3 Systems to effectively manage your time

Wether you ‘don’t have the time’ to go through your to-do list or you do but you tend to postpone it over and over again, you are keeping yourself busy with non-important things, and this is the reason you are not being productive. People have started to get more and more busy but less and less productive. Stretching our calendars too thin and still not feeling accomplished. Frustrating isn’t it? 

So this is how it usually goes:

STEP 1:

We plan our to-do lists. They look fabulous and we make ourselves a soul promise that we will do it all. 

STEP 2:

Suddenly during the day we come across something ‘urgent’ that need our attention. So we convince ourselves that we need to do these now instead. Basically we start throwing our plan away…

STEP 3:

Other times, we look at our agenda and we see it in front of our eyes, this huuuge task that needs most of our attention, but well…you know…actually don’t need to do it immediately… Sometimes we may feel we don’t have the energy, the inspiration or the time. So you think for yourself: ‘It can wait. I will start it tomorrow, when I have more energy’. And we jump on doing something else that we have more energy for: 

STEP 4: 

It is the next day and guess what? The task was not accomplished either.. The day we are waiting for our inspiration, time and energy to come never comes. So at the end of the day, after doing unimportant things whether they look like productive things or unproductive things, we feel the same: unaccomplished and frustrated. 

productivity habits - blog


Well this is where it gets interesting… It’s not about managing our time, but about managing ourselves! If you want to achieve direction, balance and purpose to the way we spend our time each day (Specially if you are working full time and building your online business on the side) you need to master your schedule!

I truly believe that the way you spend your time is the way you see your time and your priorities. That is what sets apart the busy vs. The productive people.

  1. busy people focus on action and productive people focus on getting clarity. 
  2. Productive people focus on getting what matters done, instead of trying to divide their hours into trying to finish different urgent tasks.
  3. Productive people understand the difference between urgent and important and have a clear mission with few priorities.

For me productivity comes down to figuring out what is essential and creating a system that facilitates this. Think about where you are going to invest your time. Think about it before you jump into a decision. Deciding with randomness is not good.

Figure out what you are trying to say to the world, what is the message I am trying to get through and then use the tools to make that happen. And when you decide to go for it, push hard!

HABIT 1. PRIORITISE: 

Have a clear mission and vision:

We need to subordinate our schedule to our deepest values. There is only one way to getting the right things done and that is to know what the right things are. We need to ask ourselves the right questions on where we are spending our time, energy and effort.

In order to decide where to spend our time on, we need to have clarity on our mission and vision for our future. Your mission can help you make decisions, avoid repeating mistakes and figure your purpose in life. It gives you direction towards your values, your highest level of contribution and what is really important and essential for you. This is where we would like to focus when we are deciding where to spend our time. You can discover your mission by identifying the below: 

  1. Your past successes: Spend some time identifying four or five examples where you have had personal success in recent years. These successes could be at work, in your community, at home, etc. Write them down.  
  2. Your core values: Develop a list of attributes that you believe identify who you are and what your priorities are.
  3. Your highest level of contribution: Make a list of ways you would like to make a difference in others and identify your short and long term goals.

HABIT 2. FOCUS:

Block scheduling and Batching:

Want to tackle things in one go? Then Batching or block scheduling is for you. This basically consists in knocking out similar tasks at the same time, like we do with laundry. Whenever the dirty laundry is full, we make one wash. Imagine making a wash for every piece of clothes that we have! Crazy right? Well this is how we normally proceed with things like emails, meetings, calls, creative work, etc. If it works with the laundry, watering the plants or doing the groceries, why wouldn’t it give the same results for other tasks? 

All you need to do is plan ahead and consolidate tasks. This will save you time in the long-run, prevent you from task switching and distractions, help you clear some space to build momentum, create flow and enjoy the work that you’re doing. I use this specially when creating content like newsletters, posting on social Media, writing blog posts or you can use it also for editing videos or recording your podcasts, you name it…

  1. Collect: Whenever you come up with a new idea, write it down in your note book.
  2. Plan: Once you have a collection of ideas, set aside some time to work on them.
  3. Work: Work your way through the task so that in little time you have accomplished one month’s worth of creation (e.g. writing weekly newsletters for the whole month, creating weekly posts for your social media platforms…)
  4. Automate: Schedule them to be sent once a week to send them out. This works out for when writing your newsletter, updating your social media platforms.

HABIT 3. CHOOSE: 

Creating a buffer system:

Unexpected things will come up, and in order to avoid hour schedule crumble, we need to create a buffering system. You cannot take any project that comes to you. You may feel tempted by all of them, but calculate that everything takes 3x more time and money.

Don’t take on too many things, so that you can give space to more meaningful things. Things that are more important to you, that feel right to you. Be careful of what you take on. Pause before thinking, take your time, build work over time. Knowing what we know about unexpected things, create an upper and lower bound to start doing things, and ensure consistency mindset.

Certainly we don’t want to see ourselves working for our planner, but instead, we want our planner to work for us. Therefore, the secret to time management comes down to organising and executing your tasks around your priorities. To save you time 😉 the key takeaways to take action and be consistent are: 

  1. don’t spend your time working aimlessly, tackling whatever job is at hand and align your actions to your vision and mission.
  2. don’t spend time on urgent and unimportant tasks, and focus on what is most important and brings you closer to your vision of the future. We need to subordinate our schedule to our deepest values.
  3. don’t spend time reacting to things happening to you, and assume responsibility to take action for your life.

You will always have urgent tasks to fill up your entire day. But you can always choose to reach productivity on any given day. But remember, just focus your energy on the important things. If you would like get hands-on maximising your schedule check out our free Life and Time Management Guide that will help you create a self-tailored system to help you prioritise.  

So how about you, did your schedule take over or do you have it under control? Also, if you would like to know more about productivity in the blog let us know in the comments! 

All the best,

Naomi Rodriguez