I have always considered myself to be organized for most of my life – especially when it comes to managing my time.
That was until I started working for myself. Shortly into the freelance game, I realized work was consuming such a big part of my me and that led to poorer eating habits, less exercise, and a horrible sleeping schedule. The result of this was a loss of drive and excitement about my work. So when I finally burnt out, I made the decision to switch things up. Since then, things have improved in work and in life. I’m going to share those few easy ways to improve your time management skills if you’re struggling with it too!
Make note of distractions and refrain from them
Give yourself three days to work as you normally do before switching up your routine. In those days, observe where you’re losing time and why.
You guys know that my work involves writing – and the biggest culprit stealing that time from my work was emails/chatting especially around noon! I had a bad habit of checking my emails constantly, reading Facebook messages, and texting my family. After learning about context switching, I began cutting out those subtle activities that distract me throughout the day. The result: more work accomplished! This does require some discipline, but after about a week, it essentially becomes routine.
Spend an hour to yourself every morning
I know this sounds counter productive but trust me, it’s a huge game changer. Your morning basically sets the tone for the rest of your day and if you wake up in a flurry, your day will end up the same. Meanwhile, if you wake up productive, the entire day will be so. That mean if you need to wake up an hour earlier, do it.
I typically spend 10-15 minutes of this first hour meditating, visualizing my success, and centering myself. It energizes me for the day. Next, I eat breakfast while listening to an audio book for about 20-30 minutes, and this puts me in the right mindset. If you haven’t learned by now, mindset is EVERYTHING.
The rest of the hour can be spent mapping out your to-do list for the day, catching up on emails received over night, or leisure online browsing.
Use technology to your advantage
I’ve been known to have crazy memory, but even I know that you can only remember so much. I’ve learned the hard way not to rely solely on memory alone. Instead, I now make better use of my phone and tech to keep my deadlines and to-dos in check! Apps like Wunderlist, Reminders, and Trello are essential to my workflow – especially when it comes to juggling multiple client work.
Set daily and weekly goals
Setting long-term goals are important but because they’re often so far away, you can lose motivation about them. To combat this, I started setting even shorter term goals daily and weekly, which I find to be more exciting and productive.
At the start of each week, write down 3 things you want to accomplish by the end of the week as well as for each day. Those goals should align with your bigger vision and help you accomplish more.
Set expectations and delegate
The lack of work life balance was mostly my fault since I set the expectation that I’m readily available to work around the clock. I’ve now marked my weekends as time for family and early mornings as busy. This is what’s really saved my sanity! Be realistic and lay out your expectations early on, which means saying NO if you don’t have capacity to do more and be unapologetic about it.
I realize most of you may not have an employee, but if you’re in a place to delegate, do so! You should have a good idea of what you’re able to handle when you start mapping your day out in the beginning. A small cost in the short term always pays off in the long run.
How do you manage your time?
Image Credits: Harper’s Bazaar