The Key to Time Management
Have you ever had 3 major deadlines fall within the same week and once the week arrived, nothing was complete? Yeah, I never had that happen either…until now. I had to take a break from work and get my thoughts all out because your girl was stressed. Plus, Im sure that a few of you have experienced this same anxiety so I thought it would be beneficial to spend some time writing this post.
In college, ( can I can still reference college even though I’m six years removed? ) I used to be the type to get things done in advance. I would work ahead and turn things in early so I wouldn’t have to rush to complete things but most importantly so I could relax and enjoy my weekends with my friends. Now things have changed. No longer am I working to receive a letter grade, instead my end result is getting paid. You would think that would be all the incentive I need to get things done in time but to be honest, when money is involved a little more stress is added to the equation.
I am no longer responsible for just doing the research and getting the work done. Now, I am now in charge of meeting the needs of the client, making sure it’s aesthetically pleasing and doing it all under the time constraints I’ve allotted for myself. Not to mention, I am a bit of a perfectionist and I understand that whatever work I put out is an exact reflection of my brand so, I may overthink my creativity at times but what creative doesn’t? Additional, my role is educate the client throughout the entire creative process to ensure they understand why they need me as their content creator with hopes of turning our one time business transaction into a longterm parternship.
Whew, that was a mouthful. Yet, I say all that to say — more is on the line these days and more time is being spent, especially when money is involved. The crazy thing is, it wasn’t until now as I’m writing this blog post that I realized that I’m the real problem not my workload. Although my workload is growing, I hadn’t taken the time to adjusted my way of doing work to ensure that everything was getting done on time without causing me stress.
Last week, I was at a point of overload and decided to ask around to a few friends and business owners to see what they believe the secret sauce is when it comes to time management. The underlying answer that I received from everyone was simple: The key to time management is to plan.
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Planning for everyone may be different and as you grow in your business it will require more time and thought to curate an effective plan that best suites your needs. However, the basis of planning is simple. After reading the Forbes article: Time Management Tips For Your Personal And Professional Development by Kristopher Jones, I decided to draft up a few tips I think would beneficial to all creatives when it comes to managing our time effectively.
Get a good Planner
Writing things down on paper is still the answer. Visually seeing what your workload is will allow you to determine what type of energy you need to put into your week/day. If it’s a busy one then you know its go time and there is no time to slack. For me, a good planner allows you to see the month/week/day breakdown and gives you ample amount of space to write. Its not too big and can still fit in your bag if you need to take it to the coffee shop.
Plan in advance by the hour
In order to eliminate wasting time, it’s best to create your plan in advance. Planning the day before helps to give you a head start on your day and allows to focus on execution instead of the planning process. Some of the major business gurus I spoke to said that they plan their entire days out by the hour an some down to the minutes. By setting alarms in your phone and being strict with your time you are able to balance out your day and give adequate time to what’s most important. It’s up to you to determine which level of detail best fits your needs.
Prioritize the important stuff
When it comes to time management it’s all about being smart. After looking at your to do list (plan), you want to focus on the most important things first. The great thing about this is there is no right or wrong way to priortize. Ultimately, it’s up to you and what you deem as “priority”. For some that can be the hardest projects and for others that can be the ones that yield the biggest reward aka dollar sign.
We live in a world filled with distractions. From the group chats with friends, to social media and the million other things on our to-do list, distraction are inevitable to escape. The best way to eliminate these distractions is to keep it out of sight. When you are working, put your phone in another room, on silent, so you aren’t checking it 24/7. Yes, it’s hard but it will help you to stay focused. Along with that, only work on the task you scheduled for that time. Don’t stop to start the next thing on your mind because then the first task won’t get completed.
Understand your plan is not set in stone and can be adjusted
Consistency is important for sure. But the most important thing to remember when planning is that plans can change. It would be ideal to stay on course, but life happens and that’s okay. Don’t overwhelm yourself more by getting so focused on the plan and time limits that you forfeit the content.
As I am growing in my business, I have to understand that I can’t continue to work as I’ve been in the past and expect to get the same results. Going forward in the month of May, my goal is to plan as if I want to succeed. If you’re not a planner, start today and let’s tackle these to-do’s in a timely manner!