2 Tips to Owning Your Time
Are you overwhelmed by a never-ending list of to-dos? Or spend the entire day working, only to find that you didn’t accomplish one of the most important things you had on your list? Perhaps you think multitasking is the answer to optimal time management, so you attempt to load the dishes and listen to voicemails while responding to emails.
I always considered myself a great multi-tasker. I’d have several projects, activities, and commitments going on at once. While I (usually) finished, it was last minute—not my best quality—and worse, I felt overwhelmed.
Hit with the realization that my approach might not be the best, I did a bit of research on the effectiveness of multitasking. To my surprise, I learned it can actually decrease effectiveness because the mind pulls in too many directions at once.
Today, I’d like to share the two techniques my research lead me to, that have absolutely revolutionized the way I tackle tasks, what I am able to accomplish within a day, and have renewed my peace of mind. I now work less, get more done, and actually enjoy my leisure time, without thinking of work!
So, are you ready to rework the outlook of your day-to-day?
STOP WASTING TIME SWITCHING TASKS & USE TIME BLOCKING
Dedicate one block of time to one TYPE of task.
Time blocking, a specific form of time management, can help alleviate the anxiety of a hectic day, and BOOST PRODUCTIVITY by directing your focus on the job at hand, and off everything else.
First off, get yourself a day planner and SCHEDULE EVERYTHING that is important . . . Appointments, workouts, leisure time, work, and anything else that requires your attention.
Realize that the time spent switching BETWEEN tasks—from email to a phone call, or from household chore to work project—requires mental energy on top of the focus needed to complete the task at hand! You may think you’re multitasking, but by going back and forth between tasks, you’re actually wasting valuable time and energy with each mental transition. Time management is key!
Instead, focus on batching like tasks together. Schedule one or two blocks of time to respond to emails each day, rather than replying as requests come in. Plan a separate block of time to return phone calls. You need significant mental preparation, especially if you’re in sales or run your own business. Shorten your overall time spent dedicated to returning calls by doing them back-to-back. Even household tasks become quicker to do if you devote a specific time block to start and finish them, instead of leaving your home littered with half-finished chores (clean, unfolded laundry on the bed, or an empty dishwasher with dishes left in the sink).
An hour is typically the mind’s maximum limit to stay actively focused, so block an hour and then give yourself a short break. Have a snack, meditate, or complete a low-level task before starting the next hour block of time.
THE MAGIC OF POWER SESSIONS
Your goal is to create dedicated blocks of uninterrupted time where you will complete ONE project from start to finish.
Distraction is a one-way road that leads straight to unproductiveness. Don’t allow your mind to strain in several directions when you should focus on the assignment in front of you. Break the cycle, and set yourself up for success by scheduling what I call POWER SESSIONS.
A power session is where you carve out a 20-60 minute block of time without interruption. This means no phone, email, social media . . . or anything that isn’t related to that task. Time management at its best!
I made a goal to complete three POWER SESSIONS a day for a week, to decide if it was a strategy worth implementing permanently. My first power session was a challenge. I was SO used to engaging with one (or several) of the many distractions around me while working. After pushing past the initial struggle, the magic happened! I was able to achieve real focus. Suddenly, I was working quicker and with greater quality than ever before! It felt like I’d unearthed the hidden secret to boosting productivity.
Now, before you get to work reorganizing your week utilizing time blocking and power sessions, here are few things to keep in mind:
- Your willpower and mental focus are at their peak at the beginning of the day. Leverage this and tackle big fires and your least favorite assignments in the morning.
- Schedule high-priority tasks first. Blocking time to complete what’s most urgent first will reduce stress by taking the weight of that job off your mind.
- After scheduling important items, next block out remaining projects.
- Bump your least favorite chore to the top of your priority list. Don’t spend the day avoiding it, only to put it off until the next day. One of the biggest pitfalls to creating the outcome you are seeking is procrastination.
Remember, you must have self-discipline and commit to time management and being productive within your time blocks and power sessions if you want to be successful. It sounds intimidating, but getting things done, and done well, will fire you up! Integrating these strategies into your life will be so easy. Now, just sit down and schedule away!
Love & power sessions,
P.S. Another part of owning your time is minimizing time in distractions or being upset! Turn bad days into bad moments with strategies that will help you choose your focus!