Do you ever look at the time and wonder where your day went? Wish you had more hours in the day?
It happens to the best of us. know what we need to take care of, but, for whatever reason, we get sidetracked. The truth is that you may just need to be more productive with your time.
We can save so much time in our day if we make a few tweaks to our daily rituals. After all, we have the same amount of time in the day as Beyoncé. Although it may be easier said than done, try out a couple of these strategies and see what becomes most effective for you!
1. Opt out
Before committing to an event, engagement, or post, make sure it fits into your calendar, current goals and your blog/brand's mission. If it does not, cut it out. If it does, but you do not have the time, humbly decline. Others will appreciate you being honest upfront. Plus, this will save you from over promising and under delivering, which is a huge no-no. Gaining time to invest in more important tasks for your blog is a great thing.
2. Take your time back
Day dreaming on Instagram, YouTube, or Twitter? Get your head out of the clouds and focus on your blog. If you are not working (i.e. connecting, posting, or commenting) then get back to work. Try setting aside time throughout the day to embellish in social media. Maybe give yourself 5 minutes 3-4 times a day and then get back to work. Set an alarm to insure you stick to it or listen to your favorite song so you know once it’s up that you need to log off. Also, you can gain some more time in your day by only accepting 30 minute meetings verses one hour meetings. Being prepared with an agenda will also ensure that the group will stick to the tasks at hand.
3. Take the initiative and tackle the most challenging tasks on your list first
By doing this, you'll accomplish everything you need before procrastination can settle in. Those dreadful undesirable tasks that we all prolong and constantly put at the bottom of our lists need to be tackled first. The task needs to get done sooner or later, so why not get it off your plate quickly? A load of relief will be lifted after you tackle this huge task and you can focus 100% on other items on your list. No need in stressing over it for days when you can conquer them first thing in the morning.
4. Set and maintain weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual goals
All of your goals should ladder up to your annual overarching goals. Adding these to your to do list will keep your goals alive week by week. Doing this will make your goals more effective throughout the year. Stay on top of this by scheduling some time every week to go over the next week's and next month's goals. Also, by evaluating your performance the previous week and month and transitioning your strategy, you will see tremendous growth in a shorter period of time. Since you will be analyzing your data weekly, you can be flexible and make changes. All of this can happen just by committing to your goals and schedule.
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Go beyond a to-do list and categorize your tasks in order of importance. I personally add numbers or due dates to rank which tasks are the most important. Another method that may work for you if you are a more visual thinker is the Covey Time Management Grid from Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. If you want to use this method, you can categorize your tasks into 4 areas: important and urgent, important and not urgent, not important and urgent, and not important and not urgent. Whichever method works best for you make sure you stick to it throughout the day.
6. Take advantage of the apps at your fingertips
There are so many mobile applications to help budget our finances, manage our social media, and keep our calendar together. These software, programs, and apps can save you so much time and are usually free. Some of my favorites are Xero, Evernote, Google Calendar, Hootsuite, and Asana. The key to getting the most out of these tools is to start using them immediately to get in the habit of constantly updating them. They say it takes 21 days to start a habit, so get to it!
7. Plan ahead of time
Planning your tasks the night before will help you tackle them the next day. This allows you to be so much more efficient with your time since you do not have to backtrack and think about what you left unfinished from the day before. When the day begins, you already have a list to get started on. Try typing out your to do list on Evernote or adding it to your calendar. Lastly, breaking out your day into sections can also make you more efficient. For example, by tackling your to do list from 9-11am, follow up on emails from 11am-12pm, complete your list 1-2pm, and schedule your meetings from 2-5pm daily will keep you on task and focused.
By simply knocking out the undesirable tasks first, or only touching a project once and moving on, you can save a considerable amount of time. Just think about how much time you can save by implementing one or two of these strategies. Try adding a few to your daily routine and see what happens!
8. Organizing visually
Milanote is a great app that lets you electronically take notes like Evernote, but also organize your notes visually on endless boards, helping you recognize patterns and connections. You can simply add images and move them all around your board, adding notes to them, mentioning team members, and writing captions. Lines and colors help to reinforce the visual format, and its simple text editor lets you make your content pretty without being overwhelmed by formatting.
Milanote is perfect for UX and designers. And best of all – the basic Milanote plan is free.
What do you do to stay productive and maximize your time? I would love to hear from you. What are some of your tips to stay focused and get work done? Let’s chat below.
This post was originally published on April 5th, 2017 by Ashley Austin. It was edited and reposted by Laura Kell on January 22nd, 2018.