You’re busy. You don’t feel as productive as you’d like to be.
Time feels limited, especially when you’re trying to balance taking care of your family + the demands of work. With so many things to do it’s easy to fall into the trap of bouncing from one task to the next, with little to show for it at the end of the day.
You tell yourself things will get better when you get caught up, get a better routine, be more organised, things slow down a bit … if you just had more time you could get it sorted.
There is a misconception that time management is about getting more things done.
But how else do you manage all the things coming at you today?
You need to find a way to well, manage everything, to find more time to get it all done. Because you feel like you need more time you think that learning how to manage time is the answer.
So you go on a quest to increase your productivity. You seek out new hacks + tips to somehow save time, multiply time, get more time, so you can get all these things done.
The real challenge isn’t how you can manipulate time to get more things done. Getting more done isn’t going to make you feel more productive. It simply leads to overwhelm + burnout.
The real quest is learning how to manage your focus.
Success comes from choosing what to do from everything that seeks your attention, so you can be more productive by doing what matters most.
It’s flipping your attention from trying to find more time, to do less but better.
When you focus on what’s important, you’ll do more of what matters, be more productive + fulfilled.
I’ve been there + I get it. I’m a work-at-home-schooling mum. My day’s probably a lot like yours. We’ve got so many different responsibilities + even more things to do.
- I’ve stay up late to get just one. more. thing. done ZZZzzzz
- feared missing appointments or paying bills on time
- actually missed appointments and paying bills on time
- been distracted by everything I “had to do” while spending time with my family
… just to name a few.
If that’s you too, then I’ve got good news for you …
You don’t have to wait another minute or do any special preparation to use these 4 time management tips to start increasing your productivity today, reduce the overwhelm and avoid burn out.
So what can I do today?
1. Create a daily plan
Either the night before or before you start your day make a plan for how you will spend your time. Better still, stop right now + plan out how you will spend the rest of your day.
It’s as easy as writing yourself a list of the important things you need to do today. Put the top 3 things at the beginning of your list + don’t move onto anything else until these are done.
You may like to get yourself a beautiful planner that you enjoy using to make it easy + fun to plan each day.
Beautiful planners that you’ll want to use every day.
#tip : If you make your plan the night before it’s a win win. You’ll have your plan ready for tomorrow, no wondering what you’ll do + you get to procrastinate until tomorrow to get it done!
2. Use a calendar
You can use paper or a digital calendar. Choose what makes the most sense for you. I actually use both.
I like my paper calendar for planning out the big rocks + my digital calendar for the details.
We share digital calendars in our family because they are an incredibly efficient way to make sure we all are on the same page. Setting up reoccurring events has made planning + tracking so many things super easy.
Whether you use a digital or paper calendar, writing down appointments, bills, birthdays is the only way to reduce schedule overwhelm. And it makes it easy to batch like tasks, increasing your productivity.
Just like making lists in your planner, I can’t stress the benefits enough of writing down what you need to do. It keeps you focused + is a simple way to hold yourself accountable to do what you need to get done.
Plus research shows that people who write down their goals achieve significantly more than those who don’t.
I use a paper planner because I find it easier to know what’s happening when I see it written down. I’ve tried digital list making apps and spent more time organising my list than doing the things on it.
3. Focus on one activity as a time
Multi-tasking is a sure way to reduce your productivity, unless your cooking me a fabulous lunch 😉
Research repeatedly tells us that multi-tasking isn’t as effective as we think. It actually takes longer to do the tasks we’re trying to get through so quickly because you’re splitting your focus between many things. Each time you go back to the task at hand you have to recap on where you were up to and then get back in the groove.
No wonder you lose so much time when you try to do more than one thing at a time.
You’re actually more productive when you focus your attention on one thing at a time. Not just because it’s quicker but because you’re also better able to really connect with what you’re doing which means that you’re more likely to enjoy what you’re doing too.
4. Stay out of your inbox
For a long time I had a client that required me to have my inbox open all day while working. I was constantly creating advertising material, awaiting corrections + submitting artwork to various papers and magazines around the country, in between doing other work throughout the day.
When I finally finished working with them it took me a while to adjust to my new habit of only checking my mail at a few select times a day. Occasionally I have jobs on that require me to check in more often or leave it open for an extended period of time. But this is the exception now, not the rule.
I’ve become so accustomed to not having my mail open all day long that it can irritate me when I need to have it open. It’s great example of how we get use to what we do.
I left this tip to last because I believe it’s the number one thing you can do, starting right now, to maximise your productivity … immediately!
Decide on 2 or 3 appropriate times to check your inbox during the day. And when you do only open + read the emails that are important or relate to the work you have scheduled.
For the rest of your messages, use your calendar or planner to schedule specific time to check + process your inbox. And feel free to unsubscribe from anything that is creating a pile up zone.
I know that if you make this one switch you’ll get use to the benefits + enjoy the increased productivity in your day.
If you feel like you’re pulled in many different directions throughout the day + aren’t making the progress you’d like, start to implement these 4 time management tips and receive the benefits of increased productivity today!