Did you know there are only 24 hours in a day? Yes. Of course, you did. I’m sure there are days when only 24 hours seems like a cruel joke. With everything you have to do, those measly hours don’t even come to close to being enough.
Then there are those people who just seem to rock those hours. They fly through their day checking things off their list like Liam Neeson on a revenge hunt. You watch from the deep end of the pool with your head barely above water.
How do they do it? What more can you do? Or, better yet, what can you do differently? Making your way to a better schedule and a more productive day may only be a few simple hacks away.
Do a Weekly Check-In
Did you know that simply doing a weekly check-in can significantly improve your productivity for the rest of the week? A weekly check-in is the time you spend assessing your week and putting a plan together for how you will tackle what lies in the days ahead. It’s simple enough, right?
Well, unless you are doing this weekly check-in at the right time, you may just be wasting time. Think about it. If you do a weekly check-in on Monday mornings to prepare for your week, you have used up your Monday morning…sometimes the most productive time of the week. And, with Fridays notoriously being our least productive days, you have just crafted quite a short work week for yourself.
Try this instead. Use Friday afternoons as your weekly check-in time. It will act as a brain dump before your weekend, allowing you to free up some space in your mind for greater relaxation. It will also help you jump start your week as a Monday refresher kicking you strong into the days ahead.
Work by Grouping
Knowing what you need to do is only a part of the battle; doing it is the real deal. I have found that grouping similar tasks is the best way for me to feel Neeson-esque in taking out my to-do list. This means that instead of writing a blog post, then sending a few emails, followed up by a client meeting I am most efficient when dedicating an entire afternoon to writing blog posts. Or maybe spending an hour or two each morning just answering and sending emails.
Call it grouping. Call it compartmentalization. Whatever you call it, it works. The redundancy of doing the same thing over and over is like hitting the cruise on productivity. Whereas, the crazy that happens when we jump from one task to another forces us to spend time switching gears between vastly different tasks…essentially wasting time.
Here are some ideas: schedule all your twitter posts in advance in a couple of hours, dedicate an hour or two to phone calls, focus an afternoon on all your data entry tasks, and bust out a month’s worth of blog posts in one day. Then write to us and tell us how the grouping method has changed your life forever.
Day of the Week
Consider this the grouping method amplified. The same idea as the grouping hack that compartmentalizes your tasks can also compartmentalize entire days. For example, take client meetings only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Or do all of your social post scheduling on the first and second Monday of the month.
Not only does this make your days more productive but it can help lower your stress because you know what you can expect each day (for the most part). But, as with most hacks, there is one key piece to make this work: you have to stick to it. Sure, sure…if a client is in need always step up to the plate. But being consistent the majority of the time is key to making this one work.
Keep Your Calendar Digital
The most effective scheduling hack is to keep your calendar with you at all times. And, unfortunately for my love for pretty planners and colorful pens (blame it on Lisa Frank), the paper planner fails in our fast-paced, on-the-go, environment. Our best bet is a digital calendar. Personal and daily work scheduling digitally is pretty simply; team CMVA consistently uses Google Calendar.
What you really need is a tool for your personal scheduling and for your clients. This is where Acuity Scheduling comes into play. This perfect calendar tool allows your clients to schedule time with you seamlessly. Block what you want, show what you want, and give your clients the feeling of full access to you. The kicker? It’ll sync with most of your favorite scheduling apps, including Google Calendar. Now if someone can just come up with a calendar app that duplicates the fun of a Lisa Frank animal print combined with the pattern mixing thrill of a stack of washi tape, my heart will go on.
So here’s the truth. Our schedules will be tight at times and stress is inevitable. However, there are some things we can do to be the master of our schedules again (at least most of the time). We hope these hacks help you get a little more peace and control out of your calendar.
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