Time can feel incredibly slow on certain days, but then we look back over the weeks, months and years and question where it all went. In all aspects of life, time matters and is of great importance. In our work day – whether we are self employed, working on a team or just starting our own business – we are going to run into places of distraction, places of being unsure of what project to tackle next. And when we hit those places during our day, it can sometimes lead to wasting our time simply trying to figure out what to do or get our mind back on track.
So how do we handle time well? How can we manage our time in a way that aids us in being efficient and productive, but also allows for rest and inspiration?
Though learning how to manage our time may be a lifelong journey, we have found these few tips to be quite helpful ::
1. RETHINK YOUR TO DO LIST
We love lists and goals. However, if we are making unattainable goals and creating lists that only overwhelm us instead of assist us in completing our tasks, why make them? Our to-do lists should be attainable, even broken down into very specific tasks that we need to accomplish instead of one giant goal that clearly cannot be completed all in one day. We like to break it down even further and write down which tasks we will be doing at what time and for how long. This is not a measure of perfection that we push ourselves too hard to reach, but instead it is a helpful guideline to walk us through our day and help us stay focused and move smoothly from task to task.
2. STAY ATTUNED TO YOURSELF
If you feel like you are tired, hungry or having a lot of trouble focusing – maybe its time for a little break. It doesn’t have to be long, it just needs to awaken your body and get your brain going in the right direction. It can be simple – maybe go for a small walk, do some stretches, grab a cup of coffee, just a little something to get you motivated again.
3. DON’T ALWAYS DO THE SAME THING
What works for someone else might not work at all for you. So experiment with what works best! Is it 5 cups of coffee, is it lighting a candle, playing some music, taking a midday break with a friend, moving to a different spot or room throughout the day? What is it that invigorates you and helps you to feel motivated? Also be aware that your preferences and ways of focusing may change as the situation around you changes. Did you add some new team members, move to a new space? Keep these things in mind as you search out what works best for you (and your team).
4. FOCUS ON ONE THING AT A TIME
We talked about the importance of creating a prioritized and attainable to-do list, right? But what happens when that late afternoon lull comes around and we look at our list and start to feel overwhelmed by all of the items still left unchecked? It’s so easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed when we think about the whole of our to-do list. So instead, simply focus on one task at a time. When you finish that task, choose the next priority thing and say “Okay, I am going to work on this task and this task only until it is completed” and then just keep making your way down your list.
5. PUT AWAY DISTRACTIONS
This is such a hard thing that we can definitely attest to in our own work day. In this day and age where our phones are basically mini computers, there will most likely be notifications popping up All. Day. Long. Some may be work related and some might be from that crazy group message that your family has going on. But when it’s time to get work done, we find that it really helps our focus level to simply turn off our notifications. If your phone is not a part of your work, maybe put it away or silence it so that you aren’t tempted to look at it every time you hear it vibrate or ‘ding’. If you need to use your lunch break to catch up on your notifications, go for it! But we really believe that setting aside those things that are bound to be a consistent interruption in your day will help you be so much more productive and focused.
As we do our best to manage our time well and stay focused while working, it’s important to remember how very precious our time is. In business, the time you spend on your work will benefit you in so many tangible ways. What are some of the ways that you like to encourage productivity in your day? We’d love to know!
words by bethany – community creator