How To Get More Done in The Time You Have
One thing you need to know about me is I always have lots of projects on the go. It's definitely one of the things that I'm known for being busy all of the time. When the boys were really young and I was at home with them and I told people of all the projects or businesses or all the things I was up to, people would stop and look at me and ask, “how could you do so much with three small children at home?” For me, it's just always something that I do. I cannot sit still and I have to keep busy. I love having new projects. If you've got a project or a passion or a hobby or something that you really want to create time for, this is how you're going to do it. The easiest way to do this, and I use the term easy very lightly because I tried this and I failed. Get up a little earlier in your day. I wish I was one of those people, but I am not. I envy those people who are part of the 4:00 A.m. Club. They get so much done before I've even rolled out of bed.
I tried that for one month, getting up earlier, but it did not work out how I envisioned and I would crash by mid-afternoon. I would be useless for the rest of the day. how I was going to use that time. And then once again it just ended up not getting anything else done.
I am also not one of those people who do my best work later at night. That's just not me. I really love working out, but I have to get that done before like 03:00 p.m. In the afternoon, or else my motivation is gone and it's just really hard for me to get going. If I'm working on something that needs a lot of time or focus and really attention to detail, then late at night is not for me. I was never a student who could pull an all-nighter to write an essay because what I produced would just not be great if I tried to do anything that requires a lot of detail past 08:00 p.m. The quality of my work is just not going to be there. If getting up earlier or working later works for that is incredible, but if it does not then here are my top five tips to get more done.
TIP 1: Do a time inventory.
For five to seven days, write down your daily activities. I'm not asking for every little detail. I don't want to know all of it. But a breakdown of what is happening throughout your day. Maybe 15 minutes time chunks, 30 minutes time chunks, even an hour if you can get clear enough. But the more detailed, the better. After those five or seven days, check out your inventory because you're probably going to be surprised at where your time is going. Or you're probably going to be surprised at where you thought your time was going and where it's actually going. I did this exercise and I realized that there was a lot of time I spent making food, cleaning kids ‘lunches, cleaning up after lunches. My coffee in the morning was really just taking a long time. It was a lot of things. I mean, obviously there was wasted time, scrolling through your phone and things like that. When you look at the time inventory, where are the sort of missing voids of time, like what actually happened between 230 and 03:00? P.m. It said, I went to get a snack, but that doesn't take half an hour. So, what was I doing? Really evaluate where your time is going and see if there's anything that you can make changes to. Like, is there anything you can take off your plate completely? Is there anything that you can move around a little bit?
TIP 2: Time Block
I tried an app for this because I believe very strongly in using tools to help you better your life. I do believe there isn't pretty much an app for everything. The night before I would use an app called Time Block, to plan what I think my day will be. For me, it was really amazing because I just loved the visual. I got to see the night before where my time would be going and during the day, I didn't have to think. I could kind of look over and say, oh, right, that was already blocked. If there were important things, they would be blocked in first.Then I had to make sure I wanted to get in like my workout. Then obviously you want to eat, put that block in, put all the different blocks in. If things changed and they would because that is life, I was able to make those changes, and I was in charge of my own time. How can you make the best of your day? I would also suggest adding a little leeway here or there. Nothing is worse than you got the end of a time block and was like, oh, I didn't finish that where if you had a little leeway here or there, there was a little bit more wiggle room in my day, and I didn't feel so stressed.
TIP 3: The to-do list
Once again, I love the visual and I made a different list for each one of my projects. Some people do love the good old-fashioned paper and pen. And let's be honest, everyone loves to check a box or cross something off when you complete it. For this challenge I decided to use a to-do list app so it would be convenient and available when I had extra time to get something done. If I noticed in my time block, hey, I've got an extra 15 minutes, what am I going to do? I popped over to the to do list, and I could get a whole bunch of things done really quickly.
TIP 4: Set the tone and focus
What I mean by this is when you're looking at your to do list, what kind of task is it? Is it something that needs your full attention, your creativity and your focus, then that is what you need to provide for that activity or that task? You've got to give it what it deserves. If it's something that can be done between things, like I mentioned before, a little quickie thing, you will be more productive because you can add that into those little spaces rather than using the really important time. Everybody has certain times of the day that they work their best, some may call it their zone of genius. When it is your focus time and this is super important, you need to set the tone for your focus time. I think everyone needs to do this but so many of us don't because it's hard, right? Like you just hop into work for the day, you're not setting the scene or the tone for it, you just do what you need to get done. When I'm talk about setting the tone for that focus time, you really want to turn off the distractions. Phone notifications off, you're not checking your emails, your coffee is already in your mug ready to go and you already have a clear idea of what you want to get accomplished in that time. If it is focused time and you have a house full of busy people, then let them know what you're doing. The other thing you can do is look at that time block schedule and is there a better time you can fit in that really important work?
TIP 5: Prioritize
I know it sounds so simple, but it can be so hard. I really think you need to choose what it means to you. I've heard so many different versions of how people should prioritize. Some people believe they have to do the hard things first. Some people believe doing the thing that will push the needle in your business first. Some people believe they have to do the income driven thing first. You can prioritize by due dates; they need to get done. That's the reality for me. I always make the due date a few days before the real due date so I know I'm going to get that thing done a few days ahead of time. Always just be very aware of where you're needed the most.
BONUS TIP: Batch work
Now, this to me, is one of those buzzed words lately, but I'm learning quickly how incredible this tool can be for anybody. And really, it's something they've been doing for a while. If I know I want eight pieces of image content going out in the month of May on Mondays and Fridays, instead of me sitting in front of Canva on Sunday or Thursday night, I'm going to sit there and create all of those pieces of content at once. Not only am I going to make sure that they all are similar to each other, if that's the theme, but I also can know that they are all different from each other as well. I know I haven't reused anything and it all kind of fits.
If I'm going to make a video, it doesn't make sense to get ready once and then film for five minutes. If I want to create five or six videos at once, I might as well take that time, get ready one time. Because, ladies, you understand, it takes me a little while to get video ready. You know what I mean?
I hope these tips help you get more done with the time you have and visit on our facebook page to continue the conversation.
Listen to the full podcast episode here