Recently I co-taught a workshop on Time Management and Self Care for the City of Flagstaff. During it, I shared what I have learned and found helpful for managing many projects simultaneously.
Number One Tip – If you do nothing else, do this!
Start each morning or even the night before with writing down 1-3 key tasks for the day which are essential to moving yourself forward. I write these three things at the top of a list and then write my other tasks for the day under “other” below the essentials. When choosing these 1-3 key tasks it is important to not just think about what feels urgent, but what is actually going to make a difference in your work or your life. For example, sometimes my list includes exercise or quality time with my husband. Other times I may put recording a podcast episode on the list. Creating new content never feels as urgent as answering emails and responding to calls and requests for help, but it is essential to actually moving my work forward.
What is essential for you to make progress?
What one thing could you do today?
If you struggle with prioritizing or figuring out what is most essential, I strongly recommend the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown.
My Analog Morning Routine
I struggle with scrolling. I pick up my phone first thing in the morning to turn off my alarm, and next thing I know I have wasted 15 minutes (or more!) in the mindless scroll of Facebook and email. Apps like Facebook are designed to be addicting. To break the addiction, I have created an analog morning routine.
- Get coffee for husband and I and sit together petting the cat and drinking coffee
- Read one chapter of a physical book
- Write one page, longhand, in a notebook on a writing prompt of my choice
- Sit for 5 minutes doing nothing (my basic form of meditation)
- Cook and eat a real breakfast at a table (I love a spinach and egg taco!)
After all of this is done I allow myself to check email. If and when I do every step of this routine, I feel very grounded and ready to take on the day. My most productive days happen after an hour of the analog morning routine.
What could you do in the morning that would set you up for success the rest of the day?
Is there any habit you have that isn’t serving you that you can replace?
Now what to do with the rest of the day and week?
For the last few months I have used Steph Crowder’s 15-minute planner method to plan out my weeks. She does a great job of explaining how to sort out your workload into rocks, pebbles and sand. The rocks are time-bound commitments that you have made, pebbles are growth-based actions, and sand is all the other stuff that you just have to get done. Right now Steph is just wrapping up another “Most Productive Week Ever” challenge. She has videos and instructional emails that will walk you through how to use the method.
I will not spend more time on it here, since Steph can explain it better. However, I can attest that using a system to plan out my week has been very successful for me to get more done. More importantly, I am getting the most essential stuff done instead of just reaching inbox zero with nothing to show for my efforts.
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