March 28, 2017
one of the biggest questions that I get asked on the regular is, “How do you manage your time and accomplish all that you do in a day?” I always spout back with “Good question!” Because, well, sometimes even I wonder. The thing is— in the world we live in, no one is managing just one thing. Chances are— if you’re reading this, you probably feel like you’re juggling a million and one things. Because, these days, a lot of us are like color palettes — we refuse to be confined to one hue in the color wheel. We are every color. We like to write, we like to design, we like to photograph, we work our day job, and can’t stop day dreaming. Right? We don’t just do one thing and we don’t want to be confined in box. Sometimes, we wonder — “Is this do-able?” Is it do-able to work a day job, manage your life (whether it be babies, best friends, or boyfriends), and the day-dreams that steal your attention throughout the day. Am I right? Okay, here’s the deal—it is doable. But you’re going to have to work a little harder than the average person. You’re gonna have to roll up your sleeves and learn how to maximize your time. The next seven things aren’t a copy of some Forbes list floating out there, they are things that have been tried and proven in my own life and are things that I live by.
So, ready— here are 7 ways to maximize your time and make your dreams come true…
It all starts with this — setting goals, deadlines, and timelines. Not every idea that you have needs to be executed right now. Why? Well, there’s this little thing called reality. Perhaps you don’t have the mental capacity to take on another project because something else is your priority. Perhaps, you don’t have all the knowledge yet you need to execute the idea floating in your head. Or perhaps (fill in the blank). What I’m getting at is — life happens, and not every idea can happen right when we want them to happen. And that is okay. Which is where goals come in— don’t just settle for “I can’t do this right now.” Come up with a timeline of when you can execute your idea. Maybe the next couple of months are going to be jammed packed with client work and family events, so maybe you can’t start working on your new project until three months from now. Write that down. Write down all the things you need (and / or want) to do and write down realistic timelines of when you need to start working on them and when you want to launch them. This method works for dream projects and your current workload.
One of the biggest things that has helped me manage my time is planning my day the night before. I look at my general to-do list for the week, then put together a mini-list of what needs to be accomplished the next day. Taking care of this the night before means that when you wake up you are not wasting time figuring out what you need to do— which means, you’re going to be less likely to get overwhelmed. Because, let’s face it — sometimes, staring at our to-do list in the morning can be daunting and make us feel like we have too much on our plate. Which, can potentially end up paralyzing us for a bit. (Okay, if you don’t relate to that — then that’s just me. But I’m pretty sure one or two of you can relate.) Back to the point, planning your day the night before gives you the opportunity to wake up and hit the ground running. If you want to take it a step further, plan out how long each item on your to-do list will take and plug it into your calendar. Then, you can see if your daily to-do list is realistic and have your calendar as your accountability partner throughout the day to keep on working.
I am in no way, shape, or form a morning person. Sleeping in is my jam. Four years ago, when I started working for myself full time, I thought “Letfreeeeedom ring!” I slept in (all the time), hung out with friends during the day, and went shopping during the middle of the day because, heck! I’m my own boss! In my mind, this was the whole point of entrepreneurship — to have a flex schedule and do what I want, when I want. What I soon realized was that my habits of sleeping in and going on lunch dates every day were actually hindering me from making my dreams come true. I wasn’t getting work done, projects were taking me what seemed like forever and a day to accomplish, and my creativity felt stifled. I came to an epiphany, that I’d rather have structure the majority of the time so that when I want to take 2 weeks off to go roam around Europe — I can, guilt free. I started waking up early and guarding my time. I set my alarm clock for 6:30 AM and titled the alarm “Get up! Go make your dreams come true!” And I made the decision to guard the hours of 8 AM to 5 PM, meaning, I wasn’t going to go on lunch dates every day or hang out with someone all day just because they had the day off. I realized, no one is going to guard your time for you, it’s something you have to do on your own. Living with this type of structure has been a game changer. It’s allowed me to accomplish more, be more creative, and make dreams come true. I dare you— start waking up early. I promise you, you’ll get more work done if you wake up early. Your best thinking happens in the morning. Your best ideas will come in the morning. Your most efficient work will happen in the morning. Then, when you wake up— guard your time. Don’t let other people rule it. It’s up to you to make your dreams come true. You’ll find that when you implement these two things into your life, you will finally experience the freedom you’ve been dreaming of.
Speaking of guarding your time — one of the biggest time suckers is the constant flood of notifications that come through on our phone and computers. Between e-mails, phone calls, group text messages, Facebook notifications, Instagram-like notifications — our curiosity is always being triggered and veering us away from the project that is at hand. Turn your phone and computer on “Do Not Disturb”, you’ll find that you get work done faster when the notifications are not distracting you. Meaning, you’ll be able to fit more work into your day.
One of the tricks I learned early on was to set timers for myself while working on projects. Sometimes, when we think we have all the time in the world — we allow ourselves to dawdle in our work. If you know that prepping a newsletter to send out to your audience takes you 45 mintues, set a timer for 45 mintues. The timer will help you stay on track and not get distracted by the other things that are happening around you. When the timer is up, move on to the next project and set your next timer.
I swear by this one. Really. Taking a quick 23 minute nap in the middle of your day will give you that extra boost you need in order to finish out your day strong and maximize your time. It’ll revive you and allow your mind to rest so you wake up feeling fresh with new ideas. Think of it like this, when your computer is running slow— you close out all the applications and hit the restart button. When your computer starts back up again, it works faster. Right? Naps work the same way. They are like closing out the applications and hitting the restart button.
Alright. There we go. Now, you know the secrets to maximizing your time so you can make your dreams come true! So, go on! Put them to work + go make great things, wild hearts!