Do you find the day just gets away from you? Our schedules can easily get filled with busy work, and then there’s the mundane, admin tasks that are so time-consuming, they leave next to no space in our day for the projects we actually like doing. So how do we work around that? We’ve pulled together expert strategies to help you prioritise your time and work on projects you love.
Prioritise your time by setting boundaries
One of our favourites, #1 NY Times bestselling author Marie Forleo ensures she sets healthy boundaries by scheduling time off work for her and her team throughout the year so they can rest and refresh. During these scheduled times, her email autoresponder literally says:
Team Forleo and I will be offline for the next 2 weeks. We’ll officially see you back here on 2024. ????????????
I’ve been closing my business down for 2 full weeks in the summer (and winter) for years now and it’s been a game-changer for our team. Never forget that YOU get to write the rules for how you work, live, and thrive. Great things happen when you unplug from technology and plug into real life. ????????
We absolutely love that! …Going to set our email autoresponder right now…
“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honour your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.”
~ Bradley Whitford
3 ways to prioritise your time and work on projects you love
Kelly Nolan is an attorney-turned-time management strategist and mom of two who teaches time management strategies designed for professional working women. Here are her tips for making space for the things that light you up:
1. Pick the most exciting project on your plate right now.
You want to choose the one that calls to you the most. Think through how much time you want to devote to it each day/week/month. To get there, think of all the bite-sized steps that go into it and estimate how long each takes and the frequency. Then think about the time of day/week/month you want to do the steps and calendar time for it on a repeating, ongoing basis. This helps you protect time for the project. Don’t just turn to it during the dregs of your schedule – proactively protect time for it.
2. Be realistic.
By doing the above, you also see how much time each project takes. Sometimes, we want to embark on a whole slew of new things. But seeing the impact even one project can have on your schedule can help you pick just one exciting project at a time, be realistic, and actually accomplish projects – versus starting 4 and not finishing any. Create a place (e.g., OneNote, notebook, project management tool) where you jot down the other “backburner” projects you want to take on – ONE place – and then visit it when you need a new project.
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3. Prepare for distractions.
When the protected time rolls around, anticipate that you might be distracted by thoughts of other things you should/could be doing. Have a landing zone where you can jot down those thoughts to get them out of your head, allowing you to turn to them after you work on your project (versus doing them before you forget). After the project time, take the list and calendar when you’ll do the things. I’m a big believer that a solid time management system must help you know all things have a time protected for them so you can focus on what’s in front of you without worrying you’ll totally forget to do that nagging-concern thing.
Planning exercise: get your time back by using more innovation
The following exercise was inspired by the Make Your Mark journal, and looks at using innovation to make your task management more efficient.
Grab a journal or notebook and work through the following:
- Really break down what you do. What is your true role, purpose and mission in your business/career?
- Analyse your processes and daily tasks. What do you do? Why do you do those things? How do you do them? Why are they important?
- Consider your time. How is your time currently spent? How would you rather spend your time? What is your desired routine?
- Consider how you can automate or streamline some of your daily tasks so you can move towards your desired routine. Be creative!
Now it’s over to you!
It’s time to stop putting off the projects and things we love for a later date! It’s our responsibility to ourselves to make time each day for the things we enjoy, and that applies to our work too. Turns out, it’s OK (more than OK!) to set boundaries for yourself and to throw yourself into your most exciting project first, before any of the other stuff. We hope these tips above help you to be more innovative at work, prioritise your time and work on projects you love.
At LH Agenda, we design tools to help you come back from feeling worn out and unproductive. Our planners and journals help you start each day with intention, stay focused on your priorities, and keep productivity high all day long.
The Make Your Mark self coaching journal was made in collaboration with expert leadership coaches to help you examine your work and life to create more time and energy for what you love and are truly here to do. Click here to learn more.