One of the most difficult parts of being a creative entrepreneur is time management. There are only 24 hours in a day and we have so much to do! Some of us have full time jobs along with a side hustle, such as an Etsy shop or blog. We have families and appointments and all the other curveballs that life sends our way. I have had days where I have worked from early morning until late at night and still didn’t get done all that I wanted to.
My struggle with time management
Time management has been a real struggle for me because I try to do everything at the same time. My problem is that I lack focus when it comes to time management which makes me less productive. This has become a real frustration for me. I would have a to-do list, then I would sit down to tackle that list but I would find myself jumping from one task to another. I have had moments where I would be writing a blog post and then I would remember that email that I was supposed to reply to. Whilst replying to the email I would see an email saying that a webinar by an awesome influencer is starting soon. So instead of completing one of the tasks on my to do list (to write a blog post) couple of hours have gone by and I still haven’t completed that task and then I have missed my optimal time for writing.
I am THAT person, you know the person that has 3 windows open on their laptop with a million tabs open on each. This way of tackling my to do list made me feel less productive, ineffectual and frustrated. I would wake up in the morning with motivation to get so much done and before I knew it, it was time for me to sleep. I would wonder where the time went. So instead of becoming overwhelmed by all that I have to do and jumping from one task to another I decided I needed to use my time in a more wise manner.
The Solution? Enter...Time Blocking My Schedule
The key to solving my problem was - FOCUS! Don’t try doing everything at once - because you won’t get much done. Instead focus on one task at a time with the intention of getting that task crossed off your to-do list.
So how did I manage to become more productive and focus more? Enter Time blocking my schedule, that is assigning very specific tasks to a specific time block. This in turn will increase your productivity.
It has been shown that humans have the ability to focus for 90 minute blocks. Thus, remember to allot no more than 90 minutes for a task. We can only focus for 90 minutes after that we begin to lose focus and are more likely to get distracted. Not all tasks require the full 90 minutes, so just adjust the schedule accordingly and stay flexible! If you have a really big task then it is highly advisable to break that task into 90 minute blocks, whether it’s two 90 minute blocks or more. But break it up and maybe go for a walk or watch an episode of your favourite show in between those blocks, do something light.
Grab the EXACT template I use for Time Blocking for Free by pressing the button below!
Prioritize and Adjust
But before you start filling up your schedule with tasks you need to prioritize those tasks. List all the things that need to get done asap, things that are ongoing and you can work on parts of it or things that can be pushed to the next day. Then look through the tasks and really think about what is the optimal time for you to get that specific task done. For example do you write better in the evenings? Or do you like to do more of the administrative tasks, such as answering emails, in the mornings?
Also remember not to be too specific when listing tasks and scheduling them. So instead of having a 30 minute block to book a hotel - you should be putting down 30 min block to trip plan, that way if you don’t get a hotel booked in 30 mins you won’t feel like you have failed at that task.
This schedule does not need to be a rigid schedule as there should always be room for flexibility! So try it out and adjust accordingly. I’m always keen on learning new productivity hacks, what are some you use?