People make a wild and completely untrue assumption that I am an organised and productive human. I am not. I am one of the least organised and productive people you could hope to meet. The reason I appear to have my junk and assorted stuff together is I use little time management hacks to keep my wild and flagrant use of time under control.
If that sounds familiar and you too could do with some easy tips, so others assume that you also have your junk bag together… then stay with me…
I don't personally use this hack, but a lot of my clients find it really helpful. When you theme your days, you literally wake up knowing that today is Wednesday, and on Wednesday I sort out my marketing or it's Thursday, so I am chasing unpaid invoices, updating accounts, paying bills and other money-related tasks.
It gives a really nice simple structure to your week and means you will never be guessing what you should be working on, and you have time dedicated to all the important stuff. A little trick my clients like to use here is to have a day a week that is an "overflow" or catch-all day, so if they didn't get everything done, they can move finishing that task to their overflow day.
batching or chunking days
I talk a lot about how unproductive multitasking really is, how much valuable time is sucked up by your brain trying to catch up all the time by a rapidly changing focus on different tasks. I personally have a terrible habit of not so much multitasking, I am not trying to do more than one thing at a time, I jump around from task to task every 20 minutes or so.
To stop my rabbit brain, I batch my tasks or chunk them, so like tasks are all placed together in big batches, chunks or blocks. I still have some flexibility in my days to move around more so than theming my days, but I have the constraint of only 2 or 3 focuses per day.
I have my batching planned out, and it might look a bit overwhelming, but I have been able to modify and customise more as I use it. It started out being much simpler than my current version. If you're in Members Club, you can find the simpler starter version, called the Perfect Week Schedule, in The Productivity Kit. I like that batching, or chunking accommodates the times I know my focus is sharp or my creativity is good. Being able to schedule your day around your peak energy and creativity times, so flippin useful.
There are so few things in this world more boring than checklists, but they work. I have checklists for the tasks I don't often do, like creating sales funnels, setting up ads or building out landing pages. It's amazing how easy it is to forget the steps of bigger tasks when you don't do them regularly. I would waste so much time trying to remember what I did last time.
If you're already outsourcing or it's on your plan to start, then checklists will become your best friend. I handed over a heap of them to my V.A when she took over my content creation process, and all she needed to do was follow the checklist to perform the task exactly as I do it. It's a training guide, a process and a checklist all in one.
Recently I was introduced to an amazing task manager called Click Up that allows me to set recurring tasks. I have things like check website backups and scan and organise receipts as monthly recurring tasks for my Virtual Assistant. I don't have to remember to ask her to do those things; they pop up automatically on her list each month.
top 3 must do
A new habit I am trying is writing down my top 3 must-do items for the following day before I finish work. I put them on a sticky that I put on my bathroom mirror. When I am brushing my teeth, my top priorities are right there, in front of my face.
The true hack here is to write the list the day prior, so you're more likely to write down things you didn't finish that day. Leave it until the next day, and you will likely create 3 new priorities, and stuff ends up getting pushed to the bottom of your to-do list.
track your time
Install a time tracker like Toggl on your computer and get into the habit of seeing where you're spending your time. This easy and free Google Chrome add on was how I discovered my bunny brain, hopping all over the place every 20 minutes. If I am honest, it was quite shocking to see how rapidly I was moving from task to unrelated task. It's obviously why I finished my days feeling frustrated and annoyed by the lack of progress.
There is no need to always track your time, that can get a little tedious after the first few weeks. Get into the habit of tracking a week once a month if you're a bunny brain, or once a quarter if you're better behaved than I am.
Unless you're some productivity genius, we could all use a touch of insight into how we spend our working days.
Pick a couple and get started, stick to them for at least a month. Jumping from productivity hack to productivity hack is, in itself, a massive waste of time. I see it all the time, people spending huge amounts of time searching for perfect solutions. Girl, you're wasting life… Just get started.
Now, off you go… go be productive.