4 Tried-And-True Time Management Strategies I’m Working On With A Coach
What happens when you find out that time management just isn’t your thing and you need help?
Well, that’s what I discovered about myself.
When I had a 9 to 5 job, I would always nag about not having time to dedicate to my passion projects or even for not having enough “me time”.
I would often be so exhausted that once I got home, I could only be bothered to prepare something to eat and enjoy some couch potato time.
When I gathered some courage and decided to become self-employed, mainly working from home, I thought that it would finally be the time to make that happen. And yet, I still kept finding myself struggling to find time to do the things I wanted to do.
On top of that, I started feeling overwhelmed by guilt for not doing what I set out to do.
1. Acknowledge we need help to be more productive
When being self-employed didn’t give me the power to be more productive and I kept not ticking those things off my list, I asked myself: “What is my problem? Why I can’t accomplish things the way I planned?”
While wondering all these I realized what my biggest problem was. Clearly, I was awful at time management. I needed help.
Effective time management is one of the top things that entrepreneurs struggle with, especially during these times in which almost everybody’s businesses are home-based.
Have you noticed that some days seem to vanish in a mysterious way? And you realize you lost yourself while scrolling down on the ‘gram or you spent hours researching on Pinterest for some kind of inspiration?
It’s ok if it happens once in a while, but when it started happening regularly, I decided to reach a coach to shine some light on all these issues.
She started off by some basic questions on productivity like:
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?
2. Make the most of the unexpected
One of the first lessons I took from my coach was that we can plan and project our day, but we can never predict 100% how things will unfold.
New things pop up throughout the day, sometimes priorities may change or shift a bit and there will also be that one topsy-turvy day that everything seems to be going wrong. Tell me I’m not alone!
When unexpected things happen, it’s really important to review your schedule and adjust it accordingly. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t follow it completely. If your day didn’t go as planned just give yourself permission to move on.
Work smarter, not harder.
3. Pay attention to your energy levels
The second lesson was deciding on my highest functioning times.
I found I get the most creative after 4 pm and at night (yes, I am a night owl), so I started scheduling everything creative during these times, like writing, looking for inspiration on Pinterest, creating content for LinkedIn and designing on Canva and on Google Spark Post.
Another super relevant hint is to track your energy drivers.
Ok, but what are energy drivers and why it’s essential to track them?
Well, they are the things you feel most engaged on and as a result, they boost your energy levels. For some it is a sweaty work out session, for others like me, it’s yoga or guided meditation and journaling. It can be a walk around your favorite park as well. Whatever your energy driver is, it will increase your focus and accelerate your workflow.
If you are interested in learning more on energy drivers and you enjoy listening to podcasts check out this episode of Mindful Productivity podcast.
4. Batch tasks and time block
Another invaluable lesson was batching tasks into time blocks. There is no doubt at all that it will also help you to see when you can work most productively.
The first thing to remember though is that you already need to have your to-do list set beforehand. Having a clear idea of all the tasks you want to complete in that week is key for an effective time blocking.
A reminder from myself to you: Time blocking is not a time for multitasking.
In my first week testing it, I was randomly setting chunks of time and inevitably I started jumping from one task to another and I soon felt very overwhelmed.
So the best thing is to start off by blocking all those set-in-stone appointments (video calls, meetings, webinars, online classes, etc.)
Then let your most important goal of the day or creative tasks blocked at your most productive time.
Always remember to schedule in all those activities that are considered your energy drivers. They are the ones that will keep you up and running after all!
A great hint as well is to overestimate the time it takes to do a task. Wait… what? Isn’t it counterproductive when talking all about time management?
Well, everyone assumes that every time they get their laptops to start working, it will be a perfect, undistracted flow. I assure you: It almost never happens this way.
Those are the lessons I’ve been learning from my coach on time management, and I’d love to hear, what are the time-management strategies you’re working on?