Want to be productive in less time? Here is your answer.
Do you feel like you have multiple “half-done” all over your to-do list? Do you put large projects on a list that sit there for months? Does the day end and you hope that the new and improved you will emerge tomorrow? I’ve been there. Once I started to incorporate timeblocking- and a handy timer- my life changed.
I talked briefly about my struggles this week. During this time, I reverted to my old mentality- “sleep when you’re dead” and “I don’t need a break.” Here I am, blogging on a Sunday, after 12 hours of sleep plus an unscheduled Saturday nap because I crashed and burned. Sigh, personal growth is always a work in progress and some of the habits I thought died and would never return do rear their ugly heads from time to time.
When you are the most stressed, with the most to do, and in the most significant emotional turmoil, is when you MUST use these strategies. You have to tackle the issue from the roots, not the surface. Make a sound nutritional plan, schedule your rest and downtime, create manageable to-do lists, time block your week, and have a stress management protocol on hand- or a coach to message! If I had a nickel for every time a potential client said they are “too stressed” to focus on themselves, I’d be swimming in nickels! Those are the times it is imperative to focus on yourself. The age old saying “you can’t give from an empty cup” rings true. From here on out, visualize that the only way you can give is from the overflow of your cup. Meet your needs, then serve others. Taking care of yourself is not selfish; it is self-care.
If you are someone who puts “write memoir” on a to-do list, take heed. Writing a memoir is such a large undertaking that there is a high probability nothing will get accomplished. Make your to-do list manageable by creating steps that will yield the final project. “Create an outline for my memoir” would be a fantastic step one. From there, you can flesh out the intro, chapter 1, etc.
Don’t leave 15 minutes to create this outline. Find a block of 2 hours, schedule in small 15 minute breaks at the end of each (or even two if you are someone who has trouble focusing) and sit in a quiet place to work on your task without distractions. Turn your phone to airplane mode or do not disturb. You can still receive calls from your “favorites” when your phone is in this mode, so add your close family members for emergency purposes. Remove applications from your computer that pop up or will distract you. Logging out of social media will help.
Set a timer for the duration you are scheduled to work. If you get into a groove and miss a 15-minute break, that’s ok, but don’t make this a habit. The more you recharge, the higher your quality of work. The goal is to be as productive as possible without sacrificing quality.
Did you need more or less time for a specific task? Is this a task that will be on your to-do list often? Reassess and revise if needed so you can time block with insane accuracy.
I finally reached out to hire a virtual assistant. Delegating is likely my Achilles heel. I want to do it all and feel defeated if I ask for help. I blame this on “single mom syndrome” after my first marriage ended. I coined this term after I saw a myriad of other single moms filling their plates so high that they were overwhelmed, exhausted, and couldn’t remember the last time they took care of themselves. Once I realized, truly realized, there is no “I” in team, is when I began to blossom. I still revert to old habits and trust me, there have been more times that I have thought “If you want something done right, do it yourself” (ha!), but ultimately I live my life with more joy when I know and respect my limits. Understanding your limits, setting boundaries, and saying “no” is one of the highest forms of self-respect. Protect your state of mind so you can enjoy your life and those around you.
Do you have the right team in place? Are you pleased with the number of hours you are working? Are you living the life you’ve always imagined? (whoa, deep!) If the answer to any of these is no, it’s time to consider a plan to make changes. Please answer these truthfully and without opinions from others. I have lived much of my life a chameleon. I liked whatever was popular. I felt terrible if I wanted to work less, or rest, or- heck- even exercise. It felt wrong and selfish and not admirable. Now, I focus on living for me. Fill my cup, then fill everyone else’s. If you’d like more time for extracurricular activities, how can you generate the income needed to make that happen? There is always a solution.
I have also found that when I work on one project at a time, I am more successful. That sounds like common sense, but when you are told to hustle 24/7, you feel like a failure if you don’t have at least five things in the works. Again, don’t let societal judgments dictate what works for YOU. Focus, get sh*t done, move to the next.
What methods work best for you? I’d love to continue this conversation! How do you manage your time?
Check out my recent Facebook live and jump in our group if you haven’t. We want to offer you support!