Raise your hand if you’re not the best at time management… I’ll raise mine. I am a LOT better at managing time now than I used to be, which is why I’m doing this episode. Managing the work time you have well is the key to productivity. So we’re talking about how to manage your time better!
How to Manage Your Time Better
Want to listen to the podcast version of this post? I’ve got you covered!
Full disclosure – I’m NOT a naturally organized or productive person. But as I’ve come to understand myself better, I’ve figured out how to organize my daily schedule so that I can be more productive! And as I share these tips, you might see that you need to take the time to understand your natural inclinations better so that you can organize your schedule to work best for you. I still think that these tips will be helpful for you!
My time management journey
I have two kids, and up until 2015 I had no childcare and no set work hours. That usually meant I would work when the kids were asleep for naps or after bedtime. I didn’t have a lot of flexibility then to manage my time, and I still managed it horribly. If I was able to work from 8 PM until 12 AM one day, I would spend it doing things that didn’t really matter, like redesigning my website for the 17th time.
In 2015, it became super important that I manage my time well. My business was growing, and I started my first podcast with a co-host and guests. So I had to streamline my process even with a toddler at home. I am a fast worker and I make quick decisions, but I was implementing strategies that made it possible for me to get more done.
More time DOES NOT MEAN Getting more things done
This sounds obvious, but it’s actually an important aspect of productivity. If you have no idea what you’re going to work on, but have time to work from 12 PM to 2 PM, you probably won’t be very productive.
If you have to spend time every day figuring out what to work on, then you’re wasting time. So you need to know what you’re going to work on each time you have availability to work.
Working on the wrong things can leave you feeling unproductive
We only have a set number of hours to work each day. If you spend that time working on things that don’t actually move your business forward, it will leave you feeling unproductive.
If you ever finish up a work session and have no idea what you even did, then you have probably experienced this phenomenon before.
Understand what you SHOULD be working on
To learn how to manage your time better, you first need to understand what you should be working on. And to know what you should be working on, you need to understand your goals.
What are your goals for the next quarter or the next year? When you have decided those, how can you break them down into what needs to happen each month, each week, and each day to accomplish them?
Then, add any work that you have to do to that list. If you have client work or content creation that needs to happen, make sure that’s noted.
ANY work that is not pushing you toward your goals needs to go away. I see a lot of people messing up here, and I was this person, too. AKA, me rebuilding my website 17 times instead of actually making money.
Have a daily to-do list of 3-4 items
I preach something called “Core 4,” which I have a whole podcast episode about that you can check out here.
Your Core 4 is 4 things that you need to accomplish TODAY (you can also use it monthly or annually). It doesn’t have to include 4 business-related things. You could absolutely add a workout to that Core 4 because you aren’t feeling motivated.
Don’t make a list of four things that you absolutely can’t get done in a day, or you’re going to set yourself up to be disappointed. But having that Core 4 will help you understand what you need to be working on each day.
I DON’T want you to determine your Core 4 at the beginning of each day, because then you’re wasting some productivity time. I like to sit down on Sunday evening and write out my Core 4 goals for each day that week. Then, I can sit down when I’m ready to work and get moving instead of planning.
I use a more expanded version of this tactic that I call calendar blocking or time blocking. So every Sunday, I sit down, write down EVERYTHING that I need to get done that week, and then look at my calendar. I schedule out “work blocks” around the personal things that need to happen, and then figure out which tasks I’ll accomplish during which work block. I plan all of that out using ClickUp and my Google Calendar.
If you want to see a more detailed explanation of how that works, I have a video about it right here!
Now, you have every single task that you need to do this week scheduled out! So you can wake up, get going, and manage your time super well.
Learning how to manage your time better is really learning what needs to be done in what time period… Which is a skill that takes time, but that you can totally accomplish.
So – you need to know what you’re working on each day before the work comes, AND decide what you actually need to be working on to advance your goals! I hope this was super helpful!