Time Management

hand with hourglass above it

As a business owner, managing your day can be tricky. I don’t know about you but some days I wake up and I just don’t know where to start! Sometimes there is so much to do that it can be paralysing and that really effects my productivity. So to get myself organised and make the most of my day I’ve started implementing the following strategies.

Whiteboard Overview

I didn’t realise until recently how valuable this is for your business. I have accumulated lists everywhere: scrawled in notebooks, on bits of paper and in my phone notes app but what I was missing was an overview of my business plan that I could see every day! I include my business goals, services I offer and intend to offer, resources that I am developing, types of content that I need to produce and the theme(s) I will be working on that month. The idea is that by focusing on one theme at a time and creating different types of content I can use this across all elements of my business. I’ll maybe create a blog post, a handy guide, social media content and imagery. These link across my lists enabling me to build a content structure for the month and I can see what I need to accomplish without feeling overwhelmed.

Whiteboard with business outline on it
I’ve started cleaning it off ready for December!

Time Blocks

Like most creatives I have found that I can get distracted by everything I need to do and end up losing focus. I am currently trying something new with my schedule where I block my day off for certain tasks:

  • 7am-9am: Work on my business
  • 9am – 4pm: Client Work
  • 4pm – 6pm: Work on my skillset and improve my knowledge

I know that there are people that block their entire day off into smaller chunks and steadfastly stick to this. That’s probably a little too strict for my needs as I like to go with the creative flow if necessary. Time blocking does help you have an overview of your day though and allows you to structure business goals and projects more effectively.

Bullet journal page

3 Things! – Bullet Journal

Alongside time blocking I recommend keeping a daily bullet journal – but not writing it days in advance – instead write it the night before or in the morning. I stick to the 3 things principle where I choose three main things that I need to achieve that day. I don’t fill the page with everything on my to do list as seeing it in front of me is completely overwhelming! This is allowing me to actually get things done rather than sit paralysed staring at my to do list. If I have time left at the end of the day I can add something else too! It’s also a really useful tool to look back and map your progress when you feel like you haven’t achieved much.

Reminder Apps

Whether you use them on your computer or on your phone these are super useful to set at the beginning of the day to alert you to the end of a time block. I also have one set for the end of the day as I can easily forget to stop and switch off!

Online Calendar

One of the first things I open in the morning and it stays open all day. My Google Cal merges several calendars that I use and is absolutely essential for an overview of my schedule. Everything is colour coded so I can quickly see impending deadlines, meetings and events. It’s useful for looking back to track my business mileage and I even have an ‘availability’ calendar so my clients can see when I have time for phone calls and meetings. I also love that it syncs across all my devices even my Alexa!

Email Checking Schedule

Yes, the dreaded ping of an arrival in my inbox has distracted me many times from my workflow and I have decided, commencing this week, to mute the flipping thing! I feel like Pavlov’s dog leaping to attention, conditioned to the noise of someone’s mail landing on my virtual doormat. Just like my actual doormat it’s normally junk and it disrupts my concentration and breaks my workflow. I am going to commit to checking it at 9am, 12 noon, 3pm and just before I switch my computer off. I’m not confident I’ll stick to it but it’s worth a try!

I’ve come back to this to add that muting my emails has made a massive improvement to my focus throughout the day! Sometimes I only check in the morning and at the end of the day if I’m in a creative flow. Turn off your pings!

Screen shot of Loomly calendar view for social media schedling

Scheduling Tools

These are invaluable for making sure your business is visible on social media when you are focusing on your clients. Creating content regularly can be overwhelming and tedious but by creating posts in bulk and ‘setting and forgetting’ you can have peace of mind your business is present online even if you are not. There are many online platforms that offer scheduling for free, with paid plan options for more features. I use Loomly (which is a paid plan with a free trial) but I do recommend Later‘s free plan for anyone just trying a scheduler out. It’s also one of the only platforms that has auto-posting to Instagram.

Online Note Takers

I know these are really a productivity tool but I’ve found that by keeping all my notes in one place I can quickly navigate through the pages to find information and copy that I’ve saved. I don’t have to keep opening Word docs to find scattered and unlinked content. It’s all in one place which is useful for quick notes that are not worth the effort of creating a Word document (that I’ll probably never find again). I’m currently a big fan of OneNote – it’s like a big binder that I can add images, links and even embed documents to. I have it open all day and, as it syncs across all devices, if I’m out and about with my laptop I can still access everything I need. I know there are other options like Evernote and Zoho that are worth a try too.

I hope you found these tips useful. I have noticed a marked increase productivity since I’ve started implementing these strategies!

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