by guest author Stephanie Jones
5 steps to stop the never-ending to-do list, overwhelm, and exhaustion. Take back your evenings, weekends, life! Have it all without doing it all.
The kids are starving, you are still working, the house needs to be cleaned and laundry needs to be done. It’s all never-ending! You seem to be the one holding it all together, except – are you?
You are running on empty. Waking up in the middle of the night riddled with anxiety. Important tasks, appointments, clients are slipping through the cracks. You are too tired to be creative, or find a way out.
It doesn’t have to be like this!
Time management is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot but what does it mean and how can it help you?
Time management is essentially telling your time where to go, so it doesn’t control your day/life. It’s attacking the day with a plan versus being reactionary to everything thrown your way.
So – let’s dive in!
1. Set hard start and stop hours for work
I know this can be incredibly hard – especially when you have so much to do. Hear me out though. You will get it all done in less time with better systems (which I scratch the surface on in this article).
When you have hard start and stop times for your work, you are setting a boundary around your day and your business. You are making that time important for you so you can build your dreams.
This doesn’t mean you work 12 hour days all day, every day. It means you can start freeing up your time, reducing your workload (see following tips) and get to that elusive point of work/life balance we all seek, but only a few attain.
3. Set BOUNDARIES
You are the go-to person for lost keys, misplaced wallets, socks, clean laundry, milk, sports equipment, literally everything, am I right?
Have a family meeting, talk with your partner and kids. Have the truthful conversation that the house would literally not burn down if you weren’t there to answer e v e r y single question that they had at all moments of the day.
Explain what you are building, dole out chores (kids as young as 5 can even help out – even if that means you don’t have to ask them to brush their teeth or put their clothes in the hamper). Teach those life skills, release the perfection of your way of doing it and let everyone help out – heck, they all live there, right?
Ask for respect for your time and privacy while you are working. Make it a “no interruptions” zone, unless of course there is a real true blazing fire. Having quiet, focused, uninterrupted time in your day to get your work done – frees you up to be off your phone and computer, and to be fully present with those that you love. That’s not too much to ask, right?
In case you are being hit in the gut with some strong mom-guilt right about now, let me share some stats with you:
- Every interruption (phone, notification ding, knock on the door, etc) costs you 6 minutes of time – and that’s not even including the time to address the interruption
- You are 42% less productive when you multi-task
- Brain fatigue is increased when we are constantly changing tasks and having to remember where we were at
- If you are on a client phone call, it is unprofessional causing you to potentially lose either a client or a referral
3. Time Blocking
If you are unfamiliar with the term, time-blocking is “blocking” out a chunk (minimum of 15 minutes) for an activity, or a group of activities.
For example, you need to prospect clients. You can do this over the course of the day but does it really get you to where you need to be? Would it be better to block out 2 hours every Monday to prospect, track, etc., and then another block of time later in the week for the prior week’s follow-up?
The latter allows you to stay in the zone, without distraction, accomplishing more and keeping your energy where it needs to be for that particular task.
If you have never time-blocked, I recommend going through your last week or two and either color coding like items together (all personal blue as an example, clients green, etc) and seeing where you are spending your time. Are you able to start moving like items together and protecting your time? Leave one day a week open for a catch-up, doctors, impromptu beach days, ya’ know – LIFE!
Similar to time-blocking, batching helps you create space for focused work; allowing you to be more productive in less time.
Batching means “like things together in large chunks of time”. For example, content writing. You can write a social media post every day for sure, but how many could you write in an hour?
Batching allows you to be dressed and camera-ready on days when you need to be on video or present with clients, and messy bun and sweat pants on days when you’re writing content like a mad-woman.
If you’re new to batching, and especially if you’re also new to time-blocking, here are some suggestions:
- Pick at least an hour of uninterrupted time
- Close all tabs (work offline if at all possible), leave your phone in the other room or put it on airplane mode
- Put on background music if you work better that way, or silence if not
- Grab your favorite beverage, pen, inspiration, etc and get comfy
- Set a timer for the allotted time (I try to work in 2-hour blocks but I get up for a 5-minute rest break halfway through so I just set my timer for 55 minutes and then reset it when I am back at my desk).
Get to work and see how much you can get done!
5. Margin in your day, your week, your life – especially in your calendar!
Margin = space and space = calm. You are not a machine! You need downtime. You need to be able to confidently move your calendar around when you are sick when your kids are sick when your bestie needs you. Leaving space allows for this. It keeps you on track and caught up. Your to-do list will get done!
If you are always running late, you need to leave margin/space in your day so you can leave 5 minutes earlier (or 15!) so that you aren’t stressed. When you are stressed, your kids are stressed, your partner is stressed, your health suffers.
Stop booking yourself so tightly in a day that you are stressed, overwhelmed, and can’t get everything done.
If you are asking HOW????
I have a BONUS Answer for you and a free time strategy session call. 30 minutes and I can help you free up your calendar! You just have to implement the advice 😉
BONUS ANSWER: Deletion
Delete any and all unnecessary tasks, including busy work in your business.
Stop scrolling social media.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
Stop checking email more than 2/3x a day (and even that is a lot).
Stop doing work that doesn’t have a direct ROI (return on investment – including your investment of time)
Stephanie is a Holistic Wellness Coach based in Seattle, WA. Her background is in both Corporate Executive positions and Restaurant Management. She changed career paths, graduating from IIN with a certification in nutrition and health coaching.
She is a mom of 3, all grown now, kids but understands the challenges moms face. At one point, she managed a household of 7, with her own 3 children, 2 stepchildren, resulting in 4 parenting plans, sports, holidays, various schedules, and a team as a Starbucks store manager. She feels your pain! She has taken everything she learned from corporate environments and warped it up for you! Teaching you systems to regain your time, freeing up nights and weekends so you can live the life you deserve!
Check Stephanie’s website here to see what she’s all about!