I am one busy woman, sometimes I wonder though how productive I actually am. Running the National Vintage Wedding Fair takes up a whole heap of my time, then I have my freelance writing, this blog, managing my own and other’s social media accounts, plus two young children with oodles of homework and after school clubs. After the housework, there is very little time left for me. And I bet there are loads of you out there who feel the same, wondering where the time actually goes?
So here’s the thing; I am a champion multi tasker. Often I do 5 things at once which makes me believe I am a whizz kid however recently I have been asking myself whether this is actually being productive. What if those 5 things I am doing all at the same time are not being done very well at all? Then, on the other hand I am also a champion procrastinator – I can literally lose myself in Instagram for hours telling myself that I am researching and that it is an important part of my job when really I am just wasting time.
So this week has been all about stopping and really thinking about what I do and how efficient I really am.
When I worked for Tesco we had a productivity department that literally measured how much time each activity took then from that established how many hours of staff were needed to complete all the tasks needed per day to run the store. This was done by time studies so I decided to create my own.
And of course make it look pretty! Why don’t you have a go at this productivity planner to see how you spend your time.
You can download your own free printable here.
For three days I have written everything I have done that day with a timeline against it. I have also added a breakdown of the amount of hours that I have spent on: work, family, house, social media and most important of all, myself. It makes for interesting reading!
So what have I learnt about how I spend my day?
I love sleeping!
Firstly, I sleep a lot (yet am always tired?) so after day 1 I wondered what I could achieve and how much happier I would feel if I got up earlier. So on day 2 I got up an hour earlier giving myself time to do the chores, shower and have a drink before the kids got up and you guessed it, I felt better all day as well as feeling more in control of everything. I had time to think about wearing something nice, time to straighten my hair and also was less stressed with my kids. WIN. Not sure if I can keep this up but I want to try!
I am addicted to browsing.
I check my phone about every 15 minute, sometimes every 10, even during an important task. I check my emails continually, often replying immediately. What would happen if I stopped this? More importantly how can I stop this? It is clearly an addiction but one on day 2 and 3 I tried to start to break. Leaving my phone in another room, not taking it on the school run, even turning it upside down so that I cannot see the screen has helped. Surely I am not the only person that does this? How do you stop yourself from looking at your phone? Please do share your ideas and what works for you.
I beat myself up.
On day one I felt like I had achieved nothing on the business front but in fact I spent 5.5 hours completing work tasks. I know that if I worked purely on one task at a time throughout the 5.5 hours this would be sufficient, so I need to give myself a break and say this amount of time is cool. And be proud that I have done so much in so little time rather than beating myself up for not spending more time on it all.
Me time. What me time?
I spend very little time on me. If you look, the only “me time” on day one (which is a typical day) was eating and watching TV…hardly relaxing, spoil yourself kinda fun is it? So on day three I went to a café with other mums on a whim at 9am. Yes! I had to remind myself that this is why I am self-employed, that I wanted to freedom to work when I want and to be able to spare 40 minutes having a natter!
So what’s next?
I am going to try and time block activity so I am more focused. The big creative stuff on my “To Do” list needs to be broken down into time chunks (how long will it take me to do X?) then needs to be planned in.
I am going to plan more “me time” into the diary. I find this really hard to be honest but want to plan a day a month for me as well as other breaks throughout the week.
I am going to be kind to myself.
Keep your eyes peeled for more organisational posts and FREE downloads to help you, as well as me!
Don’t forget you can download your “How I spend my time, really!” planner HERE.