Archive of ‘Productivity’ category

How to Manifest a Successful Astrological New Year!

How to Manifest a Successful Astrological New Year

It may be March but did you know the astrological New Year is right around the corner? Monday March 27th kicks off the official start of the astrological year with the New Moon in Aries and this is a wonderful time to hit the refresh button on your life and energy if you feel like 2017 just hasn’t quite gotten off on the right foot! So, to help you find success and learn what is in store for you this year, I am hosting a FREE LIVE EVENT called HOW TO MANIFEST A SUCCESSFUL ASTROLOGICAL NEW YEAR with my friend, fellow empire builder and master astrologist, Madeleine Joan of Written in the Stars!

Join us on Sunday March 26th at 3PM Eastern/Noon Pacific for a star guided and tarot filled reading to help you maximize your productivity and success this year!

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE PRIVATE WATCH PAGE and make sure to bookmark it for the day of the event.

Feel free to invite your friends and share on social media as well via the event link: bit.ly/2017astrony

Can’t wait to see you all there!

xoxo,

 

My Entrepreneur Spring Break Playlist {March 2017 Productivity Playlist}

Entrepreneur Spring Break Playlist

My Entrepreneur Spring Break Playlist {March 2017 Productivity Playlist}

I don’t think I mentioned this, but yesterday was my birthday (yay for me!) and I’ve decided that I am taking the rest of March as my own personal business Spring Break! I always remember in college that my spring break fell around my birthday which was awesome, but ever since then, I’ve failed to really take time off to rest and relax during this pivotal time of year for myself. Well, now that the launch of Empire Building is done, I’ve cleared my schedule and plan to spend a dedicated amount of time focusing on myself and my personal interests. I’m not going to pull back 100% from my business, but I do want to devote most of the hours of the day to doing my own thing. I’m not entirely sure how my days will be spent, but I can say that I really want to focus on meditation, physical activity and reading. I also have some personal home projects I want to accomplish, like organizing and decluttering some spaces that have been neglected. I’m thinking a life purge is in order and I’m looking forward to doing some spring cleaning and letting go of the old to make room for the new!

Of course, I’ll need some great tunes to listen to while I work on these projects, so today I’m sharing my Entrepreneur Spring Break Playlist with some of the songs I’ve been loving lately that seem to always empower me to get up and moving!

I hope you have a wonderful week and enjoy this playlist! Even though you may not be able to take a Spring Break, I’d love to know how you’d spend some extra personal time and maybe even how you can incorporate some simple activities into your days this week to take advantage of the Spring Break energy in the air! Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Successful Launch, Chanel Birthday Unboxing & Meal Prep {Work Week Vlog 5}

Successful Launch, Chanel Birthday Unboxing & Meal Prep {Work Week Vlog 5}

In case you missed it, yesterday I posted my latest Work Week Vlog to my YouTube Channel! This vlog is another week in my life episode that shows you the behind the scenes of my life and business from Monday to Friday. In this episode, I am focused on the successful completion of my launch for the upgrade of Empire Building, I unbox and haul a few different fashion and beauty related purchases, share the birthday presents I’ve purchased myself and meal prep!

As you may already know, I work for myself full time as an online entrepreneur. I create and sell digital productivity tools, including digital courses, info products, printable productivity inserts, and ebooks. The best part about my business, to me, is that my income is mostly passive- meaning, when I make sales, I don’t necessarily need to do anything in order to process orders. I have intentionally built my shop as a self-serve area where orders are automatically processed and customers have immediate access to their purchases. Of course, this type of business means I have a very flexible schedule, however, I do tend to keep pretty regular business hours, as I do usually have a steady stream of work associated with the content creation and digital marketing I do to keep my business growing.

These vlogs are my attempt to share a deeper look into my business and the way I live so that any aspiring entrepreneurs or business owners can see how I spend my time, how I plan out my work, and how productive I really am! Of course, I do like to share fun lifestyle goodies as well. As they say “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!”

