Skipping meals for many can seem like a sign of productivity and success. In reality, it’s a sign of poor time management that will end up negatively impacting your business.

Are you on a mission to maximize productivity?

Business Insider lists an example of a business owner who wants to maximize productivity.

While this can serve as a great example of what many business owners strive for, did you notice something missing?

I’m assuming this author, much like thousands of other business owners, forgot to add meal times into this schedule. This may not seem like a big deal but it highlights a bigger issue present in the typical business owner’s mindset.

Too often, we think that skipping meals is a sign of dedication and productivity, but contrary to that belief, it can actually be a sign of poor time management.

The reason for that is that we make time for the things that are important. Whether that’s work and business, family or health.

In an ideal world, we would be balanced between all of these categories, but for business owners, work takes priority over these things, whether or not intentional.

Now the average business owner isn’t working 40 hours a week and could even work upward to 70 hours per week. There are still ways that we as business owners can be more efficient with our time so that we can enjoy and care for other things outside of the business.

You may not think skipping meals is a big deal, which alone it’s not. But it leads to bigger issues in your business and personal life that can lead to burnout. We talk about this more in this video.

So how do we eat more meals? Let me explain to you 10 time management tools and tricks so that you can be a healthier and more efficient version of yourself for your team, your business and your family.

Here are 10 steps that, if followed, will ensure time-management works for you:

1. Kick the Habit

Like many poor habits, poor time management is a behavior that has been developed over time and the first step in “kicking the habit” is to recognize that you have a problem and then to make a firm commitment to do something about it.

2. Effective Planning

Similar to other disciplines, effective time management is a discipline that can be learned and mastered over time. The key principle to effective time management is planning. It’s been shown that for every minute you spend in planning, ten minutes are saved in execution.

3. Plan Each Day in Advance

The first step is to plan each day in advance. Whether you use a day planner, PDA device, or electronic calendar, find the tool that works best for you. This time would also include planning your meals so that you can think less about what you are going to eat and actually do it.

4. Develop your Daily Plan by Ranking Tasks

Rank the key tasks that must be accomplished (based on the answers to the two questions above). Once you have listed these vital tasks, then rank them accordingly (usually the ABCD method works well).

Planning your day the night before has other benefits as well. One key benefit is that you will sleep better, as your conscious mind can rest (because you’ve written what must be accomplished and don’t have to worry about remembering every task). Your subconscious mind can then go to work on these issues while you sleep.

5. Block Scheduling

Next, look at your day as blocks of time put together. We call this Block Scheduling. Start with ‘hour’ blocks, then as you get more practice and become more proficient at budgeting your time, you will look at 30-minute blocks of time.

6. Mark Your Calendar with these Blocks of Time:

Some of the most effective time managers look at their days in 15-minute increments. Take the ranked tasks from your list and insert them into the blocks of time on your calendar, starting with the most important task first.

7. Determine what time in the day you will set aside for each task:

Morning time is usually the best time to tackle your most difficult and highest priority tasks. As the day wears on and you wear down, you can then work on the other tasks requiring less mental effort. Now you’re ready to begin your day.

8. Prioritize & Focus to Reach Completion:

Jump right in and begin on the most important, highest value task immediately.

Focus single-mindedly on starting and finishing this task and do not deviate from your plan. One of the biggest enemies of time management is the practice of starting several tasks but never finishing any of them.

A great prompting question to always ask yourself is, “Is this the most important thing I should be doing right here, right now?” Another key to successful Block Scheduling is not getting “derailed” from your plan.

9. Minimize Distractions:

Distractions like the phone, internet, email, co-workers, daydreaming, etc., can and will work to thwart your plan. Make the necessary arrangements to keep these distractions to a minimum.

10. Additional Tips: Finally, here are a few last suggestions:

* First, make sure you take the appropriate time to speak with employees and co-workers, as well as time for returning phone calls, emails, etc. The key is to do these tasks when they are scheduled (much easier said than done, of course).

* Schedule several breaks during the day  – take “5-minute vacations” where you can walk outside or around the office, stretch and clear your mind to recharge your mental batteries, and allow yourself to get re-focused on your work.

I challenge you to start today by implementing these techniques. If you learn to do them and do them well, you’ll be able to use some of that new found time for some much-needed personal and family enjoyment.

If you’re saying “I’ve already tried these things and they don’t work for me.” We’d be happy to sit down with you and uncover the barriers in one of our complimentary coaching sessions.