This month, I’ve been writing about Advanced Productivity Strategies that really help me mange my time and get things done. They are probably my secret weapons when it comes to chipping away at the overwhelming mountain of things that have to get done without burning out.
Today I’m explaining #3 – and this one is an advanced productivity tool – the perfect tool if you’re a perfectionist!
We’re getting into advanced productivity and time management strategy here, because when it comes to the crunch, and you really need to make the most of every minute, these things matter.
Advanced Productivity Strategies:
#1 Prioritising – helping you to stay focussed on the important work, instead of spending all of your time putting out fires ie. urgent but not important tasks.
#2 Focus on One Thing – switching your focus is time consuming and ineffective. Multi-tasking is exhausting, makes everything take longer, and you’re not producing your best work when it counts.
#3 Be consistent with your schedule using a weekly routine
#4 Set a Time Limit
How can setting time limits be helpful?
It’s like having mini-deadlines through out the day. If you really have to tick things off your list, this is the one for you.
Imagine today is a content creation day.
You need to whip up 3 blog posts, 2 short videos (5-10 mins), publish one post and send out a newsletter.
Scenario 1 (no time limits):
9.15 You work out your topics, and start writing the first one. It takes about an hour, because you’ve checked your email & Facebook, as well as done some research, and then spent some time polishing it.
10.15 Time for a break before you start the next one.
10.30 You start on Blog 2 – it takes another hour. You were a bit distracted by your Facebook notifications, and had another cup of tea.
11.30 Time for a break – stretch your legs
11.45 You plan your video, dot points for the important parts you need to say.
12.00 Set up and start filming your video, but it’s not quite right, so you do a lot of restarts – it takes 45 minutes before you’re happy with it
12.45 Lunch, Emails & SM check ins
1.15 Back to blogging – but you’re feeling a bit over it. This post takes you an hour too, even though it’s shorter.
2.15 The final video. You’re over it, tired and it shows but you don’t care anymore – it takes 30 mins.
2.45 Back to Blog #1 to do a final edit for SEO, post to blog, create images & share. This takes 30 mins
3.15 Feeling drained, Need a break. (This would be my time to finish work, because I have to collect the kids from school)
3.30 Still have to do the newsletter – I’d be doing this at night time after the kids are in bed. It takes another half hour. – 4pm if you pushed on.
Scenario 2 (set time limits):
9.15 You work out your topics, make a plan of dot points for each post & video. You allow 45 mins with the timer, and take a 5 minute break.
10.00 You’re ready to do Blog 1. Timer set for 30 mins – done.
10.30 Time for a break – stretch your legs
10.45 You’re ready to do Blog 2. Timer set for 30 mins – done.
11.15 Time for a break – stretch your legs
11.30 Set up and start filming your videos. Timer set for 30 mins (15 minutes for each) – done.
12.00 Time for a break – stretch your legs
12.15 Lunch, Emails & SM check ins
12.45 Back to blogging You’re ready to do Blog 3. Timer set for 30 mins – done.
1.15 Time for a break – stretch your legs
1.30 Back to Blog #1 to do a final edit for SEO, post to blog, create images & share. This takes 30 mins
2.00 Time for a break – stretch your legs
2.15 Newsletter set up & post – 30 mins
2.45 Social Media & Email check ins before school pick up.
Scenario 2 is much more efficient, and focussed on one task. The timer helps to stay focussed. There is however, enough time built into the breaks if you go over time – nearly 2 hours!
The main difference here is the fact that time was spent in the planning, and that the time limit works to keep you focussed and on task.
I find this strategy really helpful because
– it helps you just start – saying you’ll do 15 mins on a project/ task is easier to swallow than finding 3 hours to get it done in amongst your flat out schedule.
– it help you feel less overwhelmed because you’ve planned and prioritised what you’re going to do and when.
– it forces you to break a bigger task down, which is great if you’ve been procrastinating on this because it feels too big.
– it allows you to make progress. Entrepreneurs can get caught up in making things perfect, but this perfection is holding them back. Building your business takes imperfect action.
**Note – I don’t recommend working like this every day – I don’t think it’s sustainable. Breaking up your week with other activities, or using the timer for sections of your day to nail your to do list can be really effective too.
How I use this Advanced Productivity Tool
Social Media Posting
If I don’t put a timer on and plan exactly what I’m going to post, then this can be a huge blow out of time for me. Capping it with a timer makes me be really on message and targeted when I go in.
I actually map out my whole day with a guide for how long each task will take. I do this so that I can work out if I’m going to run out of time! If I have 10 tasks on my list, and only a few hours available, then it’s quickly clear that I’m not going to get everything done – then I have to prioritise. It forces me to be realistic about what I can actually get done.
I often spend time tidying up my emails, or files as a break from thinking work, or after a coaching session, when I feel the need to recharge. I’ll put the timer on and do 10 minutes of email filing, or checking on other Asana tasks and keeping them updated, or recording a system.
Updating my Website
I definitely have to cap the time I spend on my website. I could spend hours on this, tweaking, and when i first started out as an entrepreneur, I spent way too much time on this – hours and hours trying to get it perfect before I told my 5 followers about it! Definitely not a great use of my time.
Now if I know I have to do some work on my website, I make a list of things I have to do and put the timer on. Website updates is really something I could do for hours – and have been known to, so I have to stay on top of this, and a timer is the perfect way to do it!
How you can Implement this Advanced Productivity Tool today:
- Decide what you are going to do for the next 60 minutes, and set your time limits (Don’t be too ambitious & set yourself up for failure. Make it realistic!)
- Set your timer
If you loved this level of focus – try doing it for half a day tomorrow, and start to build it up. You’ll quickly see how much more productive you can be with this strategy AND the other 2 Advanced Productivity Strategies – prioritising and focussing on one thing at a time.
Woo hoo! You’ll be an Action Hero(ine)!
Your Next Step
If you want some support to help fast track this process, or help you transition to Dubsado, then can book a free systems audit with me so we can determine where to start, and what you need to get up and running with your workflows and systems.
Aerlie Wildy is a business designer. business coach and mother based in the Adelaide Hills. I specialise in designing and systemising business for growth. You can connect with me on Facebook, join my Chief Executive Entrepreneurs Facebook Group, check out my Youtube Channel or Pin with me on Pinterest.