you? That’s because you didn’t stick to your schedule.  It’s one of the biggest problems in time management.

Solution?  Identify what needs to get done and build your schedule around it.  Allocate time for each specific task and stick to it.  If you give yourself thirty minutes a day for emails, that’s all you get.  Otherwise, you’re stealing time from your other tasks.

And don’t forget to set aside some wiggle room!  Things come up and you need to set aside some time to fit them in.

3. Use the Right Tools

There are tons of tools out there to help with time management.  With everything from smart phones to old fashioned day timers, you need to find the best methods to manage and track your schedule that work for you.  It doesn’t matter if a phone cost $500 and has every time management tool on there if you don’t use it.

I personally rely on my smart phone and a white board.  Because even though I love technology, there’s something about seeing my goals and schedule right in front of my face every day that helps to keep me on track.

4. Outsource!

Small business owners often think they need to be experts in everything.

This is a tall order and rarely can one achieve expert status across the board. While things such as designing a blog, sending out newsletters, or figuring out how to increase your website’s search ranking may seem easy, teaching yourself how and managing it can be a huge time sucker. Trying to handle all this on your own might not be worth the cost savings and, in fact, may cost you more in earnings lost. My point: Hire people to help you with tasks that you know are draining your time and taking away from billable hours.

5. Good Enough Is Good Enough

If you’ve never read a book by Dan Kennedy, I suggest you do.  He’s one great marketer, but even more importantly; this guy is ruthless with his schedule.  The one thing he always teaches is that sometimes good enough is good enough.  Don’t stress about perfectly packing each and every one of your marketing items for your next bridal show.  Just make sure it gets there safe and intact.

That doesn’t mean don’t do it right.  Rather focus your efforts on perfection only on the things that really matter.

At the end of the day, even if you implement all of the above, effective time management can still be elusive if you over estimate your time and schedule too many things. After all, there are only so many hours.  But, by using your time effectively and following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to getting more out of your day.

Debby Dowling is the creator of Wedding Pro Newsletter, an automatic biweekly newsletter service for wedding planners that simplifies your marketing in less than 15 minutes a month so you reach more brides and earn more money … even if you don’t know a thing about marketing. Sign up for her newsletter & download her free report, “Nine Ways to Improve Your Marketing…and Make More Money in 2011” at and follow her on twitter @debbydowling. Learn more tips on Debby’s blog and follow her on twitter @debbydowling.

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. She is the exclusive wedding pr columnist to wedding marketing journal WedLock magazine and is a highly sought after speaker in the wedding industry. She loves ruffle table runners and Royal Wedding Tchotchkes. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you with your wedding marketing and wedding pr, please contact us today.

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Meghan Ely

Regarded as one of the leading wedding publicists in the US, Meghan Ely combines in-the-trenches event experience with a love of wedding PR. She has earned coverage for her clients with the New York Times, People, Brides, Bridal Guide, The Knot, Martha Stewart Weddings, CNN Money, and more. She is a WeddingPro Expert and long-time contributor to and