It’s fashionable to multitask nowadays; it’s what I was taught was the status quo. Unfortunately, multi-tasking is much like doing lots of things badly. Increasing my productivity was top of my list when I decided that I wanted to monetise my blog. It was time to impart these gem-like time management tips!
My medical conditions mean that I don’t have a lot of energy, so the time I have, is precious.
I know that is the same story for Mum bloggers too.
“Staying busy” means you’re working but on the wrong things. Being busy isn’t necessarily working hard.
You want to work smarter and not harder.
This is especially true for you if your time is precious.
I’ve known for a long time that multi-tasking does not work. You tend to achieve very little and what you do achieve, tends to happen very slowly.
The Epic Time management Tips:
Working Smarter, Not Harder
It’s one of the slightly older time management tips, but it’s a good one.
When there is something that I need to achieve, I write it on a post-it note and put it on my productivity matrix**.
Seeing the task on a post-it note helps me to determine whether or not it’s an urgent task, what the ROI will be if I should delegate the task or schedule it for further down the time.
Managing my time isn’t about squeezing as many tasks in my spare time as possible. Otherwise, I would get nothing done.
It’s about simplifying how I work, doing things more efficiently, and relieving any potential stress.
I compiled this list of epic time management tips to help you become an efficient blogger.
There are a plethora of books and tips for you to organise your world so that you can be made more effective in work and life but these tips are things that help me personally.
Read through the tips and figure out which may be very helpful for you to do and try them out.
On A Daily Basis, I might have a list of 10 things on a To Do list, but I aim to achieve 3.
If I don’t achieve any more than 3, I don’t beat myself up about it.
There are enough hours in a day for everything you’d like to do; you just need to figure out your most important tasks first.
How do I improve concentration and increase my productivity?
Complete most important task first.
Considered a golden rule of time management.
Also known as ‘Eating That Frog’ by the King of productivity – Brian Tracy.
Eat That Frog! is all about overcoming procrastination and learning to manage your time.
It’s perfectly normal to feel drowned in work, but when you learn to “eat your frogs” – meaning do your most important tasks first – you’ll work more efficiently and be happier too.
My husband was always creating To Do lists of things he wanted to achieve; sometimes there were about twenty items on the list, and if he didn’t achieve them all in one day he would become furious.
I watched him becoming angry one day, and I was scowling as he ranted.
“How long would it take you to do each of the tasks on that list and do them properly?”
The answer was… longer than 24 hours if you plug in eating, showering and sleeping.
This was when I taught him the all-important lesson of aiming for 3 of those things and forgiving yourself when you don’t do more than 3.
He became much more efficient with his time and to do lists after that and a lot kinder to himself.
Get A Good Nights Sleep
Because of my medical conditions, if I don’t get a deep sleep and wake up naturally, I become completely useless and have to write the day off completely.
If I write on a day like that, nine times out of ten, I have to rewrite on another day.
On those days I do tasks that require very little brain power and just give into it in the hope that the next day will be much more productive.
The number of times I read about people staying up to 3 am to work on a post or a product.. it baffles me.
Arianna Huffington has tried her best to wake people up to the power of sleep in her series of books. When you are well rested, you become much more efficient and productive in your output. I cannot emphasise enough, how much you need a good nights sleep.
Learn To Say No
When I was diagnosed with my condition, it was obvious from the beginning that my energy levels were little to non-existent. I didn’t have a choice about whether or not I said ‘no’ to things. Physically, if I did something, I would become so exhausted my body would shut down completely.
Saying ‘no’ is one of my favourite things to do.
I don’t mind being selfish because when I’m looking after myself, I’m investing in my future and the future of my family.
Regarding productivity, saying no to things that will just waste your time can give YOU more time to work on the things that you want to work on!
1. Clean your desk
2. Turn off notifications
3. Close your email provider (infant, try checking your email once or twice a day, you will be amazed how much more productive you become)
4. Set your daily priorities in the morning, or better yet, at the end of your day for the next morning.
5. Make your workspace a distraction-free place; empty the bin, organise folders and install an extension to restrict how many tabs you can open. For Chrome, you can install XTab
6. Use Pomello and Trello.
7. Listen to binaural beats and listen using headphones
8. Close the door
9. Make sure you have plenty of water to stay hydrated
10. Get up every 25 minutes and stretch your legs
Meditation can help improve your focus and memory.
“A recent study by University of Washington researchers found that meditation helped workers concentrate better, remember more of their work details, and stay energised and experience less negative moods.” via Lifehacker
I discovered mindfulness meditation back in 2014, and it changed my life. Meditation helped pull me up and out of the depths of an emotional breakdown, and I’ve been meditating daily ever since.
