13 OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS YOU NEED TO LEARN
Let’s get real. You aren’t going to get a breakthrough with your online presence if you don’t develop some time management skills.
In order to be able to take your blog to the next level, you need to realise there is enough time in the day and be able to master your life right now. That starts with being effective at managing your time.
Today, we’re going to talk about how you can get back in control of your time and productivity. This will allow you to cultivate a calendar and a to-do list that makes you happy, not stressed.
The time management skills I’m about to teach you will help you get a breakthrough, just like they did with me. These are the values or life lessons I live by on a daily basis and if you start to implement them, you’ll see a big difference.
Let’s get into them.
P.S. If you want a five-minute exercise to help you be more productive, type in your details below and it’ll go straight to your inbox!
#1 | DON’T LET YOUR CALENDAR CONTROL YOU - YOU NEED TO HAVE A PLAN
When it comes to time management skills, this is the biggest mistake you can make. Do you sometimes complete work and tasks in order of what needs to be done or what comes your way? This isn’t as productive as you might think.
Instead, try carving out exact times when you will do certain things in your week. You need to be disciplined and have a plan if you want to achieve your blogging, business or career goals.
This is why I use time blocking, where I block time out on my calendar for the whole day so I know what tasks need to be done and when. You can check out a full tutorial for that here.
#2 | SET BOUNDARIES AND STICK TO THEM
I don’t know about you, but something I used to be guilty of was not taking time to enjoy life and be present. Usually, I’m always tied to my phone and never take a full break from the internet. Now, I’m being intentional about changing that.
During the week I set one day aside that is a day off from work and a day on for family and “me time”. This could either be a Saturday or Sunday. I also try my best to switch off from work around 5:30pm (but this can sometimes be difficult to do depending on my tasks for the day!)
One boundary I definitely recommend putting in place is no phones at the dinner table. Eating a meal with your loved ones is such a sacred time. An act like this is great at reminding you what your priorities are. Guard that time as much as you can.
#3 | CATEGORISE YOUR TIME
One of the most important time management skills you can have is to learn how to categorise your time. There’s a formula you can follow to help you do this:
Write down all the tasks you need to do. I mean all of them, don’t leave anything out!
Circle or highlight the tasks that are really going to make a difference. These are the tasks that are going to make an impact for you in the big picture, whether it’s growing your blog so you can take it full-time or making a certain amount of sales. They also need to make you HAPPY.
These can then become specific focus time blocks on your calendar. You can even create entire days of focus work if you wanted to.
What’s important when categorising your time is to clearly distinguish between these focus tasks and other administrative tasks. These are items you have to do whether you like them or not, such as emails or sending invoices. They don’t necessarily focus on results and might not lead to success, but they’re still an important part of the process.
If you use time blocking, you can even use colour coding to distinguish between them!
You also need to make time on your calendar for personal time, hobbies, family, etc. If you plan this personal time into your life, it’ll make you more effective and successful professionally.
#4 | BATCH, BATCH, BATCH
If you’ve not heard of batching before, here’s a basic outline for you:
Batching is where you group similar tasks together into blocks of time. So it might be that you spend an hour taking blog post photos for the month - that’s an example.
During this time, you have no distractions. It’s purely focus time. Did you know it takes an average of 25 minutes to regain complete focus again once you get interrupted?
Some main distractions for you might be emails or social media. So you can set yourself specific times to look at these at certain times of the day. If it helps, set a timer, shut off distractions and get to work.
And this time management skill doesn’t just have to apply to work. You can batch errands, meal planning, laundry, and personal appointments too.
#5 | YOUR CALENDAR ISN’T MEANT TO CONTROL YOU
If you haven’t read Make It Happen by Lara Casey yet, I highly recommend it.
What Lara says in this book is that it seems logical that working more hours means more productivity. And while work itself is not a bad thing, working around the clock and never taking a break isn’t something to be praised.
I want you to shift your thinking about being busy. Because if you’re spending your time on things that aren’t purposeful - when you use busy as an excuse or being busy starts to rule your life - that’s when things get messy.
I want you to say this to yourself right now: “How I spend my time is how I spend my life.” So while your calendar is something wonderful that can help you stay on track and get the work done, it’s not supposed to control you. This is one of the most important time management skills you can take on board.
