What are you doing all day?
How to stay on top of your time to achieve your goals
I have always seen myself as super organized, some people in my life may use the word OCD/extreme type A. Yet, when I started to work for myself all that seems to be a bit more difficult to keep up with.
It has taken me studying, and really bringing awareness to myself around time management, and where I use my time. Honestly, this continues to be a work in progress for me.
I have always been a morning person, get up, workout, make breakfast and take on the day. Yet I would notice that halfway through my day my to-do list is still a mile long and I am feeling stress and freaking out. Or I’d waste time with non-essential tasks in the week, meaning I’d have to work through the weekend to get the real work done.
Now I’ve realized that getting laser focused for me on the work I need to get done so I can have more freedom throughout the rest of my life, has and continues to be my goal. Maybe this would look like taking the weekends off guilt free or planning a dinner with friends without feeling the pull of my inbox to get me. I’m certainly not immune to procrastination, and there are still weekends that I set aside fun for work and getting stuff done, and my life is getting better in balance that it ever has been.
Here’s what worked for me…
1. TAKE 10
If you were working for someone else you would have breaks as part of your day, and somehow I forget this when I became the boss.I know, it sounds counter-intuitive but the more breaks you take, the more you get done. Your brain needs to not be looking at the screen or solving your client’s problems.
I’ve experimented with different time frames and I’ve found when I notice myself sliding over to social media or getting distracted when clients are talking then I have gone too long without a break. What works best for me is every 2-3 clients and every 90 minutes I need to take 10. Any longer working and I start to get less productive, much longer on a break and it’s tough to get back into work after.
2. PLAN YOUR TIME
This is continuously something I have to be mindful of and really stay on top of. What I like to do plan out my day in the morning using my planner. If you have not downloaded your FREE copy– do it NOW!
For example here is what my day today looked like:
Being conscious of what you’re doing and how you’re spending your time is helpful for stopping yourself falling into procrastination traps. I know this might now be I for everyone, and I find using this technique really helps keep me accountable and on task.
3. DO THE RIGHT WORK AT THE RIGHT TIME
When I first started working for myself, I scheduled eight clients back to back in one day — CRAZY!!!
Not only did I have no time to eat lunch, return emails, think, there was no wiggle room for anything! I also didn’t realize that I was trying so hard to get everything done and I felt completely out of flow and drained.
Over time I’ve realized that I should do creativity work like writing blog posts in the morning. Then after lunch, I can switch my brain to clients and focus more on them. Also, I learned I need to devote a day only to stuff like admin and social media marketing that requires a different type of brain power and focus.
4. BREAK DOWN BIG TASKS
A major source of procrastination that leads to the arms going up in the air and me walking away is the crippling feeling of overwhelm and that I won’t get this project done. for me is worrying that I have too much to do.
What has been super helpful for me is breaking things down into manageable chunks. You might have heard me talk about this on Facebook I like to take a BIG task and break it down into a million 30 min tasks that I can plug into my day.
5. CLOSE SOME TABS
So here is what my tab bar looks like on a normal day. I use my tabs as a running to do or reminder of things I want to look at later.
And I know this is a HUGE distraction for me when I need to focus on something like charting or book keeping. What I will do is move to a new desktop and open only one tab and work from there. Once everything is done then I can come back to the crazy tab land. I have to remind myself that most emails can wait 45 minutes and Facebook will carry on fine without me.
When I need to be crazy focused I will even put my phone on airplane mode!
Leave a comment below about how you stay focused and on top of your time during the day.
Adrien Paczosa is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian practicing in Austin, Texas and the surrounding counties.
She is the owner and founder of I Live Well Nutrition her Dietitian practice which started in 2007 and serves clients in the Austin, Texas area in two locations. Fearless Practitioners, the division of her business that offers training to dietitians and wellness professionals.