Four weeks ago I published a blog piece titled "What Do You Do All Day?" and if you remember I ended it with this:
You may have noticed I don't actually answer the question as to what I do all day and that was an intentional omission. I really wanted to get you started thinking about your day and what you do all day, evaluate things and determine if you want to make changes or if you need to make changes. I will do another post in which I really do answer the question what I do all day, so stay tuned!
Well four weeks later and here is a partial answer because I didn't log every minute of my day. Right now I am very comfortable with my time management, and when tracking your time it is generally to get a feel for where you can save time and better structure your day. For this and the previous blog item, I knew I would have to track my time but I didn't want to go to the extreme because I am pretty comfortable with my current time managment.
Also, I don't like to make perfect the enemy of good, there can be a time and place for perfection but in reality those times are pretty few and far between. I am a big believer in working smarter not harder and if I was uncomfortable with my time management I may have gone into more detail, and when I am tracking projects by billable time rather than a flat fee for service you can be darn sure I am a perfectionist and would go into more detail. Since this was simply done as a check-in to make sure I was on track for me and to use it for illustrative purposes this good enough, if you go through a similar exercise you may find you need to go into either more or less detail, the thing to remember is you can always adjust as needed.
Let's take a look at what I have, it is relatively simplistic breaking downtime with each cell representing 15-minute increments. My day runs from 9 AM to 4:30 PM and since I work from home you will see I do try to maximize my efficiency by doing some household chores during the workweek. I know that not everyone can do that but I look at it as one of the perks of working from home that helps balance out the downside of working from home.
One other thing that you will see is some significant chunks of white space in that schedule. It is there for two reasons:
- I am still growing my business which means I do have more free time than I would like, ideally, more of this would be filled in with client work.
- I like to build in flex time because things happen. By scheduling some blank time this helps me reduce stress when those things inevitably happen, I have a cushion available.
Keep in mind that this is just a sample week, and while I do like to keep some structure because it works for me, each week is going to vary depending on how many clients I meet, if I am attending networking events that week, what is going on with the family, etc. I find that one of the challenges, as well as rewards, is that each day and week is slightly different than the previous one. Things that I do consistently are:
- Monday I like to work on creating things for my blog and Facebook.
- Tuesday is banking/invoicing/accounting day. Doing it every Tuesday generally means I don't need to spend a lot of time, alas I am human and don't always follow my schedule which is why the demo week shows me spending so much time on it.
- Friday I like to wrap up loose ends and prep for the next week.
Did you notice that the images I used in this week's blog are all my own? Yes, you get a glimpse at not only my schedule which is broken down in time increments, but that is also my very own planner, desk, and pens and I took the photo with my phone I did manage a few small edits such as cropping, adjusting the color, saturation, and adding in the blue box with the photo credit on my phone. Then I made some more adjustments using Instagram tools, I especially like using the 'vingette' and 'tilt shift' options. Finally, I used GIMP to rotate the image, so you don't have to turn your head! Don't worry photographers I will not be taking over your job anytime soon, but I had fun with it and wanted to change things up a bit this week.
If you are interested time management and productivity below are some links to people or articles that I found interesting and helpful. The top two in the list below are certainly favorites of mine.
- Laura Vanderkam
- Gretchen Rubin on productivity
- 20 Productivity Experts
- 8 Expert Approved Time Managment Tips
- 10 Common Time Management Mistakes
(Note: I am not being paid for my mentions of people or articles I used above nor do I receive referral compensation. The links I provide are for your convenience only.)
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DISCLAIMER: This advice is general in nature and not to be taken as personal professional advice. This blog does not provide legal advice if you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.