This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for a long time, but in all honestly, I simply haven’t felt ready. Time management has always been a weakness or a struggle point for me, but it’s something I’ve REALLY put effort into improving. On any given day, I feel like I have a million tasks in a million directions – and rarely did I feel like I was using my time wisely. There was a constant sense of anxiety (and still is if I’m totally transparent), that I’d look up at the clock and it’d be 4 p.m. (HOW?!), and that in general, I wasn’t getting as much done as other people in my industry (comparison at its finest).
So as you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been switching things up a bit – trying to have a quiet time in the morning, bringing back short fashion posts (aka not feeling like I need to write a lengthy post just to share a cute tunic!), and basically, I’m trying to re-focus my attention. A big part of that is using my time wisely and having better time management…and not getting lost in my DMs for 4 hours and then wondering why tomorrow’s blog post isn’t ready lulz. Anyways, since I know so many of the things I’ve been learning and working on translate to MANY careers and daily tasks, I wanted to share. These are the tips I’ve found most useful. Hope they help y’all too!
Use the Pomodoro Technique
I’ve written about this before, so I won’t go into detail, but this is still one of the BEST time management tips I’ve come across. You fully focus on a task for 25 minutes and then take a break for 5 (or those are the time ratios I like, y’all can choose w/e), and do this over and over until your task is complete. When I’m really focused, I’ll do Pomodoro all frickin’ day and will try to complete 10 sessions in a row. Just remember to turn off and put away ALL distractions during your on time.
Do the MIT first
This is a common tip, but doing the most important task first is incredibly helpful. Or, one project that HAS to get done that you’re not looking forward to – just bust it out! For me, this might be finishing a collaboration, planning out the next week so my team knows what to do, or booking travel for an upcoming work trip. You’ll save a lot of time procrastinating and doing god knows what else to push back that one task throughout the day.
Turn your phone on Airplane Mode
I am BAD at the whole “just turn your phone over” thing. I’ll still look for notifications every so often. It’s a problem, y’all, I GET IT. But since I do like to use my phone for the time or timer, I don’t like turning it off. Enter, Airplane Mode! My friend told me about this and now I’m obsessed (I use it when I sleep too). Turning your phone on Airplane Mode keeps it on, but blocks ALL distractions slash notifications. Once you’re done with a task, you can turn it off. If you’re trying to get in the habit of a quiet morning routine, keep your phone in Airplane Mode until you’re ready to work (or ready for your day). It’s pretty cool! Or if you don’t feel like being as extremem as Airplane Mode (and if you have an iPhone), then use the do not disturb option!
Read emails 3x a day
Tim Ferriss writes about this a lot (and if you don’t know who he is, LEARN HIM NOW bc he’s brilliant – in fact I wrote a post about one of his books i’m obsessed with!). And I know other people do to, but he’s where this habit stuck for me. I used to work with all of my inboxes up at all times – and I’d get notifications every time I got an email on my phone. Talk about distracting! I’d be doing a task, see an email come in, read it, get distracted, and 2 hours later realized I missed my deadline. Wow. Now, I check my emails 3x a day – morning, lunch, before signing off.
Of course I break this rule on really hectic days where I’m waiting for something urgent, but when possible, this is amazing.
Use headphones on conference calls
This is a really quick silly tip, but with huge benefits. When you’re on a call, especially when it’s with multiple people and you’re not talking the whole time, use headphones instead of hand-held. Then, use that time for more brainless tasks (like Pinterest, or cleaning out an inbox, even cleaning your house). Basically, just because you’re on the phone doesn’t mean you can’t get other things done nor is it permission to scroll through Insta for an hour – #guilty.
Time chunk your calendar
Y’all, I won’t lie, my calendar is usually a hot mess, but a girl on my team has the most beautiful calendar – it has me inspired. She time chunks every single task on her Google cal and color coordinates. This way, she knows how much time to dedicate to each tasks, how much she has to get done, and she can set recurring tasks weekly or daily (so no trying to figure out what needs to be done each day every day). As soon as she gets an email with a task, or whatever, she adds it to the G cal as a task, so nothing slips through the cracks. GENIUS!
Save specific tasks until the end of the day
We all have those brainless, busy work-type tasks that don’t take much effort. Or the tasks we LOVE to do (for me, Pinterest, editing images, visual stuff). Instead of doing them in the morning when you have other pressing things and when your focus levels are best, save them for the end of the day. You’re much more likely to get everything done, and that way, you can spend as much time as you want on the happy or brainless tasks – and you’ll def get them done still.
Another common time management task, but one that’s worth calling out. I’ve been getting better at this so I had to share, too. I used to do photo shoots pretty much every day, which was just dumb. Or I’d run one errand across town, and spend an hour doing that vs. doing work. Now, I try to bask alllll types of tasks (whether work or personal). That means longer and less shoot days (so I only have to get ready once, and I already have all the shoot essentials ready to go), doing errands all at once, scheduling conference calls for one day (when possible), planning out my social media 1x a week (instead of 4x a day), and the list goes on.
This is SO hard for me y’all. I think it’s hard for a lot of women, and since I own my own business and just want everything done a certain way, this has been tough. But I’m getting better! There’s no reason to feel bad about delegating – it helps SO much. Even if it seems like a silly task that you *should* be doing, or one that is takes money upfront, a lot of times, it’s so worth the sanity and time back it gives you. If it’s a money issue, think about ways to budget to be able to afford that delegation. If it’s for your business, it’s usually money up front with return (or think about tasks that fit that combo).
OK, I think that’s it for now! It feels great finally getting this post out there, and getting more confident with using my own time wisely – yay adulting! I’ve started to notice some real changes (in my business, mentally, etc.) and I can only hope that I get even better.
Now, would love to hear from y’all! If you can add anything else to this list, please do. And if there’s an area of your life that you can’t seem to time management, lmk and maybe we can talk through it
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