[5 things] the best time management advice I've ever gotten

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

One of my favorite things to read about is productivity. Time management, time blocking, bullet journaling, Google Calendar tips, email advice... all of it. I consume this sort of news at a crazy rate – you should see my Pinterest boards.

Here is some of the best advice I've read or gotten from colleagues or friends!

Set office hours.

Whether you are working in an actual office or a creative entrepreneur who works on your own schedule, you need to be clear to yourself and to others when you are on and when you are off. I map out my hours for work and for my other commitments on my Google Calendar. This is my weakness – I want to work on feedback reports on the weekend when I have spare time, and I want to answer Lularoe emails or messages at 2 a.m. when I should be asleep. 

If you honestly tell yourself and your clients that you are unavailable after 7 p.m. for family time or that you cannot be reached from 9 to 5 because you're working your day job, you will know that you have to accomplish the tasks you have on your list in the time frame that you have. It makes it harder to push things off and it sets clear boundaries in your life.

Block out your time.

If you're clear with yourself about working hours and what you need to do when, then you can be honest with yourself about how much you can get done in a period of time. If you know you're working from 9 to 5, block out what you need to get done in those 8 hours. A lot can be done if you have a clear picture of your day. If you're really busy, block out time for little things like answering a single email or stopping to eat lunch. You know how it can get.

Delegate.

You can't and you shouldn't do everything that needs to get done. I'm not saying that you need to hire people to do every single task in your life, but find ways to delegate tasks that you can't take on yourself or that you can't do alone. Ask your child, your spouse, your partner, your coworker to help you when you are overwhelmed with tasks. If there's a task that you absolutely hate but your spouse doesn't mind – for example, I hate emptying the dishwasher but Patrick doesn't mind doing it at all – then that's delegating. You cannot accomplish everything.

Focus on one thing at a time.

You cannot multitask. I know you think you can. Sometimes I think I can. But you can't. And when I try, I do a worse job, I make mistakes, I have to go back and redo things, I leave things halfway completed because I got distracted. You will do a better job if you are aware of what needs to get done and you work your way down your list one thing at a time. You are not a robot – you are not capable of splitting your mind three or four ways at once. And honestly, it hurts your head! At least it hurts mine.

Give your tasks deadlines and categories.

Everyone manages their task lists differently, but I stand by this – every task needs a deadline. Don't fool around and think you'll do the laundry if you have no deadline for doing the laundry. Be real with yourself and what you can accomplish in a given chunk of time, but give yourself a real deadline for every task and organize those tasks into categories. I use Trello to do this but everyone has their own system.


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What are your time management tips? Leave a few in the comments! I love to learn what others do to be productive.

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