Are you super busy? Overwhelmed? Can’t seem to keep up with all the crap you HAVE TO do? When is this new era, with no time, no schedules, no pressure and only inspired action in perfect timing going to get here already!? Well, we’re on our way, but we’re not there yet. We’re in a state of transition. Which means that we can still benefit from some “time management”. Only, traditional, old school techniques probably aren’t going to work for us anymore. They’re all about control and cramming as much productivity into as little time as possible. They’re all about making it happen.
Don’t worry. I’ve got your back. Today, I’m going to share with you the productivity tips I’ve discovered, which are perfectly vibrationally aligned with the process of lightening up, expanding and relaxing. This is how I happily get a crap ton done without killing myself.
Does that sound appealing? Well then, there’s no time to waste! Ha.
So, today, I want to talk to you about Time Management. Which might seem kind of weird to some of you because, just last week, you heard me say how time doesn’t exist. And now I want to help you manage it? Well, here’s the thing: Time doesn’t exist, but the illusion of time certainly does. And, learning how to work with time, especially in this new energy, can be really helpful. And these are definitely not your mother’s, or your father’s, time management tips. Most likely, you didn’t read about these in a book before. Or, maybe, unlike me, you have, in one of the new time management books?
Traditional time management techniques
So, time management is something that I’ve spent a fair amount of time on (see what I did there?). And, the reason why I’ve given it a fair amount of attention is that this is something I’ve been challenged by myself. Because my life used to be extremely structured. It was scheduled in 15 minute increments, which meant that if I had to pee, it threw off my schedule for the rest of the day. There was no freedom, no flexibility. And, I just read the other day that Elon Musk, who is one of the most successful people in the world, the owner of Tesla and SpaceX, schedules his day in 5 minute increments. Oh, my God; that sounds like a nightmare to me. I remember being scheduled that tightly; it just felt like being in prison.
A lot of time management techniques are all about how to schedule time better, how to control the schedule better. It’s like thickening the walls of the prison. It doesn’t work for me anymore, and it may not work for you either; in which case you may need to upgrade your time management techniques.
Structuring your day, the right way
One thing I’ve figured out, is that a little bit of structure goes a long way. A little bit of structure can actually give you a great deal of freedom. Too much structure, and you feel like you’re in prison; but no structure at all is really overwhelming. So, if you’ve been swapping back and forth between too much structure, and not enough structure, you may want to go ahead and bring in a little bit more of a framework. You might be very surprised by how much freedom it brings you.
You want to maintain flexibility, and that’s actually my very first tip for you (these are very practical tips.) The first one is to schedule, but schedule with flexibility. We’re not yet in a time, in an energy state where all of us know exactly where to be, and at what time. We don’t just spontaneously think, “go over there now”, and then walk into a party. Nobody had to invite us, nobody had to schedule anything, we all just showed up at the perfect time, in the perfect place. But, we’re not really there yet; we’re still in transition time.
So, scheduling things, agreeing on a time when we will meet, when we will do something, is helpful. For example, it certainly helps me to schedule my coaching calls. When I talk to my private clients, I don’t just call them willy-nilly, we have an agreed upon time. It’s ok to schedule some things, but schedule with flexibility. What I mean is, build in a buffer time. Let me give you a concrete example: my coaching calls are generally one hour long. But, when I need to stay on the phone, when I’m having a ton of fun with somebody, or they’re right in the middle of releasing something at the top of the hour, I don’t want to let them go like that. I want to be able to spend more time on the phone, if I choose to. I want to be able to spend more time with that client, or more time on that task. So I create a buffer between coaching calls, so I can go longer. Now, it’s still my choice, and I have no problem setting those boundaries. But, if I choose to, and because I think it’s warranted, I want to have that flexibility without throwing off the entire day.
When I schedule tasks, I also give myself buffer time. I schedule a little longer than I think it’s going to take. Again, the reason for that is, I want that flexibility. So, basically I schedule with kindness. I’m kind to myself in how I schedule. Those 5 or 15 minute increment schedules are brutal; they’re not kind. And you want to be kind. Now, if you’re thinking, “well, then I won’t hardly get anything done”, just wait; I’m getting to it.
