Time management strategies to maximize productivity

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Time management, no matter what you are doing, is always something that we all want more of. Honestly, I’ve always thought I had pretty good time management skills because I balanced a LOT of things while in college.. From regular school work, cheerleading practice, workouts, studying, work, etc.

I thought I had it all figured out because I was able to fit so many things to fit into my day!

But, no matter what you are trying to balance, there’s always time management skills that need to be learned & developed. While I was balancing many things, I was 20 years old and got very tired and burnt out by the end of each semester. It just wasn’t a reasonable lifestyle to carry with me into my professional career.

No matter where you are in life & what brought you to this post, I hope I can provide some really valuable insight into the strategies that I’ve been able to learn. These are strategies that aren’t just going to provide short-term relief, but what I learned in order to make long-term changes.
Related: Tips for working from home, Preparing for the best week ever

We all have so many things to get done in the day. We want to be productive & to feel like we have developed a good routine for ourselves. I went through trial & error, learned the hard way, so I can share with you all of the secrets! 

Let’s dig right in! <3

PIN NOW, READ LATER!

MAP OUT YOUR SCHEDULE

I have found that when I dedicate time to map out my schedule for the upcoming week, it makes it a lot easier to get everything planned & organized. Personally, I hate the feeling of being unorganized & not knowing what to focus on each day. Mapping out my schedule helps with keeping everything nice & organized so I know exactly what I’m doing each day! 

Sooo… What do I mean by “map out your schedule”

Every week, I go to my planner and write in obligations so I know what I have going on & when. Being able to see this helps me keep everything organized & see when I am available to get work done, ect. 

I write out things like:

  • Meetings
  • Gym
  • Appointments

I also like to write in travel time as well!

PRO TIP: Pick a day each week to dedicate to planning out the upcoming week. For me, I like to sit down Fridays and do this because I like to relax for the most part on Sunday’s.

Related: Tips for working from home

BRAIN DUMP

After you’ve mapped out your week, it’s time to brain dump! How you brain dump is completely up to you. 

You can either:

  • Do 1 mass list with everything
  • Organize by categories

Maybe you do both! Make 1 mass list, then organize that list into categories. Whatever works for you! There is no right or wrong way to brain dump, as long as you find it to be helpful!

BREAK IT DOWN

Make sure your brain dump list is broken down into actionable steps that you actually need to do. 

For example, writing “work on blog post” is very vague & doesn’t really tell me exactly what I need to do to “work on blog post”. For me, “work on blog post” is broken down into things like:

  • Start a bullet point outline in Google Docs
  • Move draft to WordPress
  • Finish outline
  • Take pictures
  • Add pictures to post

See how those bullet points are a lot more detailed?! Being able to see exactly what needs to be done helps with getting everything organized so I know exactly what I need to do.

ORDER OF IMPORTANCE

Often, it can be overwhelming to look at your long brain dump list and see everything that you want to get done. But, don’t think that you have to get them all done right away.

Once you have your list, put the items in order of importance from what needs to get done ASAP to what can wait.

PICK 3 AREAS OF FOCUS

After you’ve brain dumped everything & put the item in order of importance, pick 3 things to focus on each day. Yes, just THREE!

Have you ever had so much on your to do list that you spent more time thinking about & stressing out about everything that you have to do, rather than actually getting stuff done? SAME. More times than I would like to admit. 

Picking 3 things to focus on takes away the pressure & overwhelm so you actually focus & get stuff done.

WHAT WORKS FOR YOU?

As we all are aware, everyone is different, which means the ideal schedule looks different for everyone. 

For me, I know I work better first thing in the morning & tend to slow down as the day goes on. I like to get all the tasks that requires the most brain power from 7am-11am & save the other tasks for the afternoon. 

I know my motivation starts slowing down from 11am-2pm, so I let myself take a break & do low energy things. Sometimes I will run some errands at this time, take my cat outside, check my social media accounts, as well as my clients. If I feel like I am having trouble concentrating in the afternoon, I’ll go to a coffee shop for a couple hours to get some work done.

You know yourself better than anyone so you know what works best for you. It might take some trial & error, but I promise it’s worth it when you get it figured out!

OTHER STRATEGIES TO TRY OUT

CATEGORIZE DAYS/WEEKS/MONTHS

Something that might help you organize your time is dedicating days/weeks/months to certain tasks so you’re not trying to do multiple things each day. You can also do this based on your focus for each week, or even a month. 

This strategy is especially helpful if you are trying to balance multiple tasks that can be time consuming & a bit overwhelming to try to dedicate time each day. 

Here’s how to use this strategy:

DAILY ORGANIZATION

Personally, this is my favorite way to get organized! For daily organization, you pick a day each week that you are going to dedicate to getting certain tasks done. 

For example:

  • Mondays: [PLANNING] Brainstorm upcoming social media posts, research for upcoming blog posts, write outline for blog post(s)
  • Tuesdays: [PICTURES/GRAPHICS] Make social media graphics, pinterest graphics, take pictures for blog posts/ social media posts, add pictures/ graphics to blog post(s)
  • Wednesdays: [WRITING] Write captions for social media posts, write/update pin descriptions, finalize blog post
  • Thursdays: Schedule social media posts, schedule pins, schedule next blog post
  • Fridays: Finish any tasks not finished, plan out next week
  • Saturdays/Sundays: Busy work- i.e. clear computer desktop

WEEKLY ORGANIZATION

Maybe focusing on certain tasks for a whole week works better for you. Depending on what it is that you are wanting to organize, you can dedicate a specific tasks to certain weeks throughout the month.

For  example:

  • WEEK 1: Focus on social media planning
  • WEEK 2: Focus on writing blog posts
  • WEEK 3: Focus on gather content/editing content
  • WEEK 4: Focus on planning & getting organized

MONTHLY ORGANIZATION

This is focusing on one main thing for the month, rather than having multiple things to focus on. This is a good strategy to organize each quarter, or even yearly. This can then be broken down to weekly & daily tasks. Whatever works best for you!

For example:

  • SEPTEMBER: Brainstorm new projects
  • OCTOBER: Market research 
  • NOVEMBER: Social media/blog strategy for next year

This might seem like a lot & maybe a bit overwhelming, but it can be so worth it! It really helps with making sure you aren’t getting overwhelmed since you are breaking down tasks in a way that works for you.

ONE LAST THING!

Listen to your body! Know when you are feeling exhausted & burnt out. Truth is, overworking yourself will do more harm than good. Creative juices will stop flowing, you’ll get even more overwhelmed & exhausted.

The turning point for me was the day I decided to let myself sleep in on a Wednesday. I went to bed at 9pm & woke up at 7:30am. I. Felt. Amazing. I remember waking up just feeling so refreshed, my mind was clear & the creative juices started flowing again. 

Bottom Line: Let yourself sleep in every once in a while. Don’t forget about self care & give your body some TLC when you need it. Take a bubble bath, go on a run, drink some wine, CHILL. OUT. Do whatever you need to do!
Related: Getting Over Extreme Burnout, Developing a self care routine that works for you, A step-by-step guide to getting your motivation back, How to improve your mindset

I do offer 1:1 Mindset & Confidence Coaching and invite you to check out my opportunities if that is something that you would be interested in. Click here for more information on my 1:1 coaching opportunities! <3

>> click here to download my 5 tips for crushing your goals
>> click here to download my self care planning worksheet
>> click here to download my 50 journal prompts for self reflection & self discovery

Xx,
Jess

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