Artists need time to create, financial planners need time to prospect, and wellness professions need time for continued education to be successful. Protected time in our calendar for the activities that are core to our service offerings is critical to our success.
Have you ever taken time to reflect on how you design your day, week, or month? Are you more productive when your to-do list is long and deadlines are looming, or when you have time blocked off to ‘do the work’ during the day?
A quick glance at my calendar would show that I’m a planner. I usually feel in charge at the start of my day - before unplanned meetings, business needs, and urgent requests take over. This allows me to complete quick and important items before the day unfolds. Am I alone… or does this sound familiar to you?
The pandemic shifted how we work, and most of my colleagues embraced an at home ‘co-working’ space (children, doorbells ringing, and video calls from the kitchen) for the first time.
Consistency is key: build a morning routine, move through the day with mindfulness, and limit multitasking whenever possible.
I have worked from home since 2002, juggling business and family commitments while training for marathons and hiking all over the globe…while still maintaining my professional commitments.
Below are some tips from what I’ve learned that allowed me to integrate work and life with success!
Time Management Tips
There are so many techniques to help us organize/manage our time. Here are two game changers to consider:
Keep it simple… The Daily Three. Make a list of three quick successes you can complete by 10AM.
I use a reverse Daily Three approach. I ALWAYS make sure I have prepped for my morning schedule the day before. This gifts me a no stress morning since I tend to have meetings from 8:30 - noon.
Be a list maker! I prefer using a notebook.
I take notes throughout the day but primarily use it for list making. I categorize my list into professional, personal, and home. Crossing items off shows daily accomplishment… perk - I can manage at a glance without being tied to technology.
Managing Multiple Projects
1. Embrace online project management tools [e.g. Asana, Trello, Google Suite]
2. Consider batch working. This is dedicated time for repeatable items (ie: blogging, podcasts) The idea is it allows you to focus and accomplish a great deal of work at once.
3. Create timelines and clear milestones. Understand how much time you need to allot for certain activities. For example, I’m currently working on a project that will take 30-40 hours to complete. I create milestones to show progress and block dedicated time to work. Tip: when I have a four-week deadline I try to complete the project in three weeks. This gives me flexibility to shift without anxiety of missing a deadline.
6 Steps to Building a Successful Day
Are you a procrastinator or planner/early achiever? Maybe you are juggling business with kids' activities and carpools? Building a schedule that works best for ‘how you work’ fosters a calm, productive day. Grab your notebook and start documenting!
1. Document everything for a week - add notes of stress, demands you are missing, easy to complete tasks… when are you working smart?
2. Evaluate for pitfalls and successes after you have documented for a week.
3. Build the most successful day - on a blank page in your notebook draw a clock with hour markers. Start building a visual of a successful day.
4. Refer to item 3 often and pivot back to what equals success, time efficiency, and joy.
5. Identify high/low priorities. Where are you wasting time?
6. Evaluate monthly to see if you need to tweak as priorities and commitments shift.
Do you have a friend/colleague whom you admire? When I find myself less motivated or searching for an answer, I actually ask myself ‘what would Kelly do.’ She is the Martha Stewart in my circle. I tell myself that if I can tackle something with a focus/determination like Kelly, I will get more done… quickly. I’m honestly in awe of her. She inspires me to do more when I’m out of steam during the day.
Planning for success and managing our time is a mindset! And, managing how we spending our energy and managing our time (ie: being on time for a customer/meeting) fosters success.