Tip #1 is: schedule with kindness, because all of this is meant to make you more productive, not less productive. That kindness is going to keep you from becoming overwhelmed; it’s going to allow you to fill those gaps fluidly with inspired action, rather than pre-determined actions, and keep you from getting frustrated and overwhelmed.
Speaking of overwhelm, tip #2 is going to really help with that. Once thing you don’t want to do is to keep your To Do list in your head. If you do, chances are very good that your mind will assign the same priority to every single item. Which means that the same priority is assigned to completing that report, as to cleaning out the junk drawer, going grocery shopping, going to your kid’s baseball game, coming up with a new product idea, or whatever. They all have the same priority in your mind, which means that your mind has no problem waking you up at 3 o’clock in the morning with: “Did you forget to… – Oh no! You’ve got to remember… – Oh no; no, no! Did we remember to do this? Oh God, what if you forget to…?” It’s pure stress. Your brain is just running around like every item on your To Do list is a spinning plate, and your mind is trying to keep them all spinning. It’s getting really stressed out and you get really overwhelmed. And what do you do when you get overwhelmed? You shut down, and you don’t get anything done.
So, my trick is to do a brain dump, and do this regularly. Take all of your To Do items and put them on a page. I personally prefer to use a pen and paper, or pencil and paper; I do this by hand. When I try to do it electronically, e.g. in an Excel sheet, it doesn’t have the same effect for me. For some reason the brain connects differently when we write by hand. I suggest you try both and see which one works better for you. As for me, I do this by hand; I actually write things out. That also allows me to cross things off, which I love to do. And, I write down everything – private, business, everything. Every task I’ve got to do, I write on a To Do list.
Now, you can organize this list in various different ways; you might want to have a business and a private one. For me, it’s kind of all the same; it’s just my life. And what I do then, is organize it by priority. I’m really brutal about this. If it’s not a priority, I don’t make it into one. “Nice to have” tasks are not a priority. Priorities are where something can go wrong if it doesn’t get done.
I like to use the following 3 categories to prioritize my To Do list. There’s priority #1 – something’s going to break if you don’t get this done, asap. #2, it needs to be done for the business, and #3 is nice to have. Paying a bill 2 weeks before the deadline is a #2 priority; paying the bill the day before the due date is a #1 priority.
I prioritize my personal items the same way. I don’t leave them out, or put them on the back burner, or non-existent burner, the way I used to. It’s all part of the same list, it’s all treated equally and then I prioritize from there. That really helps to take a lot of the pressure off. First of all, I don’t have all that information running around in my head, I don’t have all those plates spinning anymore. What I have now is, “I’ve got this”. It’s on the page, I won’t forget it, it’s there, it’s organized, I’ve prioritized it. I won’t miss it. And that really helps the brain, the mind, to calm down. As a result, you’re not as stressed, you can sleep through the night. You don’t have to wake up panicked at 3 o’clock in the morning, and it actually organizes you more; you won’t forget things. And you won’t, inadvertently, do things that are keeping you from completing the real high priority tasks. It gives you peace of mind.
Which leads us to the next, the 3rd and final tip, which is where most of my productivity really came from. When I figured this out, this literally just blew my productivity right out of the water. It’s so counter-intuitive, but it totally, totally works.
So, here’s what I do. I have my big, master To Do list with all the tasks, and I have certain things that I need to schedule. But I schedule like this: On days when I have appointments, that’s my schedule; I have my appointments. I don’t make myself responsible for anything else. And, on days when I don’t have appointments, those are my free days. I can basically do whatever I want, nothing is scheduled. I sit down the night before and decide what to prioritize the next day. That’s not the tip, by the way – deciding the night before. So, I decide the night before what I’m going to have to do the next day. Here’s the tip: I choose ONE THING from my list. One thing and one thing only that I have to complete the next day. Sometimes my one things is something simple, like grocery shopping. It’s important that you complete this one thing. On coaching days, coaching is my task. I schedule the day, there are a lot of appointments with buffers in-between. On the days when I don’t have those, I schedule one thing.
