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July 14, 2017

Following Up On My Time Management Experiment

time managementBack in April I publically issued a challenge to myself in an effort to more effectively manage my time as I was feeling incredibly stressed and overwhelmed trying to balance everything. More often than not I ended up feeling like a failure that the to-do list had more on it than crossed out and couldn’t seem to find a way to keep my head above water.

In that previous post, I set out the following as 3 things I’d like to work on so as to better manage my time:

  • Social media can only be looked at 1x in the morning and 1x at night. Stay off of it during the workday and focus on work and that to-do list. Let’s be honest, it will still be there when I get back.
  • Result: I did great with this for a while but it’s been slipping lately. Mainly because I, like many people, use social media as a mental break and it can be a nice escape. I did find that I had more time though when I stayed off social media and this is something I need to bring back full-force.

  • Emails will be relegated to being answered first thing in the morning and again in the afternoon. If the email comes in after that time period then it will wait until the next ’email’ time zone (think I’m joking – I actually blocked out time in my calendar to dedicate specifically to emails). I’m struggling with this a little bit because I’m someone who likes to reply right away and make sure your questions are answered but that’s time that’s getting taken away from projects that need my complete focus.
  • Result: I actually did really well with this one and it has made a huge difference in my ability to work on projects. I have scheduled into my calendar when my ’email’ time is every day and focus on those two times to get everything answered that I can. Where I still struggle is with email creep, if you will, which is where if I get an email late at night I will go ahead and answer it rather than leave it for the morning because that’s one less thing I’ll have to do in the morning. However, this means it’s taking away from my personal time which isn’t necessarily a good thing as that’s my time to recharge. So I’d give myself an A- for this one with work still to be done.

  • Technology sabbath once a week. I found I was much less stressed – and much more creative – when I turned my phone off for the majority of vacation. In fact, the more I turned it off the more I found I didn’t really want it versus my usual ‘checking it every 5 minutes’ behavior when at home. So I’m instituting a personal technology shutdown on a Saturday or Sunday every week to see how that helps my emotional and creative self.
  • Result: I did pretty terrible with this. It’s hard to shut down one day every week and not feel like things are getting out of control. This is one thing I need to keep working on because when I do actually do it, I feel so much more refreshed and invigorated.

    A few things I did find that do work for me:

  • I now keep a weekly written calendar where I break tasks out by day. This has been the biggest help as it allows me to plan my week in advance and then on said day I can see what needs to get done. The difference between my old ‘one big to do list’ is that it was easy for me to only focus on the easy items when they were all on one list and think that the big stuff would get done on another day. By having it broken down by day I feel more focused to get that day’s list completed. Plus, there’s more a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day seeing a lot of stuff crossed off rather than all the items on a big to do list that still need to be attended to.
  • Getting dedicated office space where I spend 5-10 hours every week when I really need to focus and get things done. Trying to work on administrative items when in a kitchen or when sitting at my dining room table proved to be hard, if not impossible, for me. There were always too many distractions. So I found a co-working space that enables me to rent space by the hour at a really reasonable rate. That’s where I go one day a week and during that day, where there are no distractions to take me away from my tasks, I find that I can oftentimes accomplish everything I’d hoped in far less time.
  • I’d love to know what you’ve found helps you focus and get the work done that needs to get done. How do you make being an entrepreneur work for you time-wise?

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  • Sometimes ‘No’ Just Means Not Now