Not enough hours in the day for actually getting shit done? I feel you. Really. I too am still working out how to find the time, and energy to get more done every day (without burning out). Finally though, in my second year off self-employment (and fourth year with a side-hustle) I’ve picked up some valuable tips and tricks to pass on.
Whether you want to start your side hustle; convert your passion to profit (and actually leave your day job); or you’re just tired of feeling tired, and like you can never get enough done… I just may be able to help.
How can I help?
I’m frequently asked how I juggle everything – blogging on She Said Yes (+ Facebook + Instagram!), selling and shipping the little white book (+ Instagram!), now selling and shipping Skin Sonic (+ Instagram!)… as well as miscellaneous social media ‘work’ (+ Instagram story…), while also working out, spending time with Blair, my dogs, my friends… oh, and have some time for myself too.
Here’s the secret. While even writing this seems far too obvious and even patronising, it cannot be said enough. I love what I do.
You know that saying…
If you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
…the premise being that if you love what you do it will never feel like work.
I have to respectfully disagree. I work all the damn time, and a lot of it does feel like ‘work’: rerouting my DNS servers; watching YouTube videos on how to set up Woocommerce MultiCurrency Premium Plugin; Creating a backup of files… those three things took me around 4 hours today. It felt like work. It felt like days of work.
A more accurate description, though, is that if you love what you do, you’ll want to work on it every day of your life, and you’ll never begrudge being busy-off-your-feet in pursuit of your passion.
You Won’t Get Shit Done if you Don’t Find Your Passion!
Too many people work at unfulfilling jobs without realising that they can make a living doing what they love to do. If you don’t love what you do, you’re never going to be able to get shit done, or “do it all” – so change something.
Absolutely, positively loving what you do: whether for a main-hustle, a side-hustle, hobbies, exercise, and even the time you spend with your friends is the most essential step towards getting shit done effectively. If you don’t love your job, the energy it drains from you will impede you doing anything (let alone everything) else. If you don’t really enjoy the type of exercise you’re forcing yourself to do, it’ll never truly bring you joy, and will feel like a chore.
Before you try to do any more, enjoy what you currently do.
Then… Do More. Be More Productive. Get Shit Done.
I have however over time, and perhaps with the benefit of having studied for 5 years and then worked as a lawyer for 4, learned several techniques that allow me to effectively manage my time.
Instead of being a slave to all the tasks you have to get done, at whatever moment they seem to demand your attention, make tasks work with your schedule by time-batching.
Time batching is the simple management hack of doing all your similar tasks in one go, rather than spreading them out over the day/week/month. While I might opt to do all my photos on one day; edit multiple blog posts at once; or schedule multiple meetings on the same day, to save time in getting dressed up and out of the house, you can start simply by:
- Answer your emails all in one go, three times per day.
- Meal-prep once a week for all your week-day lunches.
- If you run a business, check all of your social media accounts at one time, once or twice per day.
- Do all your shopping and errands on one day.
Time-batching reduces your start-up and slow-down time, it reduces your daily clutter, and improves your focus.
Schedule. Schedule Everything.
Don’t just time-batch and do everything at once, actually work out when you’re going to get it done. Set a certain time of day for each task – emails, for instance, may need to be checked first thing in the morning, and again at 3pm.
Schedule your tasks: I respond to every single message I receive on instagram and Facebook. If I was to respond to every message or email every time one came in, I would be constantly interrupting whatever other task I was working on. I therefore delegate 30 minutes a day to respond to social media messages and emails and I do that at a time where that task won’t be distracting me from another.
Schedule your day: If you have the flexibility to, create a schedule for your day, and stick to it as closely as possible every day. I wake up at 9:25am every morning, go to the gym at 10, and start working at around 11:30 am, coffee in hand. Any deviation from that schedule actually throws off the rest of my day, so unless absolutely necessary, I never break my daily schedule.
Yes, sometimes it’s difficult, I might have an event which starts before 11:30, in which case I will have to seriously weigh up the value of being at the event vs the disruption it will cause to the rest of my day (anal, much?)
The Pomodoro Technique
Admittedly, I haven’t used The Pomodoro Technique in a while, but a friend of mine who is a time management boss (working two jobs and raising a young baby) uses the Pomodoro Technique religiously, as I did at University. Pomodoro (named after a tomato shaped egg-timer) was time managed method developed by Francesco Cirri in the late 1980 as a way to power through distractions and break up time into manageable chunks. Aided by a timer, she works hard for 25 minutes with no phone, no emails, no co-workers knocking on her door – then at the end of 25 minutes she gives herself a short 5 minute break. After four 25 minute slots have passed (100 minutes of work time) she then takes a 15-20 minute break. It’s a great way to get through your tasks without distraction, allowing you to stay incredibly focused.
The 5 Minute Rule
With almost everything but emails, I follow this rule… if it takes less than 5 minutes to do it, I do it right away. Procrastinating wastes time.
Most of the tasks that you procrastinate on aren’t actually difficult to do — you have the talent and skills to accomplish them — you just avoid starting them for one reason or another.
From David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done®.
It’s surprising how many things we put off that we could get done in two minutes or less. For example, washing your dishes immediately after your meal, tossing the laundry in the washing machine, taking out the garbage, cleaning up clutter, sending that email, and so on.
If a task takes less than two minutes to complete, then follow the rule and do it right now.
Allen promises stress-free performance with this technique, and it ensures you don’t waste valuable time (so you can actually Get Shit Done – which would be the title of this book if I wrote it).
Take Time Out
Time out is one thing I don’t schedule – but it’s just as, if not more important than everything else.
I recently went to Queenstown and completely forgot to take my laptop – I had forced time out and it reminded me just how important that 5% rest time is for my ability to get shit done 95% of the time.
I recently wrote about avoiding burnout (and detrimental effects to your relationship) and this couldn’t be more true for those who are trying to “Do More’ with their lives. You can’t get shit done if you feel like shit, so take care of your mental health as much as you take care of business.
I’m always keen to hear more tips about how people manage aspects of their life! Hit me with yours x