As a couple who lives a more minimalist lifestyle, it may seem that we have it completely together when it comes to productivity and time management. Comparatively, we probably are more organized with our time than most, but we definitely go through bouts of struggle and have to reel in our poor habits here and there. We also want to make sure that we are not only productive professionally, but that our lives are fulfilling.
We recently sat down and had to remind ourselves of the basics of what it is that we need to do to get ourselves back on track and those basics always seem to be what settles us back into the routine of ease- managing our time, owning our time without it owning us. We thought we would share those with you.
Set Goals For The Week
We usually have set Sunday as self-care time, which also includes setting goals for the upcoming week and talking about what is ahead. This allows time to plan for ourselves as a couple, blocking time in our calendars for what we know is coming up, meal planning, etc. When we set our goals for the week, we also set the expectations for what we realistically think we can and cannot achieve.
After we have set our goals for the week, we go into our calendars (we live and die by our Google Calendar) and plan blocks of time for meeting the goals we set. If a project is going to take an hour to complete, how long will it take to prepare for it? Will there be driving time? We also block time for that as well.
We have also learned over the past couple of years to add chaos time. This is the unplanned time. Time experts say that you should leave 20% of your calendar unplanned for the chaos/unplanned because something will always come up. So, for all you planners out there (ahem, Shannon) do not completely time block your day from morning until night, because it will never go the way you plan.
Don’t forget to block time for exercise, meditation, i.e. self-care, and time with your loved ones. That is important. This isn’t just about work. This is about making life more meaningful and fulfilling.
Boundaries, Boundaries, Boundaries.
Stick to your boundaries, and your schedule. This is something we learned only after having our business. Listen, people mean well, but people are human, and they want your time when they have it. There are some people who will want to keep you for just one more minute, or just one more thing. Once you set the expectation that you are sticking to your schedule, and will always leave when you say you will leave, or have a certain amount of time, they will respect you for it.
If you are working on a project and need to concentrate on that project, turn your cell phone on silent. For example, if we are creating content, and need to concentrate, everything goes on airplane mode and/or on silent. We don’t answer calls, emails, nada. If there are certain areas of our business we are working on, and not others, we don’t overlap. It’s too distracting, and can cause lack of productivity. Recent studies show that multitasking is a myth, and actually hinders your performance. We both recognize that in ourselves, and have to take steps to make sure that when we are working, we are at our best. We want to show up and be our best selves, but also be our best for those we are working for.
The worst feeling is getting to the evening and having a revenge emotion towards the way you spent your day. Meaning, “I need to get revenge on my day. I need to show my day that I am going to get as much done as possible tonight, since there was no way that it allowed me to get what I needed to during the hours that I was allotted during the hours I was given during ‘work hours’.” By the way, that mentality creates burnout. Take it from us. We’ve been there.
Do yourself a favor. Take some time, literally, you can do it, to cultivate the schedule you want and need for yourself, then revisit it weekly, monthly, or even quarterly if you need to, just to make sure you are on track to taking care of yourself. It is the best way to stay productive, enjoy your life, and to stay well. It’s also a great way to keep those boundaries for yourself and not allow others to manage your time. You manage your time, no one else does.