Creatives have a lot of strengths, however, time management is not often at the top of the list. There's just so much going on in our heads! Client meetings, design projects, launching your email list...we could go on and on. All of this requires that we are smart with our time. After all, it’s our most finite resource.
There’s a way to get a lot done without working 20-hour days. Here at Ringlet, we're huge proponents for working smarter, not harder. Effective time management is important to make sure you are doing the things that are necessary each day, without losing all of your time. So if you want 10+ hours back in your week, here are five strategies to implement today.
1. Time Activate Your Day
Time activation means that you’re accounting for every bit of time that you have and that you’re allotting that time to the things in your life that matter. Begin by getting clear on your values and then determine how you will spend your time. With everything that is pulling at your attention, categorize it. Determine what is urgent, what is important, what is not urgent and what is not important. Prioritize the important and the urgent by giving them specific time slots in your schedule.
2. Two Minutes or Less Rule
If something comes up that you can accomplish in two minutes or less, do it right then. Don’t add it to a to do list. Just go ahead and knock it out.
3. Three Week Calendar View
Keep a bird’s eye view three-week calendar accessible and a seven-day detailed calendar accessible on your computer. This shows you what’s coming down the pike so you’re not surprised by any deadlines in a week or two while simultaneously showing you how you’re going to execute your work over the next week. If you use a Gmail calendar you can change it to a 3-week view by going to settings>custom view> select 3 weeks.
4. Pomodoro Technique
This is a great strategy to get work done especially when you’re feeling unfocused or unmotivated. Work in 25 minute increments with a five minute break in between. Use a physical timer, stopwatch or even the digital version on your smartphone or computer. Set a timer for 25 minutes and work. Don’t check email. Don’t answer a text. Just work for 25 minutes. Then take a five-minute break. Check all the things. Stand up and stretch. Have a mini dance party. Do whatever you want for five minutes. Then get back to it. Repeat. I know there is a break in sight, I can focus and be productive.
5. Three Item To-Do List
Plot out three or less important tasks to get done tomorrow at the end of the day. Keep this list ambitious but practical. This gives you a game plan at the start of each day. You know what is highest priority. And these items are plausible to execute and complete in a day.
Productivity and time maximization really come down to one thing: intention. Intentionally plan your day. Intentionally don’t spend more time on a project than is necessary. Intentionally put your phone in the other room so you’re not distracted by social media. Intentionally get rest, exercise and take care of your mental, physical and spiritual health. With clear priorities and an arsenal of time management strategies in your possession, you will find that you can achieve more in less time.
Looking for more inspiration? Join our Ringlet Creatives Facebook group & tell us your top time-saving tips.