Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.
Paul J. Meyer
Time management is not a simple thing. Time has the strangest quality. Some days seem to be dragging, never-ending, and others seem to vanish in a mysterious way. This is why I came up with 4 time management rules that help to keep my work day structured and super productive.
I wear a few hats during my day. I am a mother, I own a business where I do work for clients, but I also have my own projects I am running and creating. Working from home as I do, also means I am responsible for the house being organized so I can work there in a productive way. This is what many of us “mompreneurs” and “work from home bloggers”/business owners deal with. This is why I came up with my first time management rule which I like to call my “anchor system”.
My Ancor System basically means I have a few daily anchor tasks which determine the flow of each of my work days.
The anchors remain the same each day, I structure my schedule according to it. The change is in the tasks I have to perform.
The 3 anchors in my day are:
1. Morning Routine – get kids ready for school, drop them at school.
Get back home and get the house in order so I can create a calm and organized work environment.
Once I’m done, I get a cup of coffee and sit down to work.
2. Noon routine – I get about 5 hours of work done and then I make lunch for myself and for the kids once they return and I get 3 more quiet hours of work done.
3. Kids come home – then I get 4 hours of KIDS ONLY time. Once they are in bed I get through my evening work routine which consists of one hour tops of work, read some blogs, do a little pinning, scroll through my social media accounts and then that’s that. It’s ME time:) this is how my day is structured and it is very consistent, which help me structure the work hours I get in between these anchors.
Which brings me to how I structure my actual work hours.
Much like my daily anchors – I have weekly anchors too. I have days in the week I dedicate to the same tasks each week. For example, Monday is about scheduling all the posts of the different social media platforms, using the different scheduling tools. Tuesday is usually the more creative day (brainstorming and creating new blog posts, creating new ads, copywriting etc. Wednesday is mostly about clients work. this helps me stay on top of my goals. Those tasks go on my Trello board too.
One of the best time management tips I got from a mentor was the 15 minutes rule. Apparently, there is a study that says that the amount of time we can stay focused on a single task is 15 minutes.
According to this study, we should break down our work day to 15 minutes time slots followed by 10 minutes break every hour. When I heard that I was kind of skeptical. There are tasks – like writing a post for example that takes much much longer than that. But Those tasks can be broken down into parts too, which is what I do. For instance, writing a post. I start by creating a plan for the post, then I start fleshing it out by paragraph, then comes editing, then comes images and so on. Each of those tasks takes a time slot, In between I take “mental health” breaks. Have a coffee, breath some fresh air, read something for fun. The amount of productivity I get out of this system – is incredible. The plus is, I don’t feel drained by the time I complete a task.
Consistency is key – that applies to time management too.
I make a very detailed plan to each day to make the most of it. While making a daily schedule, I put in the 3 anchors right away, then I move on to the few daily work tasks I perform each day, at the same hours. Most of those tasks have to do with social media. I do use scheduling apps like Tailwind, Buffer, and the Facebook scheduling tool to pre-plan much of my work, but I like to keep it organic too. With Pinterest, I adhere to the manual pinning approach. I use tailwind but more as a supplement than as the main strategy, and with Twitter and Instagram engagement with others is super important. It’s not easy keeping up with all of the social media platforms. This is why I go through mine, three times a day at the same hours so I am systematic about it. This way it doesn’t get away from me. I mostly engage with others in real time and schedule most of my posts ahead of time. This simplifies the flow of my day.
I believe in keeping things visual which is why I use a planner of sorts.
The tool I use for visualizing and planning my day is Trello. Now, I admit, I wasn’t a fan to begin with. I was used to traditional planners with hourly time slots and such. However, once I switched to the 15-minute time slots cycle, it became too time-consuming to play with the hours and such. I liked Trello because I could break things down as I wanted it, color code, and time it as I like, and then move things around easily. I don’t take advantage of all that it offers, I use the free plan, it’s enough for me and it fits my needs.
So to sum it up, my 4 time management rules for keeping up with my daily goals and tasks:
- Having daily and weekly anchors that break up my day/week.
- The 15 minutes work/10 minutes break time slots.
- Doing daily tasks at the same hour each day.
- Using Trello (or whichever daily planner you like) to keep my schedule visual.
How do you keep on top of your tasks and goals? Which tools do you use to manage your time? Are you a schedule person or a go with the flow person? I would love for you to share in the comments.
For more tips about being productive and effective in your business try this post.