There’s never enough time in a day.
It is a common theme that runs rampant in my own life.
I love mornings because, with a fresh start, I feel like I “own” the day. It’s mine for the taking and there is a world full of opportunity out there that awaits me to conquer it!
Then…before I know it, midnight has come, and, there is no option, what’s done is done and I must get some shut eye if I want to function at my peak the next day.
Ever feel that way?
That no matter how many to-dos you checked off your to-do list for the day, there’s still more to be done? Good things, perhaps, but all the same, just more accomplishments to be had.
However, I must share with you a couple amazing productivity tricks I learned this week from an amazing business strategist, David Newman, that have left me more productive in a shorter amount of time this week, with still some gas in the tank (and daylight outside).
- E-mail Timeout E-mail is time constraining and time sucking! It is! Especially since we are more connected than ever via our phones and multiple e-mail accounts. This week, I’ve committed to checking my e-mail in short blocks of time (allotting 20-30 minutes to emails) and ‘shooting from the hip’ (responding quickly and directly to e-mails that I otherwise sometimes forget about, or may take me longer to respond to out of thoughtfulness). Instead of letting my e-mail responses pile up as more ‘to-dos’, I maximize that e-mail time to read, respond, and move on—not constantly re-checking my e-mail, until my next allotted e-mail time.
- Live Out of Your Calendar, Not Your Inbox or Screen. On that same note; I have gone back to old school ‘writing it down’ in a PAPER calendar. Not an online calendar, but one 8 x 11’’ good-sized planner I carry with me, in order to fit everything in there. Looking at screens and the options for so many different calendar options (E-mail calendar reminders, Google Calendar, Sticky Notes, iPhone/iCalendar, Evernote, SmartSheets, etc.) was getting to me. I couldn’t keep them all straight. There’s nothing like a good ol’ pen and paper. Also by keeping my eyes focused on my calendar (and the things to get done that day/week), as opposed to my computer screen/e-mail (i.e. distractions), I am able to move closer to my goals for that day.
- AMRAP. As a CrossFitter, I understand working ‘for time.’ I love timed workouts that force you to maximize your work in an allotted amount of time (for example: 12-minute AMRAP—i.e. ‘as many rounds as possible’—of 7 overhead squats, 14 pull-ups, 21 double unders). Lately, I’ve been using this workout methodology with my work (i.e. projects, phone calls, research and reading, writings, etc.). I will look at the clock when I sit down to write an article for a magazine for instance, and say, ‘I have 60-minutes to get this done.’ Bam. Or, ‘In the next few hours I am going to read this article and learn about this. Make this phone call to _____ (fill in the blank). And create a handout on ‘The importance of eating fats’ for clients. Boom.
- Pick 3. Rome was not built in a day, and rightly so, neither was any business, project or endeavor. That being said, you (and I) can only do so much in a day. 6-8 hours of sleep. Commuting and traffic (at least 1-2 hours in Austin in a day!). Meals and meal prep for the day (i.e. ‘hunting for your food’, preparing it, consuming; 2-3 hours between all three meals/snacks). Social connection (i.e. meeting up with a friend over coffee; a phone call; family time, social media—do NOT get me started on the time suck that that is!; time varies). Self-care and home-life (i.e. exercise, showering, teeth brushing, hair drying, laundry, dishes, etc.; varies). And, oh yes, work. Work in between all of that. Sooo…in a 24-hour day, there really is only ‘so much time’ in a day. That being said, this week, as I have been sitting down ‘to work’, I have whipped out my favorite sticky notepad, and written down the TOP 3 (maybe 4) things I want to accomplish that day. No more. What are my top 3 priorities for today? Then…I get to it. (writing this blog today was one of them!).
- Creative Space. As a writer and blogger, it is not only part of my ‘job’ to make time for myself that is ‘unstructured’, but it is NECESSARY. I THRIVE off of 1-3 hours of non-structured time to just write, read, learn and bring my creativity to life. When I don’t have time (even a little bit) in a day to ‘just be’ and work on things that I love to do and learn, I feel drained—like I am burning a candle at both ends. I know I need a little bit of quiet time each day for this passion and ‘learning’ opportunity. I especially love fulfilling this ‘need’ at various rad coffee shops in Austin. On that same note, my ‘recess’ time is also important to me. Making sure that, no matter how sucked into my work or computer I am at that moment, or how many appointments I have, I make time for my self-care and physical part of myself that loves to move and finds joy in training. I schedule my gym time in the day—not as a mandate, but as a joy and energy/stress release. Maybe you aren’t a writer or don’t have an exercise routine, but you have a passion that needs some ‘watering’ and nurturing, so to speak. Make sure you DON’T forget about that part of you.
Onwards soldiers. Go out there…and conquer the day. Knowing that today, for today, is all we have—and tomorrow will worry about itself.