Not Enough Time?

We all want more of it, yet we all waste a ton of it. Time. That crazy intangible thing that seems to treat each person, each situation, a little differently. I grab my iphone to check my calendar for the day and a tiny notification bar reads, "Mary commented on your post". So I click and open up the app to get updated about that important thing I posted about when I was NOT reading the research article I downloaded to my laptop. It reads, "Cool. I will call you tomorrow." But now I am in. Sucked into reading and clicking and scrolling away until I realize I am wasting time. What was I doing? Oh yeah, planning my day. I never have enough time to get anything done! What is on my schedule today….and I grab my iphone, again, to check my calendar. That is how to waste 28 minutes.

I have read (at least started) many books on managing time. They all have great suggestions, some I try, others I forget, and a few stick. I found that I was wasting hours every week trying to figure out a way to not waste hours every week. Ugh. Then I bought an audible version of a book and listened to it while driving. Woohoo! I time management double win! Thankfully it was a great book, but unfortunately, it was difficult to make notes because I was driving. Add to the don't text and drive movement; don't try to figure out the voice memo app while driving. A few ideas stuck and I will stop wasting your time with these stories and tell you what seems to work for me.

First off, I hate getting up early. I don't hate mornings, I just really don't want to get out of bed. Once I am up and have a cup of coffee, I am ok. Many of the time management books and articles say you should get up an hour earlier than everyone else and you will get a ton done before your average day begins. This is true, but for me, not a reliable time to plan important tasks. So I decided to plan my somewhat fun tasks for me early morning time. I check some emails, catch up on social media and current events, and take some notes if I run into some information I need to focus on later. Sometimes this works great and really improves my productivity and focus for the day. But sometimes it just opens up a dozen more things for me to think about or get side tracked about throughout the day.

I have also read about chunking time together. This is a great concept. Just list all the things that you do on a weekly basis and then chunk the tasks together into groups to get them done more efficiently. Like all your errands chunked together so you spend an hour and a half once a week rather than 30-45 minutes several times a week running each errand. Or do all of the administrative tasks on your computer at a set time instead of popping open the laptop each time a task comes up. This one is a little tougher to get set up and I never seem to think of all the things to chunk together and end up have a couple chunks of tasks that I can figure out if they should be combined or rearranged. Still, it helps a little.

One of my favorite suggestions is to set a timer. I set a time for 25-45 minutes and focus on only one task. I hit it hard because I have limited minutes to focus on it. I get some really big things started in that timed period. Sometimes I even get some things completed. The worst part about the timer is that it seems to beep just as I am in the middle of some really great progress. So I added the snooze option to this tactic. It didn't take long for the snooze to become 5 snoozes and there went another 25 minutes. This time management stuff takes discipline.

I could go on for hours (in 25 minute snoozed increments) about more suggestions, tactics and ideas on time management. But instead I will breakdown what I am doing right now that seems to be working fairly well.

For about 15 minutes every evening I get out my schedule to prepare for the next day. I look at my calendar for tomorrow and the rest of the week (and sustain my Facebook obsession). I set out the items I will need for my appointments the next day. I set out clothes, client files, work materials, errands list, and vital items such as my wallet, datebook, and other items I need for the day.

I grab my notebook and plan the next day in reverse. I start with the evening and split up each hour with a task. Here is an example:

Monday- to do:
9-10pm Read and go to bed
8-9pm prepare for tomorrow and the week, schedule social media posts for business, work on photos
7-8pm dishes and meal planning for tomorrow
6-7pm time with family
5-6pm cook and eat dinner
3-5pm workout, shower, work on client files
2-3pm appt with client
1-2pm Catch up hour
12-1pm ppt presentation project
11-12pm presentation emails
10-11am yoga
9-10am organize ppt and edit text
8-9am organize ppt and edit text, make sure kids get on the bus for school
7-8am make breakfast and lunch for family and send them off
6-7am shower, blog, brainstorm blog topics.
Another way I work is like this:
Say I am working on 3 main projects; A, B, & C.
I breakdown each project into 3-5 tasks; A1, A2, A3, B1, etc.
830-930am: 20 min timer Task A1, then B1, then C1
930-10am: break
10-11am: 20 min timer Task A2, then B2, then C2
11-1130: Lunch
1130-12-30 Task A3 then B3 then C3
1230-1pm break
1-2pm task A1, then A2, then A3
2-230 break

Basically over 6 hours I spent 4 hours on my important projects. I spent 1:40 on Project A, 1 hour on project B, and 40 minutes on Project C.

I don’t know what will work for you, but if you find those black holes in your day that seem to suck you into doing unproductive, manage those first. I would love to hear your time management tactics.

For more tips to help you manage your time and other great tips and programs, sign up for my newsletter.


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Reply: