Time management is a hard skill to master. It’s tough sticking to a schedule, and being strict with yourself. Below I will reveal some things I’ve learned on the subject, so your life wont have to suck because, “you don’t have time.”
Multitasking is your enemy
This was the absolute hardest habit for me to break. However, I’m 100% going to play the blame game on this one. I blame my last two jobs. Being an Executive Assistant, and owning a restaurant (hospitality) conditioned me to constantly be jumping around from task to task. I had to be ready to switch gears at any moment. As an EA your schedule is your boss’s schedule. Working in hospitality, and owning a brand new restaurant I experienced complete unpredictability. I became a hookah Ninja, and could spot an uneasy customer a mile way. I did this all while controlling table rotations, and helping to keep my staff happy. If you have ever been to Cafe Layal Midtown you will understand what kind of chaos I’m talking about. My current situation with Hold My Pasties Please is VERY different. I’m teaching myself new things, have to put out creative content, and have to be self motivated. I no longer have the adrenalin keeping me going like I did working in hospitality, or the worry of being fired for preforming poorly like I did as an EA. I have to be strict on myself, having to switch gears drains mental energy. I’ve learned this the hard way.
(see me jumping around above, it’s a real problem)
Changing habits, or a routine isn’t easy. I’ve found reading blogs, and newsletters to be helpful on my quest to being less of a hot mess. The Medium has great tips, as does reddit.com. A good blog geared towards females would be boss babe , they have great stories, that are not super generic sounding like a lot of female empowerment type blogs. I also re-read the Four Hour Work Week, because Tim Ferris is a genius. I also recommend taking a look at The wheel of productivity, it does a really great job of helping you structure your day.
Here is an example of one of my many issues: 7:00am- 8:00am I’m peppy, feeling chatty, and creative. Sounds great until that energy is used on the wrong things. I was making the mistake of getting on social media, responding to peoples questions, and being ultra chatty with friends etc. This poor use of my creative energy, and time made me unproductive. I’ve learned that I need to channel that energy into researching, writing, and coming up with new ideas. (At least most of the time)
Be selective with what you spend time on
In the early days of my start up I was eager to collaborate with anyone, and everyone! I never really took the time to be sure it benefited my company, or aligned with my brand. You can’t be all over the place, something I learned from my cousin, the founder of Travel Mo . When you have a small team, you have to be careful not to spread yourself too thin. To add to that, when you are a very new startup it’s easy for people to over look you. Sometimes others will take advantage of your willingness to be involved. This applies to all things in life, not just in business. Be sure you set boundaries, and clear expectations from the start. You can’t get what you want, if you don’t say what you want.
Sometimes you have to say no
If you need to be alone to stay sane, do it. If you cant respond to everything, and everyone immediately it’s okay. Most people probably wont even notice. What helps me is having designated times I check emails, and all other social media platforms. I’m at the place where I still personally enjoy checking everything, but I can totally see why people outsource it. I also want to add that you should avoid energy vampires. People who are negative, and make you feel bad about yourself will only suck your energy. Not everyone will get you, or like you. However, their is a difference between constructive criticism, and just being a jerk.
Create routine and structure
This is so difficult when you are self employed. I’m always “on” which has backfired countless times. If you don’t have designated breaks, time limits, or even days off you will hate your life. It will effect your mood, creativity, and looks. (I don’t know about y’all but I’m trying to age gracefully) As much as I may say I get bored of structure, I think it’s still something we need to some extent. What I have found to be useful is using my calendar, having a schedule that I stick to, and putting my phone away when necessary. My Friend Olivia carries a planner with her everywhere, no joke she walked into Wooster Gardens with it for HH. If you want to get that early morning work out in sleep in your gym clothes! Do whatever it takes to trick yourself into staying on task, and getting things done.
Reward yourself. Give yourself a cookie!
The most important thing to remember is you aren’t perfect. What’s the fun in working your ass off if you cant enjoy any of it. Go buy that cute top you’ve been eyeing, go to dinner with friends, eat that cookie. Life is all about balance, and it’s a constant battle. We are all trying to make it in this world, we have to remember to help each other, and be good to ourselves. Now stop making excuses, and get smart about your time.
Tell me how you feel about this, please leave a comment below :)