I recently did a live training in our group, Unstoppable eCommerce Entrepreneurs on how I manage my time and get stuff done. During the training, my neighbours’ cat jumped through the window and proceeded to have a huge catfight with my cat… all during the live training. It was pretty embarrassing – and totally hilarious. Click here to watch the live training (and the cat fight!).
In our program, we find one of the biggest challenges people face, is actually finding the time to do the work.
So how do I manage my time and get shit done?
Firstly, I have my 5 “true north” words
These are the 5 words that I hold as a true north to who I want to be and how I want to show up. This helps with time management because when you have a true north to guide you it’s easy to figure out what to say yes to – and more importantly, what to say no to.
So my 5 words are:
Each of these words has a potent and specific meaning to me.
I have these 5 words saved in my phone, printed and framed on my dresser where I can see them every day. Sometimes, when I’m in a total funk, I will save them as my phone wallpaper.
I plan my 90 day goals
Again, this is big-picture stuff but it helps me to work out what I need to do each quarter, month, week and day. I have a maximum of 5 top goals for the month. These are goals, not tasks.
I use a 90x Goal Planner.
I have a default calendar
This is a typical overview of how my week will look. I know that every Wednesday and Thursday I pick up for son from school. I know my most productive time is in the morning so I will try to get the work done that requires my brainpower done then, and I try not to have meetings before midday. I put appointments in my calendar for meditation time, for school pick up, for client work. I know that every x weeks I go to the hairdresser. So I book all my appointments for the year in advance. I call this a default calendar because there is room to move and be flexible, but I default to it.
If it’s not scheduled it does not exist
I think I heard this from my girl, Marie Forleo. If it is not scheduled, it does not exist. So I schedule everything. If I need to catch up on some industry reading or training, I will schedule the time I know it will take into my calendar.
I plan my day before my day starts
It is soooo easy to get sucked into the business of doing. And if I don’t have a plan for what I’m going to do that day, I don’t seem to get anything I wanted to get done, done. I use the “big rock” principle. It’s a paradigm shift that helps to get the big things done first while managing the little things. Stephen Covey demonstrates this by using rocks of different sizes to illustrated different sized tasks. Click here to watch the 4 minute video.
I use a top 5 to-do list
The way that I practically implement the “big rock” theory is I use a “top 5” system. I used to print out my own top 5 templates for years but the 90x goal planner has this in it so I now use that. Basically it’s where you define your 5 important actions for the day and you focus on those until you’ve done them. I then move onto the other tasks. I will rewrite any incomplete tasks on my top 5 to-do list for tomorrow. The 90x goal planner I mention above uses this principle too but you can access my very basic top-5 to do list template here.
I plan tomorrow at the end of today
I take 5 minutes at the end of the day to check my calendar for tomorrow so there are no surprises. I will write out my top 5 for tomorrow. Doing this means I can walk into tomorrow and not waste time.
I treat social media like an important business tool – because it is
If you don’t manage your social media, they will manage you! I plan my posts monthly and I schedule my Facebooks posts in advance. I still post natively on Instagram. I check my comments and engagement once or twice a day. I respond to comments and engage with my audience only at these times. I turn off notifications and close the app at all other times.
I manage my email like a boss
I try to think of my inbox like a physical letterbox. I don’t sit there all day waiting for something to be delivered. I check it once a day. I sort through it and throw out the junk and open and action the rest.
Well, I treat your email inbox the same way. Here’s my email rules:
- Check it once or twice a day.
- Delete (and unsubscribe) from the junk.
- Action anything that will take 5 minutes or less.
- Schedule time into your calendar to action anything that requires more of your time and attention.
- Turn OFF your email notifications from your phone and desktop.
- Close your email program after you’ve checked it.
I batch tasks together. For example, I have a content batch day where I write all of our emails, social posts and blogs. I will also batch videos so I only have to do my hair and makeup once. If an invoice comes in I will put it into the Accounts Payable batch, then log into Xero once a week to enter, process and pay all the invoices at once. I do this with as many tasks as possible.
Pomodoro is a time management technique developed by a dude in the 80’s. Basically, you break down your work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.
Why is it called Pomodoro? Pomodoro is Italian for “tomato” The guy who developed the method it used a kitchen timer in the shape of a tomato. Random, but it works!
I use a free chrome extension app, called “Marinara: Pomodoro Assistant” to time work slay-sessions or sprints. Coming back to my top 5 to-do list. I will work out how many Pomodoros each top 5 tasks will take. I will then start the timer and focus on ONE action item and try to beat the clock.
Last but definitely not least, I meditate.
I aim to meditate for 20 every morning. I have a meditation accountability buddy and we will message each other each time we’ve done it. If I’m feeling stressed or anxious or overwhelmed or like I’m running out of time. I will stop. And meditate. Even for just 2 minutes. Even if just for 3 intentional breaths.
This has been my biggest productivity hack of all time.
I love Insight Timer for guided meditations and also to preset timers for meditations that require specific times, such as Kirtan Kriya. I am also going on a 10-day Vipassana, or silent meditation, retreat soon. You don’t have to go this intense, just start by sitting your butt down and being quiet for 10 minutes a day.
I hope you found this useful. Comment to let me know what you’ll be implementing.
Written by Megan Winter
Megan is an award-winning marketer and has worked with some of the fastest-growing eCommerce brands in the world.
Megan loves helping ethically-produced, heart-centred, soul-driven online store owners to make more income and achieve more impact.