I’ve noticed an improvement in mental clarity (on the days preceding a good nights sleep) and more determination to achieve tasks.
Stop Working At A Dedicated Time Each Night
I stop working at 6 pm every evening. This is a ground rule I try not to break. After 6pm I might watch a bit of catch up TV, listen to podcasts, read or paint.
Having the wind-down time before bed means I can get to sleep faster, and I’m not up to all hours thinking of business ideas. Doing that usually means I’m not able to work the day after.
But for the ordinary woman who struggles to sleep and still wants to build an empire, wind down time and self-care is very important.
Turn Off The TV
TV is the biggest waste of time when it comes to trying to work or write.
If you are working, you’re not paying attention to the TV, and if you’re paying attention to the TV, you’re not working.
Try to listen to Classical Music or Binaural Beats (via headphones) to increase productivity.
I like to listen to the Gipsy Kings while I work because the tempo of the music makes me type faster with fewer mistakes (if someone knows why that is, I would love to know).
se The Pomodoro Technique To Achieve Your Tasks
“The wha?” I hear you cry.
“The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. … These intervals are named Pomodoros, the plural in English of the Italian word Pomodoro (tomato), after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student.
There are six steps in the technique:
1. Decide on the task to be done.
2. Set the Pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
3. Work on the task until the timer rings.
4. After the timer rings, put a check mark on a piece of paper.
5. If you have fewer than four check marks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
6. After four Pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your check mark count to zero, then go to step 1.”
I use Trello to organise my To Do lists and the Pomello App for my desktop.
It times your tasks and your breaks if you become distracted you can record notes and review your productivity over days or weeks to see where your biggest pitfalls are.
Allow Yourself A Set Time For Tasks
For example, I set 25 minutes to work on Facebook or check emails.
That’s one pomello.
I allow two pomello’s for blog post research.
One pomello for writing newsletter notes etc.
A common problem among workers today is a phenomenon that psychologists call “reactionary workflow,”.
Whereby we spend the majority of our working hours and energy reacting to external stimuli.
Instead of on projects we intentionally set out to do that are important to us.
“Rather than being proactive with our energy, we are acting in response to what is incoming,”
writes Behance founder Scott Belsky in “Beware Reactionary Workflow” from the website 99U.
Dr LeeAnn Renninger recommends becoming aware of how you’re working throughout the day.
The Director of LifeLabs suggests taking five minutes each day to pause. Check in with yourself
“Am I working proactively or reactively right now?”
Then, take baby steps and devote more time to the proactive work which will leave you more fulfilled.
Set aside blocks of time on your calendar for just creating.
Trust me when I say, it is entirely worth it.
Instead of trying to squeeze in creative time where you can, why not build your larger schedule around what you most enjoy? Figure out what time of day you feel most creative and productive and carefully plan around it.
Take Advantage Of Your Tendencies
When do you feel most inspired? Keep a log of your mood and energy levels throughout the day. Note when you feel the most creative and drawn to hands-on artistic work.
This way you can use that time to your full advantage. The same technique can be applied to when you are most productive for whatever you hope to achieve in your day.
Develop a routine
Once you’ve determined when you feel the most creative, it’s time to get serious.
Build a daily practice that makes the most of your peak creative windows, and do your best to commit to it. (An excellent mindfulness technique)
Get in the practice of doing something creative every day, even if all you can manage is a few moments.
For example, knit a few rows over lunch or sketch during your commute. So even on days where you aren’t able to commit to a larger routine, your creative work retains a place in your day.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
Once you’ve found a routine that works, you can loosen the strings a bit.
Janet Hill of Janet Hill Studio says she no longer pushes herself to the extreme.
“If I’m having a bad day creatively,
I walk away from it and do something else and return to it fresh the next day,” she says. Though structure and time management are key to the productivity, so too is the process of letting your creative mind wander.
Strauss says some of her best ideas strike when she’s out for a walk. “I don’t think an idea has ever come while sitting in my studio staring at a blank canvas,” she says.
Eliminate the non-essential
We waste so much time on excess in our lives.
If you find that you aren’t being very productive, assess how you decide upon your important tasks.
Face Your Fears
If you try these steps and still have trouble prioritising your creative time, address what else may be holding your back.
Maybe it’s not lack of time but fear that holds you back.
Fear of failure?
What about fear of success? Look your fear straight in the face and get to the bottom of it to make the path for more creative fulfilment.
Value Your Work
Treat your creativity and the fruits of your labour as your most precious assets.
If you think of your creativity as your lifeblood, you’ll start to see it as a source of fuel for everything else that you do.
Last but not least and most importantly
Aim to be happy.
I know I’ve said it before in this post, but you need to schedule downtime and make self-care a priority.
** Check out how to create a productivity matrix with Suzy from StartAMomBlog