Ever feel as if, in your desire to get everything done, you’re not quite doing enough?
All too often, time management tips are a dime a dozen. Some even conflict with each other. What we need is a system that can be adapted no matter our profession.
What system does science say allows us to be most productive? What schedule do pros use? What I have used and can testify to its validity? I am a member of over 27 groups in Bay County, run my own company plus manage a 2nd, have 5 children, attend their football – soccer – volleyball & band events, writing a book, manage & support over 60 businesses & enjoy my playtime~
Do any of you think I have any more hours in the day than you do? We all have the same amount of hours its how we use that time that makes the difference. The key is being in control and making sure your energy levels are matched to the importance of the task at hand.
How do you do work up an actual schedule? I’m not talking about the traditional setting an appointment to meet a client. But an actual planned ‘task’ schedule. You may want to get your calendar or notepad out. We have some things you will want to add to your routine. If you don’t have a routine what we will lay out below will change the way you manage your day to day schedule.
FIRST FIVE MINUTES OF YOUR DAY
- Turn off your alarm (30 seconds): The evening before you will need to place your alarm out of reach, away from your bed, so you have to get up to turn it off. Break out a big smile as you walk, which releases hormones that create happy feelings. Tell yourself it’s going to be a good day — out loud! (Might want to get your significant other in on your morning routine – heads off mild panic attacks when you greet the morning)…
- Let in the light of the sun rising (10 seconds): Wake up with some sunshine, which instantly elevates your mood and sends the signal to your brain that it’s morning. I like to actually walk outside and take a deep cleansing breath.
- Bring on the circulation (one minute): Spend this time moving your body. You can do jumping jacks, sit-ups, or body stretches. Get your yoga on!
- Meditate on your day (one minute): Take time to visualize your day. Imagine your success; how meetings will go, the things you need to remember, and happy outcomes of important conversations and interactions with others. This is some of your most productive thought time of the day – have an idea better write it down!
- Be grateful (30 seconds): Tell yourself what you’re grateful for. Journaling is the best way to use this time. Starting the morning on an appreciative note sets you up for a day that includes higher success & a more positive outcome.
- Make your bed (one minute): Yes, your mother had something there after all! Tidying your bedroom is proven to aid in getting you motivated to leave your room. Mainly because it sets your mind to the track that your day has begun. Bonus is that it’s so nice to come home to a bed that’s already been made.
- Be your own choir of energy (Remaining 50 seconds): Singing is not restricted to the shower anymore. Turn on a song that has some life in the rhythm and sing along as you dance out of your room. Singing releases endorphins, which naturally elevate your mood and energize your body. Plus, it’s entertaining~
MORNING IS WHEN YOUR BRAIN IS AT ITS SHARPEST
The average persons brain is at its most powerful two to four hours after waking – SO DON’T WASTE IT
IMPORTANT WORK FIRST:
Many people arrive at the office and immediately get busy with email and meetings, leaving their real work for later in the day. Rookie error… First order of business in the morning is laying out your tasks by priority do your important work FIRST – with no distractions. Why? To put it bluntly distractions make us loose IQ points & offices are an endless stream of interruptions. So if you don’t hit the ground running with your priority tasks needed for the success of your business what makes you think later on will improve your odds of having quality time? Studies show that alertness and memory, the ability to think clearly and to learn, can vary by between 15% and 30% over the course of a day. Moral of the story if you’re smarter in the morning then don’t you want that brain power working on your most valued tasks?
So make sure you’re making progress on the thing/s that matter. Hint lay out no more than three ‘priority’ tasks and tackle them one at a time before taking on your busy work. You can thank me later when you see the results! Last thought for your morning routine that I want you no, I challenge you to try for at least two weeks is time blocking. Set aside the first FOUR hours (yes I capitalized that so you wouldn’t think it was a typo…) FOUR hours of your day for your most important tasks. When you are at your most ‘ALL POWERFUL’ you want to be the writer, the artist, the producer, the creator, the designer… you get it. Then later in the day you do the tasks that don’t require you to be firing on all cylinders.
