Sometimes I just do whatever it takes to avoid writing. Or whatever it is that I should do. Sometimes I clean. And at that point cleaning feels so good that it makes me sick. Sometimes I reorganize furniture and sometimes I redo my website’s theme from scratch.
And it depends on the time off that I need. If it’s a short break I might do the cleaning. If it’s a bit longer I might do the furniture as I first need to use SketchUp to 3d model the apartment and then start organizing the furniture on screen first… And if I really need a break I redo the website. That will take the longest as I really do always start from scratch.
After one of those is done I can focus again on the writing. I really don’t need a break but I need to accomplish something. Cleaning is easy, I can see the results immediately. And when I get stuff done I’m motivated to get more stuff done.
So to do more I need to do more. And here you thought I was writing about cleaning…
What’s your my-brain-needs-a-break activity?Tweet
There was a time when all the management books told to set deadlines for everything. I’ve also been under this kind of boss so I know how to set them. It works in some environments if you’re accountable to someone else than yourself. But more and more people are accountable only to themselves.
When you work as a freelancer or for yourself those arbitrary deadlines don’t work anymore. If I know the deadlines are made up I won’t respect them. Most probably you won’t either.
The perfect way to go around this is not set any. Instead what you do is flip the idea of to do list on its head. When you start thinking in the terms of “what does it give me if I get this task done” you will suddenly see the outcome instead of the task.
I didn’t actually mention something obvious which I maybe should do now. These tasks that I’m talking about are those that you don’t want to do but at some point you just need to get them over with.
Sometimes indeed finishing the task only gives you a peace of mind. But at the end of the day peace of mind goes a long way.Tweet
You cannot manage time. Unless you’re Stephen Hawking of course. But the odds are you’re not. What you can do is plan the way you use the time available to you. Way too many people, including me, fill their calendars with meetings all the way up. When this happens there is not enough time to complete the tasks you have for the day or the pressing issues that will come up that very day.
There are a couple of things that need addressing at the office:
- Tasks for the day
- Unexpected pressing assignments also known as fire hazards
- General socializing and email
Face it, all of these are important in the office space. The best you can do work and time wise is to set boundaries for the first two items as they’re things you can control, to some extent at least.
If possible, start the most important tasks immediately in the morning and get it out of the way. This way you’re ahead of everybody else who are still reading their emails when you’ve already finished the most important task of the day. Many people start their day by reading their emails. Just don’t. For the same reason avoid having meetings first thing in the morning.
Another thing to remember is to leave enough time in-between the meetings so you can recap and see what you actually need to do. If you absolutely have to start your day with meetings then make sure you have enough time to finish the tasks before you head home.
In most office environments your calendar can be seen by others (Outlook calendars for example). If you have a scheduled a meeting for doing tasks (be it only by yourself) it’s less likely that you will get overwhelmed with so many meetings that you won’t be able to finish anything else that day.
Having said that the most important thing about time management is this. Schedule time for yourself to check off the tasks for the day. And after that leave enough room for mingling. You’ll do that anyway.
So stop trying to manage time. Instead plan your time to work effectively.Tweet
The world revolves around what and how. Companies revolve around what they do. The first thing you ask an acquaintance is what do you do for a living. You ask a big shot marketer like Seth Godin how do you do it. This blog revolves around it as well - what to do when you get stuck or how to better plan your time.
But people seldom if ever ask why you do something. Kids do that. And it really is a far more important question. So, why does this blog exist?
It exists to help the community around me be more productive. I want the community to be productive and happy so I could be that as well. As the community is more productive it makes me more effective as well - after all, I can’t do many things only by myself. Therefore, the more effective I am the more freedom I have to pursue things that make them happy.
Here’s where you come to play. Follow my advice and I can guarantee that you will be more effective. What you need to find out is the purpose of having more free time from increased productivity.
I want to be a more effective worker and entrepreneur to have more freedom. And more freedom to me means doing things that I love: learning more about marketing, climbing the cliffs, creating inspiring content, jumping out of an airplane and filling my head with seemingly unimportant details on almost anything.
Now tell me why do you want to be more productive?
If you like the question why read Simon Sinek’s book on the subject..Tweet
Would you rather use your Saturday jumping around and partying or sleeping until the late afternoon?
Sometimes I go to a party or watch a late night movie during the week. I can boost up the next day with caffeine with no problems. Of course, after the lunch break things slow down a little bit. I might get spaced out and find it hard to focus. I might start doing a simple task and it would take me two times longer than usually.
Once, I worked the whole week like so. I came in around 9am. I had a regular day of work with the colleagues except it was busier than usually. Then, the team and I would go on and work until 3am in the morning. It was like this the whole week. Of course, it was a one time project that needed to be done mostly off business hours. But as it also affected the business during normal hours I needed to be there to fix those things as well.
You might guess that I’m going to say next. Rest is very important for productivity. Especially if you need to create something. To some extent it’s possible to pull it off. For me no more than three days. That’s the limit, after that I need a real good night sleep. Nine to ten hours preferably. And I don’t like to sleep the weekend away either so I rather just go to sleep earlier.
As I go to sleep earlier I will have less hours in my day. This is not entirely true although sometimes it feels like it. I know that when I’ve slept well I’m in a positive mood already in the morning and I get more done even with my personal life – not just work. In fact, being well rested helps the brain cells recharge and create those information highways that speed up our cognitive processes. And when we get new connections the ability to learn more is even higher. What a beautiful circle that is!
And besides, if I’m well rested during the week I’ll have more energy to jump around in the weekend. Who wouldn’t want the two days off to be even more fun?Tweet