Time Management Tips to Increase Productivity
Time management always seems to be a hot topic no matter the industry. You can Google time management and get a million different articles to read. I wanted to share some of my time management tips with you in a series of blog posts.
Learning About Time Management
A few weeks ago, I was on my weekly marketing call with Beth and Phil and Beth gave me one of the best compliments ever. She said I am really good at managing my time and she is always impressed with how well I can do it. That’s an especially big deal since we work from home and it’s easy to get off track and not manage your time well.
Over the past three years, I have developed a time management system that works for me. In the beginning, I had to really work on time management and become very good at it since living in Jakarta threw me some curve balls – a) bad traffic which means that simple errands took three times as long, b) take my kids back and forth to school and after school activities since there is no school bus, c) the time difference from home. All were huge factors in managing my time.
We all have things that affect our time and learning how to manage it better is the biggest step. In this series, I’m going to share some things that have helped me develop better time management skills.
Figure out what works for you
Yes, there are lots of people that tell you this is the best way to manage your time. Trust me; I have probably tried them all. Block scheduling, lists, using an electronic calendar, using a paper calendar, bullet journal, Post-it notes, etc. I’ve found what works for one person may not work for another.
I used to put everything on my Outlook calendar and use the block scheduling method. I found this to be hard since my position requires me to be creative. I needed to be able to work on whatever was on my mind at that time instead of what my calendar dictated.
I know for many sales people this works great. They can block out chunks of time to make phone calls, check email, follow up on leads, etc. Not only did this not work for me because of the creative aspect, it also didn’t work for me because I would move my blocks to accommodate other things. Lack of commitment is one of the biggest issues I see with block scheduling. Those blocks are designed to secure that time, to make it sacred. That block should be a priority and it shouldn’t be moved or tampered with unless there is a real emergency. The reality is, once you move it, it’s not sacred and will be easier to move again. It’s just not a priority.
I missed writing and, more specifically, writing in a planner. I had my first planner when I was in junior high school. I have always been a reading/writing learner, so I went back to a planner. I started off with just a daily calendar version where I could schedule time, but then I realized that all I was trying to do was block schedule manually instead of electronically, so I had to go back to the drawing board. It ended up taking me trying a few different options before I figured out that bullet journaling was what worked best for me.
Each day I write down all the things I have thought about or need to get done. Then I check my email and list out more tasks based on the emails I received overnight. For me, this works great! I have a list of everything that needs to get done. I can pick and choose what I want to work on at that time and it feels great at the end of the day when I have checked off everything that needs to get done. This saved me time because I don’t have to go back to look for emails or wonder what I need to work on now. I just go to the next task. If you want to be good at time management, you have to stick to what works for you.
Challenge for the Month
Before I go too far with other tips, I have a challenge for you this month. Try a few different types of lists and time management styles. You could try a new one each week or split the month in two and try each one for a couple of weeks. The goal is to help you think about your time and start managing it better. At the end of the month, we will follow up and see which style worked best for you and tell you how to move forward to the next step. Don’t hesitate to email me with questions or if you want more information on the various options I tested. I’m here to help!