Have you found yourself struggling to get things done in a timely manner?
After I failed my monthly goals in July, I decided I needed to try something new. I have more tasks and work requirements on my plate now, but still the same 24 hours in a day. So something needed to change.
So in August, I instigated a new schedule to see if that would help. And wow did it ever! This was why I managed to complete almost all of my August goals and started a few new projects.
The biggest surprise was writing 14k for my new WIP in just 3 days.
The Old System
Attempting to be organised
My original system was to make a note of my To-Do’s for the day in my diary. My diary remains on my desk, open and was checked daily.
I would then (attempt) to get through them. Often I gave myself way too many tasks in a day and didn’t always consider outside factors. Like family.
My immediate family still can’t seem to understand I work from home and it’s WORK and so ring me at all times to ask for assistance. Yep, even moving out of the country didn’t stop that.
My in-laws who we currently live with need help at times with odd things. I am more than happy to help anyone when I can, but I never really factored in any of these interruptions.
A little scatterbrained
I also have a wandering mind and would often stop one task to chase another. Or worse, get bored and leave a task half done to start something new.
I would leave post-it notes for myself on my desk, usually with cryptic clues that I would return to days later without a notion of what it was in reference too.
There was no active method for staying focused so I would have information, notes and scraps all over the place. Then when I came to work on something I usually had to dig through my growing piles of paper to finds those keynotes I’d made.
It meant I didn’t always keep up with my deadlines and then had to rush them in order to get them out in time. Not good.
This all left me feeling stressed and overwhelmed most of the time. Things can be stressful enough without adding it them so I knew I needed a change.
The New System
My new schedule system was designed to give me better focus. Studies short that we have lost our ability to focus for longer periods of time.
Videos can’t be more than 8 mins long before people get bored. Everyone scan-reads articles.
We all open numerous tabs on our computers and phones then flick back and forth between them… and it all leads to getting less done. Well, it did for me.
The first thing I did was decide what specific categories I wanted to really focus on. So I made a list:
- Blogging & Social Media
Assign a day
I then gave each day of the week over to one of these:
- Monday – Blogging & Social Media
- Tuesday – Business
- Wednesday – Writing
- Thursday – Learning/Marketing
- Friday – Admin
This meant that on Monday I was only to (really) focus on Blogging and everything that entailed. This might be writing new blogs, prepping guest blogs, updating old posts, etc
A little wiggle room
Now I couldn’t stick 100% to this. Obviously, if I received orders on Friday I wasn’t going to wait until next Tuesday to make and post them.
But all other business related work, such as sorting invoices, buying new stock, making new product lines would be done on the business day.
I also gave time for expected things such as chores, errands, checking emails etc.
Set an alarm
I wanted to have blocks of time where I would be working solely on these tasks. I did this by setting alarms on my phone.
- Start – when I should be at my desk working
- Break – after an hour & a half I have a break, get a cuppa, do some yoga
- Back to it – I need to be back at my desk working
- Email/social media – another break this time to check on online things
- More work – Another block of working
- Food – Dinner (yes I need to have an alarm otherwise I’d never eat)
- Last stretch – Another block of work
- Finish – Stop and chill
These alarms stop me from having to keep checking on the clock or from over-working. We all need breaks and food so this takes away the need for me to think about it. I start and stop when the alarm goes off.
I do also have a 30min chime bell that reminds me to stand up and stretch. Sitting for long periods is VERY bad for you.
It was tough at first because I was always feeling that pull to “check” on something or do a different project. I had to keep reminding myself that I needed to stick with what I was doing.
In the end, I was blown away by how much more focused I became. I was able to stay in the moment with each task and it quietened the churning noise in my head, you know the one that is reeling off all the things you need to do.
As a result, I was able to update much more of my blog and had more ideas for posts. My writing, as I mentioned, went from barely anything to 14K in just 3 days.
I had more time for my business and got even more courses completed on my “learning” days.
Will this work for everyone? No. But I didn’t know it would work for me until I gave it a try. The point of changing a system is to find a better way. My old system wasn’t working and I needed to try something different.
If this new system hadn’t worked, then I’d have trashed it and tried something else. Don’t get stuck using a system that is not working for you.
We are all plate-spinning and if you have a lot of tasks, find the best ways to get them done efficiently. Narrowing my focus to one specific project a day made me super productive.
If you have been struggling, I recommend giving it a try. Don’t aim to cram all your ideas and projects into the week. Pick just enough to fill 5 days.
Give yourself the weekend to catch up on other things or to chill. Just see how you manage with each day given over to a specific topic.
What makes you super productive?