#6 | YOU NEED TO BE DISCIPLINED IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS
I have to continually remind myself of this every single day. Especially when I’m going through a busy season and all I want to do is rest. This is what will separate you from others. Goals are made out to be so difficult when they’re really not. They take time and that’s where your discipline comes into play.
#7 | REMEMBER THE 80:20 RULE
This was something said in a webinar from Screw The Nine to Five: 20% of your input creates 80% of your results. So what is 20% of what you do that will get you the results you want? This means you need to really focus on what is working when it comes to growing your online presence.
What is the 20% that is going to make a difference, help you save time and get you better results? Think about it - 80% of what you are doing right now could be a waste of time.
Here are a few examples:
The first 20% of your CV is the most important section.
20% of your time spent on your blog or business produces 80% of the results - what are those activities?
What are the characteristics of the top 20% of your customers or readers? Find more customers like them.
#8 | FREE UP YOUR TIME
Developing time management skills also means learning how to free up your time. I know your goals are important to you and that they’ll help to determine the rest of your future and happiness.
You need to be very focused and selfish with your time management. Don’t be afraid of saying no if you need to get things done. You are in control of your time.
#9 | CREATE A MORNING ROUTINE
Checking emails or social media when you first wake up is setting yourself up for failure before your day has even started. Living on purpose is a choice. Now, this doesn’t mean that your days have to perfect - it means they will be meaningful, no matter what. Determine to make each day a great one, and that starts with your morning routine.
By saying no to my phone at night, I can get to bed at a decent time which allows me to wake up feeling refreshed. Instead of checking my phone in the morning, I read a couple of pages of a book. Only then do I intentionally sit down at my computer and start work.
If you want to learn more about setting your morning up for success, check out the video below.
#10 | FIND YOUR MOST PRODUCTIVE TIME
Not everyone can wake up at 5:30am and feel ready to take on the world. Not everyone can work solidly from 7pm - 11pm. When are you the most focused and productive? Part of developing time management skills is finding that time and using it well.
Don’t spend your best time doing things that don’t matter. Spend your best time focusing on the tasks that are going to help you get one step closer to a breakthrough, whatever that may be.
#11 | WAKE UP EARLIER
If you spend a good chunk of your day making decisions, that means you’ll have less energy to work on your passions, dreams, and goals. Wake up earlier and make your best decisions then. You’ll be surprised how purposeful you’ll be!
#12 | LIMIT YOUR PRIORITIES
When it comes to time management skills, I highly recommend learning how to concentrate on one thing at a time. This comes back to why time blocking is so effective. First, make a list of everything you need to get done this week (I love doing this on a Sunday). Then, prioritise this list in order of importance.
So you’re not making a to-do list with 20 things on it that you need to get done that day. Instead, you’re prioritising what you need to get done during that one week. You don’t move onto #2 until #1 is done and this way, you can actually accomplish all your tasks for the week.
When was the last time you could say you ticked all the tasks on your to-do list for the week? Your priorities are going to make the biggest difference to you, your life, and your online presence. Get them on your calendar.
#13 | SET TIME TO PLAN AHEAD
I plan each week out down to the finest detail to make sure I’m not stressed. This means I can wake up on a Monday morning knowing exactly what is happening that week. I have a monthly and weekly routine down that I’m going to share with you here:
Try and do this on the last day or last weekend of the month.
Review your morning and evening routines to make sure they still work for you.
Write down the celebrations, holidays and events coming up this month that you want to celebrate.
Plan ahead in terms of how you’ll need to prepare for those events (e.g. if you’re throwing a party, make a note to go grocery shopping or if it’s someone’s birthday, make a note to get them a gift).
Note down any other commitments happening this month.
Set your goals for the month ahead.
I love doing this on a Sunday!
Write down any upcoming events on the specific page in your planner for that week
Do the same with meetings/appointments.
Add in any reminders.
Make a list of everything you want to accomplish for the week ahead.
Write them in your planner and allocate them to each day based on the time you have available.
Then note down any other administrative tasks you need to get done (e.g. sending invoices on the last day of the month).
Remember, this isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being purposeful with your life and developing time management skills can help you do that. You don’t need to implement this list of tips all at once. Go slow and take baby steps. You’ll be back in control in no time.
Which tip on this list are you going to start implementing straight away? I have to say, the last tip on planning ahead is my favourite!
P.S. Don’t forget to download this quick exercise to help you be more productive!