I hope you enjoy this video and if you do, please consider clicking through to my YouTube channel and supporting me and my content by subscribing!

xoxo,

3 Life Saving Productivity Tips You Can Learn from SCRUM

3 Life Saving Productivity Tips Learned from SCRUM

3 Life Saving Productivity Tips You Can Learn from SCRUM

As some of you may already know, I recently read the book SCRUM: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland and JJ Sutherland! Now, this is a productivity book that has been suggested to me many many times, and I’m glad I was finally able to fit it in because it really is quite a gem of a book. In my mind, SCRUM picks up where my perennial favorite Getting Things Done by David Allen leaves off. Where GTD is all about organizing tasks and being efficient, SCRUM focuses on teamwork and project management. Now, while not everyone works as part of a team (myself included) their are a few strategies found in SCRUM that I think should be used by EVERYONE who is trying to move projects and goals forward- no matter what type of work you do. Let’s review:

Concept #1: Inspect & Adapt

In scrum, the concept of Inspect & Adapt is used almost like a mantra for checking your work. In the book, the author describes previous methods of project management used within the technology sector that essentially ignored the concept and led to project management disaster. When you check your work as you go, insuring that what you are working on it is functioning and still part of the goals of your project plan, you know you are moving forward and have little to tweak or go back to once you reach the end of the project. No matter what work you do, this concept applies because we should always make sure that what we are working on is actually functional and still necessary so we don’t waste our time on tasks that don’t matter or don’t work! Every time you complete a task, make sure the next item on your list is still relevant as well and you will avoid doing more work than necessary.

Concept #2: 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule is a concept that I’ve relied on for a long time and it’s an essential rule for various businesses and situations. The 80/20 rule means that 20% of your effort will end up producing 80% of your real results. It’s interesting to think about, isn’t it and almost unbelievable but true! When I worked in sales and marketing we learned that 20% of our products drove 80% of our sales, and 20% of our customers did 80% of our total business. So it makes sense that most of what we do to achieve a project or goal really doesn’t have a heavy weight on the outcome. Instead, it’s the essential 20% of tasks that really achieve our ends for us. Now, this is something that fascinates me personally because I am always striving to understand what exactly the 20% is in my business so I can cut out the excess fat of the other 80% of my work that is really either a waste of time OR just minimally moving the needle. In order to evaluate this for yourself, when you start off with a project plan, I suggest identifying the key tasks that need to be completed in order for your project to come to a minimal form of completion that fulfills the basic goals of your project. Then make a weighted list of other tasks that would be nice to complete if you have time once the minimal work is complete. That way you focus your time and energy on the essential parts of your project and set aside tasks that you would like to do if time permits!

Concept #3: Impediment Removal

The final concept of SCRUM that I think is essential for anyone to use in their own work is impediment removal. Meaning that as soon as you see or experience a roadblock to your work, an issue, a setback, that you deal with it as soon as possible. In the SCRUM framework, the manager has the responsibility to remove this impediments, so if you do work for someone else, make them aware of issues immediately. But, if you work for yourself, you are going to have to get your hands dirty and deal with the problem. That doesn’t always mean that you will have a perfect solution for it- I think it’s reasonable to evaluate your situation and decide to sidestep the issue completely if it doesn’t have any bearing on your project (sometimes issues come to us as distractions, not actual problems), but taking action immediately means you can move quickly through your tasks without having this issue hanging over your head or having to make accommodations for it.

I hope you found these tips insightful for your productivity! If you haven’t read SCRUM yet, I would recommend checking it out, here is a link where you can get it online and if you want to get it as a free book on tape from Audible, here is that special link I used to get 2 FREE audio books instead of their normal offer of one! Let me know what you thought of the book and these tips down in the comments.

xoxo,

Mastering Project Management | 3 Tools & Tips to take an Idea from Concept to Completion


Mastering Project Management | 3 Tools & Tips to take an Idea from Concept to Completion

Yesterday on my YouTube Channel I shared a fresh installment of my 3’s a Charm series that I think you are going to love! In case you don’t recall, 3’s a Charm is my new series where I will take a specific productivity concept or situation and provide three different tools, tips or resources to help you work smarter, not harder! In this installment, I am talking about Mastering Project Management and sharing three tools and tips on how to complete your projects, even big time consuming ones. Definitely check the video out when you have a moment and let me know what you think!