Why scheduling just one thing a day is great for productivity
Now you might be thinking “Seriously Melody, I can’t just do one thing a day; I’ll never get everything done.” Well, I don’t just do one thing a day. But here’s the thing: I only make myself responsible for doing one thing a day, and, when I’m done, I get to stop working if I want to. And, I really try to honor that. So, if I really do want to stop working that day, if I’m tired, if I’m hitting a wall, I’m done after that one thing. I’ve ticked it off, I’ve crossed it off my To Do list, and I can feel good about myself. I can feel successful. I’ve had a win, and I’ve set myself up for an easy win. Your one thing can’t be a 16 hour project. It has to be something that you can easily get done.
Isn’t it great when you wake up in the morning, and you know that you can easily complete the task you’ve scheduled. It can be something that takes you half an hour; it can be something that takes 2 to 3 hours. I would say 2-3 hours max. And, if you have a big project, break it down into different increments and then schedule one of those.
So, here’s what happens: If you want to stop working after doing that one thing, you can. But a lot of the time, and you might be surprised at this, a lot of the time, after you complete your one task and you cross it off, you’re on a roll. You’re on a winning streak. You just won, and you want to win some more. So then, you look at your To Do list and you pick out the next thing that jumps out at you. If you have a huge priority, either you might choose to do that, or you might choose something else. Rely on your intuition; it will be right, even if you don’t realize why. For example, the other day, I was done with my one thing, and then I spent 3 hours cleaning and organizing my office, because I’d never properly done this. When I moved in, I organized most of it, but never completely finished. So, I followed my intuition and finished it. Was that my top priority? Hell no, it wasn’t; not even close.
But, here’s the thing: I have a lot to do these days. I’m working on Reality Academy which I’ve mentioned before, and there are a lot of moving parts, a lot of people involved.
It definitely wasn’t my top priority to re-arrange my office, but I realized after how good it felt to have a really organized office. When my environment is cluttered and disorganized, even if it’s not visible (I know it when the inside of drawers are messy), it affects me. It clutters my mind. And when I clear my environment, it actually helps me to think more clearly, be more creative, and be more productive. Even though it cost me those 3 hours, it resulted in some really productive days. I was perfectly inspired to do it at the perfect time, and I didn’t ruin my schedule because I’d already done my one thing. I was on a winning streak, and I just kept going with things that helped me win some more.
Don’t set yourself up to fail
What most people do is they set themselves up to fail. They have this huge To Do list, which they can never get done. I know, I used to do the same thing. I could never get it all done, so every day, at the end of the day, even if I’d crossed off 20 things, I still felt like a failure.
Now, I was never, ever going to get it all done because, of course, new things go onto the To Do list all the time. And so, I was never going to win. But, when you get on a failing streak, when you feel like you’re failing, what happens is that your point of attraction starts to bring more experiences like that. Things go wrong, things take a lot longer than they should. You’re less productive than you want to be and instead of getting a lot done in one day, a lot more than you should logically be able to, you get a lot less done; everything takes a lot longer.
So, the tip really is to set yourself up for the easy win, because once you’re on a winning streak, you want to keep winning. You might be absolutely shocked at just how productive you become by doing that. Just keep in mind that you have to honor yourself; you have to honor your agreement with yourself. And, there are going to be days when you do your one thing, and you’re done, and you don’t want to do any more. In that case, don’t do any more.
I hope that these tips have been helpful for you. Let me know what you think in the comments. And, if you have any high vibrational time management or productivity tips, then go ahead and share them in the comments as well. I would love to hear them and I’m sure everybody else would as well.
Until next week, I am going to send you smooshy, smooshy, happy shiny puppy hugs, and I want to thank you for bringing your light to the world.