Last week, I took a workshop in time management from Megan Flatt, a business coach and time management strategist for busy moms. My motivation for taking this class is the persistent thought I have when I observe other businesses, “how does s/he find time to do all that”? I have things that I wish I could do, but never seem to get done. I also love to learn new things and attending workshops is a perfect way for me to fit some professional development into my week.
My challenge has been how to do all the things that I want to do in all the different areas of my life – Noe Valley Bakery, Launch, volunteer, family and personal. I especially struggle with the to do’s that I don’t really enjoy or feel are too difficult – those seem to get pushed down the list constantly where they languish and annoy me. Megan’s workshop has helped me create a system for myself using the tools that I already employ -iCal for my calendar and Wunderlist for my to-do’s. But, the missing piece for me was that I also have to employ the very old school tools of paper and pen and some time spent planning the week…with some erasable highlighters thrown in for fun. Here are the big ideas that I took away from Megan’s system.
Create a brain dump and assign the tasks a priority
First, create a huge, scary “brain dump” every week think of all the things you want to accomplish and assign them into a “bucket” or category that your tasks fall into normally. I do this using Wunderlist; it contains my “brain dump”, and the “buckets” are the various lists within the App. The second big takeaway is that there are different kinds of time in your day, “A time” and “B time”. “A time” is the time when you are at your best, you can concentrate and get your best work done. For me, this is in the morning from 9am -12 pm. What Megan taught me, is that my “A time” is to be fiercely protected and used for the items on my to-do list that are most important to me, my “A buckets”. Sounds simple, right? Well, I can tell you that frequently my “A time” was being taken up with emails, entering numbers into spreadsheets, Facebook and other “B time” tasks. Next, I print out my weekly calendar from iCal and draw boxes around the work time blocks, assigning the blocks as “A” or “B”. Then write into the blocks what buckets you are going to work on. It is amazing the way my next week has taken shape; I should be able to accomplish a lot toward my big goals even though I have a busy week scheduled – I am speaking at City College Culinary Program and at an SF Made event for new food businesses this week in addition to meeting with clients and bankers.
Two kinds of work
Third, and the big revelation for me is I have two kinds of work, work on my business and work in my business. I am assigning the on my business buckets to the “A” time because those are the ones where my brain power needs to be the strongest; work like creating programs and resources for my clients, creating social media posts, creating the curriculum for my workshops and creating content for my new website. The in my business tasks, like scheduling and posting the social media content, bookkeeping, emails, and office organization are now “B” time tasks, when my brain isn’t quite as distraction free and focused.
I frequently work with my clients to set priorities to make sure they can accomplish multiple goals. Check out the different ways I work with my clients here.