Time Management

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  1. Do More Deep Work. Start by distancing yourself from social media or other personal distractors. Next, set a strict period of time to spend working. If not sure when you typically can get into the brain space for deep work, consider the most common “golden hours” — 8 to 10am and 12 to 1:30pm. Deep work works when interruptions are limited so, if it is appropriate in your workplace, mark the calendar “Busy” and set your messaging apps to “Do not disturb”. Throw on the headphones as a physical queue to others that you are plugged in and turn on your favorite focus playlist. Then, get to work.
  2. Do Less Fire Fighting. For most, it is human nature to want to check those 15 “fires” off our lists instead of starting that round of prospecting calls or initiating a big project. In addition, we tend to be easily pulled into others’ crises. This causes more engagement in busy work, not effective work, and tends to result in procrastination, overpromising, and under-delivering. Ruthlessly eliminate time-wasting activities such as working on items that are not a listed top priority, saying “Yes” when you should say “No”, and spending too much time on emails/DMs or unscheduled phone calls. Protect your time and do not allow yourself to be pulled into a crisis — very few things are actually “threat level midnight”.
  3. Make Time for Planning. Adhere to a daily priority check-in before wrapping up each workday and a more robust planning session each week. Recap the weekly plan and use it as a tool to communicate with managers and ensure everyone is on the same page about current priorities. The plan does not need to be fancy but it does need to work on an individual level so, don’t be afraid to try new versions and change them over time. To get started, download the Kick Eisenhower Matrix Template for free for help categorizing priorities by importance and urgency.
  4. Master Time Blocking. A subject that could certainly hold its own in a solo post, and is near and dear to my heart. Divide your day into blocks of time, each dedicated to a specific task or activity. Lay it out in advance (perhaps while planning) and try to stick to them. Consider trying the Pomodoro Technique during time blocks to maximize effectiveness by working in a series of shorter bursts.
  5. Eat the Frog. This one often gets misconstrued but honestly, both versions hold merit. The original intent was to get the most important item on the list done first then, do everything else. The alternate version is to do the “grossest” item on the list done first — that thing that keeps getting pushed off. Just do it already.

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Nicole Ellis

Nicole Ellis

Starting conversations about bettering business in a post-pandemic world. Providing resources to help improve business, work-life balance, parenting and more.