Just a quick intro from me, then it’s over to Lora, THE most productive (and organized) person in all the land, or all of LC for sure! This post came about during one of our morning e-meetings where I was flapping around trying to get a million things done and not actually doing anything. I told Lora I needed to know her secrets to how she seems to get it all done AND find time to browse Zara online! I assigned her the task of giving me (and you) 10 productivity tips!
Over to you Lora…
Hello! We’re all busy (in fact, I’m typing this very fast). Kids, charity events, business meetings, dinner with friends, work deadlines…you get it; I get it. I’m not a time management expert, but with a full time job that includes an hour commute each way, and 2 part time jobs (blogging and photography), plus planning a wedding and spending time with my fiancé and friends, I’ve learned a thing or two on staying organized (and sane)!
- Use your smartphone calendar: I can’t tell you how many business owners/friends/etc. have said to me, “Oh, I forgot we had a meeting/you were coming by.” It’s simple. When you set up a meeting, put it on your phone calendar. Then the key is to review your week on Sunday to see what you have coming up. Check it each morning as well. Nothing will be a surprise!
- Utilize your notes app on your smartphone: For me, my best thinking comes in the shower. Hence, the shower notes. As soon as I get out, I write them down; pick up Susie’s birthday gift, email so-and-so about that thing. We feel so overwhelmed at times because these thoughts are in our heads all day long and just kind of sit there and make us feel like we are going to have a panic attack. No more! Seeing the tasks you must accomplish puts it into a little checklist. I keep a running memo going and delete and add as needed.
- Get up early: We feel overwhelmed and want to get into fetal positions when we rush-rush-rush getting ready in the morning, grabbing our coffee and dashing out the door. As that may work for some, I feel when I have a little extra time, I can make those lists of things to do and prioritize the day. Maybe we can’t get everything done on our list. What’s a must to get done today?
- Pick one thing: Bev has mentioned to me that she feels sometimes she can’t get one thing done because she has so many windows open on her computer and she’s being pulled back and forth. Here’s what I do. Pick the most important thing and do that. No peeking at the other windows until you’re done. It’s the honesty system. Do it.
- Realize that you don’t have to do it all: We can’t possibly donate to every charity we get a request from in the mail each day, you can’t open a store charge card every time they ask you at the register. So now is your time to be picky with your social, business, and personal life. Learn to say, “No” or, “Not right now.” You don’t need to explain. And sometimes priorities change. An event that seemed so important to attend doesn’t seem so imperative now that it’s the end of the week. I’m def not saying blow people off (never good), but gracefully bow out if you’ve put too much on your calendar 😉
- Get help: Really. There are interns, part-time staff, a high school student looking for extra cash. Let some things go. My #1 thing? Hiring a house cleaner. Once a week she comes and makes the house look (and smell) amazing. It’s not as expensive as you think, and I can put off going out to dinner an extra night during the week to afford it. That leaves your weekend open to other things and not cleaning. Whew!
- Take time for email: I check my email often during the day and take time to respond at that time. Not tomorrow. Those emails get pushed to the side and can be forgotten. Again, if you own a business it is IMPERATIVE that you respond to your customers/clients ASAP. No excuses. They will find someone else who does what you do that will respond and wants their business. What does this do? 1. Gets you customers that know you care. And 2. Keeps your inbox number low so you don’t feel so overwhelmed.
- Set time boundaries: When you schedule 2 hours for a lunch meeting, keep it at 2 hours. Your lunch partner will understand and know that you respect others’ time when you tell them you have another engagement you don’t want to keep waiting. This goes for everything. Set time limits – it’s how busy people get all the things done in a day that they have on their list.
- Take pictures: I know, I’m a photographer…BUT I often take photos with my phone on things I need to get at the store (fiancé’s aftershave I can’t ever remember the name of, a flower arrangement of mums I saw in a magazine I want to put together for my front porch, etc. Seeing the photos in your camera roll are visual reminders of things to do. Keep them there until you get it done. If it’s now March and you never bought the mums in October, then you can probably delete the pic……but with this technique, you’ll have those mums the next time you drive by the nursery or grocery store!
- Have some wine: Really? Yes, a drink of choice, or relaxing in a bubble bath at the end of the day (whatever your thing is) slows down the brain and allows you to regroup again (much like the mornings if you got up early). Slow down. You must take time. See #8.
Photos by Lora Warnick.