mindful march : time management
It feels appropriate to preface this piece by saying these are some strategies that work well for us, but we also recognize how everyone's needs differ slightly. We encourage you to try out different methods and experimenting with what works best for you and your brain.
While we all have to maintain our roles in this capitalist society, time management will always have its place on the priority list. At least in our professional lives, this concept is key to stay on task, meet deadlines, and smash our goals out of the park. If you ever find yourself feeling uninspired, overwhelmed, or like you aren't making the kind of progress that you'd like to see, then this article is for you. We put together a list of some of our favorite strategies that help us stay mindful and present as we navigate our days.
TRACK YOUR TIME
This one has been an absolute game changer. Do you often find yourself having been busy all day but it feels like you got nothing done? We highly encourage you to track how you're spending your time so you can get a better feel of how you want to pivot (work smarter not harder, right?). Depending on which one of us you ask, we do this anywhere from a detailed physical planner with timeslots to a simple Google Calendar. When paired with planning ahead for your days, this can be an incredible tool for self-awareness and getting extra intentional with how you plan to become the human you aspire to be.
Raise your hands if your have anxiety! (Same, friend. Same) In those moments when your brain doesn't want to respond to your usual gorgeous grounding methods (see our previous mindful March post), take 10 minutes and do a brain dump. Literally tip your mind over and dump every little thought swirling around in there like those angry keys in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone onto a piece of paper. Grab a notebook and write it all down: feelings, to do's, fears, mundane things, anything that needs to leave your brain. Keep writing until you feel yourself starting to simmer down and like you can put your feet back on the ground again.
KEEP TO-DO LISTS
Use your notes app on your phone, use a real notebook, use your arm, use a whiteboard, use your fridge, but keep a to do list somewhere that you can easily reference. For smaller tasks, you can create blocks in your schedule for knocking out things that take 10 minutes or less. For larger tasks, you can prioritize them and create space in your week to accomplish them. Think of your to-do list as your unordered list of priorities and intentions - it's step 1 in the process of getting your days aligned with your future self.
SET INTENTIONS + PRIORITIES
Similarly to planning your day ahead of time, it can get overwhelming when trying to decide what to actually do on any given day. Try taking the time to ask yourself what MUST get done versus what would be nice to get done? Especially to our entrepreneurs and freelance friends out there - it can be so easy to find yourself working on your business instead of working in your business. What activities will directly positively impact you? Work on those first. What other activities would be helpful, but aren't life or death? Do those after your priority items are finished. It is extremely difficult to make measurable progress towards your goals without checking in with yourself daily and adjusting your internal compass as needed.
PLAN YOUR DAY AHEAD OF TIME
Now that many of us find ourselves working from home instead of in an office, sometimes it can be challenging to add structure and boundaries to our days when we no longer have that physical separation of work and home. If you're finding you don't fit everything you want to accomplish in the days or find yourself becoming easily distracted by busywork, try planning your day the night before. Decide where you'll spend time caring for yourself and where you'll make progress on your career tasks. The great thing about this is you can literally do it anywhere that works best for you - a piece of printer paper, a cute notepad, or even your Google calendar.
First on the docket: time blocking. What is this, you ask? The basic premise is, instead of doing a little bit of a given task each day, block out a larger timeframe and do it all at once. Some examples of tasks that can benefit from time batching: social media planning, writing blog posts, and taking photos. When we take the time to do a bunch of a task at once, it minimizes set up and breakdown time and allows you to prepare for the future. Thus, it's far more efficient and frees up some space throughout the rest of your week for more urgent tasks. We do love efficiency.
PUT IT IN THE CALENDAR
This particular tip is especially good if you share your calendar with others so your availability is easy to check. If something is important to you and you want to make sure it gets done, put it in the calendar. Want to write a book? Block out an hour from 7-8am each weekday for an hour of uninterrupted work. Want to work out over your lunch break? Schedule it in on the days you plan to go. Need to take care of your accounting for the previous month? You guessed it: put it in the calendar. You'll notice a theme that runs through these tips: create time and space for what matters to you. Bring mindfulness and intention to how you spend your time and watch how you blossom.
When you're putting more intention into how you spend your time, one major detail to keep in mind for every single day is to schedule in time to care for yourself. Time management is not exclusively for work goals and productivity scores. At the end of the day, your worth and your value does not lie in how much you get done. Yes, we're all out here trying to become the best versions of ourselves, which requires effort and intention. However, we can never reach that next level without showing ourselves love and filling our tanks. Consider this your loving reminder to schedule in time to eat (especially if you find yourself forgetting to do so), time to move your body, time to journal and reflect, time to meditate, time to go outside, time to spend with loved ones, time to care for your space, and time to care for your body. There is no true leveling up without nurturing your body, mind, and soul on the way there <3