But even you can’t sprint for miles. What do you do when your brain gets tired?
This is the time to regroup when you start to slow down: It’s called afternoon brain fog. We’ve all felt it & I can tell you it is not only for the elderly. Why does this happen? Working too hard? Food coma? Squirrel? Often it’s just our natural body clock rhythm telling us we need to reboot.
First, take a break. Taking a break does not mean you’re a slacker. Studies show taking a power break 5-10 minutes every 90 minutes gives our brain a boost and makes us more productive with better results. Get a snack… Take cleansing breathes – stretch the legs. (Your break is for you – make sure you are not disrupting others as they might be in their own 4hr power zone).
Lunch – take it! You need to refuel – mentally and physically. We don’t run on success alone. Stay away from heavy foods that will make you crave a three hour nap! What you need next is a mini version of your morning ritual. Review your goals and the progress you’ve made for your morning. Get your second wind for the next part of your day.
Nothing is more motivating than progress & progress is made when we stay on task completing priorities first.
You took a break, reviewed your goals and achievements, and now you’re ready to work again. What do you focus on for part two of your day?
The needed but not priority items: Meetings, calls & people stuff: When your energy is high 2-4 hours in the morning focus on the creative & challenging work! When energy is in its lower productivity stages then focus on busy work… These are the things you can do as they say blind folded.
One of the most important tricks for maximizing your productivity involves matching your mental state to the task … At 6:00 a.m. I’m a creator, and by 2:00 p.m. I’m a networker… It’s the perfect match of my energy level with a mindless task. For you it might be the developer, the architect or the artist in the morning and the administrator, the task completer, or the communicator in the afternoon. Just make sure whatever you are in the morning is what makes the wheels turn!
So the workday is over. Is that it? Not hardly…
The next thing I want you to add to your schedule: A relaxing evening… Though successful people do work long – long hours, the greats almost all take the evening off to recharge. How many of you have trouble shutting the mind off of work needs? Just about all of us do – why?
A couple reasons:
1) We feel as if we didn’t make enough progress
2) We have pressing matters that are left unresolved
I propose a few things to add to your evening (work) routine… Here comes the rest of the story. I want you to block time before you leave for the day – EVERYDAY to:
1) Write down or mark off your accomplishments if you use an organisational system (there are several good ones out there)
2) Write down the tasks still needed to be worked on for tomorrow or add them to your calendar (those will become your first morning things to do if they are of a priority level)
3) Give yourself permission to call it a day. Yes, sometimes it’s as simple as that – in your mind if you didn’t get all the things you wanted to do done your mind will keep working on them. It won’t get them completed but it will keep you up and add undue stress to your system.
4) Straighten your desk! Why, it helps you mentally put the office to bed like making your bed in the morning make your desk in the evening. Plus, coming into to an organized office helps you stay focused, on track and not get the immediate over whelmed feeling that will cause you to veer off course.
Now do something for you… All day you have been awesome, staying on task & knocking out the work load. So reward yourself. Take a hike, read that book you’ve been looking at for the past month, share a glass of wine or share some light conversation with a friend, pick up a movie and pizza for family night or a board game, lay in the hammock and cloud watch… point is do something everyday that says I love life and am not willing to waste a moment of it!
LASTLY – SLEEP!!!
The bottom line is that sleep loss means valuable mind loss. Sleep loss cripples thinking, in just about every way you can measure thinking. Sleep loss hurts attention, executive function, immediate memory, physical negative effects, slows working memory, mood, quantitative skills, logical reasoning ability, and in general makes you act like a cranky pill. Your body regenerates best in a sleep state so if you are working hard now so that you can enjoy life do you really want to do it from a wheel chair? Take care of your body and it will take care of you – you can make excuses for anything but you have to ask yourself if you want to make progress to change things for the better why allow yourself the negativity of an excuse to hold you back?
An excuse is the reason you are giving yourself for not doing things you know you need to do – so… No Excuses! Live Life to its fullest & start now because tomorrow will always be the excuse that holds you back.