5 Time Management Tips to Keep Productivity High
At this time of year, most of us are sliding into the holidays at a full run, trying to take care of our clients' needs and our own holiday shopping/decorating/cooking! It's a mad dash to some time off, and if you aren't managing your time well, this is when you're going to really feel it. Let's put time management at the top of your 2021 goals - because when you get your productivity up and running smoothly, there's nothing you can't do!! Here are my 5 best tips to eeeeeeke out as much time in your day as you can!
1. Put the Phone Down
Being distracted is SOOO counterproductive! And thanks to the lovely stress of the pandemic, we're all more easily distracted than ever. So the number-one thing you need to do is put your phone away. Pinky promise...the world will not end if you set it aside for an hour so you can concentrate on the tasks you have in front of you. Do you also have a million notifications set on your phone for social media and email? Turn those OFF - especially if you wear an iWatch. That will really make you nuts. (I even did this to my husband's phone while he was sleeping! HAHA) And if you have staff, or you're working at home with family around, warn them that you are going to work without distractions. Period.
2. Use Your Calendar
The best thing I have ever done for my own time management is to use calendar blocking. And I do it on my Apple calendar so it can be shared with my team (and even my family!). Use different colors for each major category of your business - say green for financial meetings/work, yellow for client meetings, blue for design time. And then block out time in your calendar to focus ONLY on those things. So if you block 2 hours on Tuesday for design time, that is EXACTLY what you'll be doing. This takes discipline (what doesn't?) and commitment. But if you follow this, you'll find you are much more focused AND you can get a lot more done.
3. Create 2 To-Do Lists
WHAT?!? Two lists you have to follow instead of one?!? Yep. And here's why - we ALL have that super-long and super-stressful to-do list. The one that never ever gets shorter. And that's fine, you can still have that so you know what's coming. But that list is going to drive you crazy - it probably already has! So create a second list that has only 3-4 high-priority things on it that you must accomplish today. That's really all any of us are able to do in a day anyway! And here's the big secret: Checking things off that list is going to make you feel SOOOO good. And more motivated! You also won't waste time sitting and staring at a long list wondering how you'll get it all done. It is going to change your world.
4. Set a Specific Time for Email
Email is both the best and worst tool we use. A full inbox can make us anxious and take a LOT of our time. Don't let it get to you - set a time (or two) each day to check your email. And then shut it down. If that's too scary for you (what if your client needs you?!), then have an assistant monitor it! But trust me, if there is a massive issue on a job site, someone is going to call you. I check my email once in the morning and then a second time around 2pm. That gives me time to react before my office is closed. If you REALLLLY can't do that, at least turn off your email while you're focused on one of the tasks you've set. You can go an hour without email, just like you can go an hour without social media. I promise!
5. Schedule Down Time
I know it seems strange to think that time off will make you more productive, but it DOES. If you're stressed, you're often just frantically spinning your wheels rather than actually accomplishing something. Studies show that even just a 30-minute break in your day can make you more creative and productive. So walk outside for a while. Have your lunch while reading a book. Do some yoga stretches - just do NOT sit at your desk. And remember that, even in a lockdown, vacation is really really important. You need time to connect with your family, to cook, to look at magazines. All of those things help you fill up your creative tank so you'll be ready to get back in the game. The holidays are a PERFECT time to take a vacation (hint, hint!).
Speaking of the holidays, here's a little gift from me to you that will help you stay on top of your calendar and your time. Just click here to download my FREE Checklist for Weekly Recurring Calendar Items. Use it to help you get ready for a new year!
The very best of holidays to you and your family! Have fun and be well!