What You Will Learn About In this Video

  1. SCRUM: The art of doing twice the work in half the time by Jeff Sutherland and JJ Sutherland
  2. The Project Management or Brainstorm Board Technique
  3. Time Blocking for Project Planning and Management

I hope you enjoy this video and I’d love for you to share your personal insight into some tools, tips and resources you use for project management in the comments below! Of course, if you have any questions or need additional insight, leave me a question and I’ll see how I can help!

xoxo,

 

How to Complete Personal Tasks and Goals if You Struggle with Competing Priorities


How to Complete Personal Tasks and Goals if You Struggle with Competing Priorities

This week on my YouTube Channel, I started a new Q&A series to address the productivity issues experienced by my community. This is not a traditional Q&A series where I might take questions from a variety of individuals and answer them in one video, instead I’m taking one reader submitted email and breaking down their situation and how I would approach fixing the problem via a video response.

Dear Alexis,

I am struggling with finding time to do PERSONAL tasks during the week. I work from home as part of a team, I have goals and productivity standards to meet, and also a baby! So, I tend to accumulate personal tasks to do for myself on the weekend, but most of the time I end up accomplishing only a few of them. I would also like to blog more during the week, and not only on the weekend when I just want to switch off and spend time with my family. I noticed that in the past months I focused my attention on being productive at work, but I have to be productive with myself too. An example of my focus on work only: I call the baby sitter only to dedicate myself to work. Not for doing something personal. I feel like I am wasting money and time when I do not use for work the hours when the baby is not with me. This is not good, not only for self care but also for being productive at work as well.

Thank you so much for your work and help.

Cle

The Issues at Hand

  • Lack of Prioritization
  • Lack of Focus
  • Too Many Tasks

Now if this situation ressonates with you and you find yourself constantly pushing off personal tasks because of competing priorities, definitely check out my response in the Q&A video!

I would also highly suggest checking out my Planning for Success Master Class. The video master class is info packed and walks you through my process for setting priorities, goal setting, managing tasks and creating routines to support your time management. It also includes many other productivity tools and strategies to ensure your life is running smoothly and successfully. If you’re interested in the class, I’ll go ahead and leave a link down below in the description box for where you can find it on the charmed shop.com.

Thanks so much to Cle for submitting this great question to me as part of the video Q&A! If you have a productivity related question or issue that you’d like me to answer in a future Q&A video, feel free to email me and it may be featured in an upcoming video!

xoxo,

February FREEBIES: Dashboard, Monthly To Do List & Wallpapers

NEW January Planner Printables You Won’t want to Miss

February FREEBIES: Dashboard, Monthly To Do List & Wallpapers

Let’s get our February planning started with some free printable planner inserts and new calendar tech wallpapers, shall we?

Of course, I love to see pictures of your planner inserts and wallpapers at home on your planners and tech gadgets! If you share a picture, please use #CharmedGTD so the whole community can see your setups and of course tag me @MissTrenchcoat as well in your pictures on Twitter & Instagram!

Happy February Planning!

xoxo,

My Morning and Evening Routines (PLUS My Routine Essentials!)

My Morning & Evening Routines PLUS My Routine Essentials!

My Morning and Evening Routines (PLUS My Routine Essentials!)

Since I shared some ideas on developing your own Morning and Evening Routines yesterday, I thought it would be nice to share my personal routines with you, including some essential items that play an important role in keeping me in line on a daily basis. If you recall from yesterday, I believe it’s important for you to define a routine that works for you personally, and I hope yesterday’s post has given you some clarity. It always helps, however, to see examples from others, which is what I intend to do for you today. Without further ado, here are my routines!

Morning Routine

{7:30 am} Wake Up and Stretch: I normally wake up without an alarm at around 7:30 am as my husband is getting ready for work. When I wake up, I like to stretch a bit before I get out of bed and may reach for my phone to check messages and the news as well.

{7:40 am} Drink Water: I keep a tumbler of water next to my bed and will start sipping on it when I wake up, usually before I even get out of bed. I am always thirsty and so getting hydrated immediately is a big priority for me.

{7:45 am} Turn on Meditation or Sound machine App: As I get out of bed in the morning, I like to put on either a guided meditation or sound machine app to help me wake up my mind and start the day on a positive, inspired note.

{8:00 am} Make Bed: Once I’ve got my meditation on or once it’s complete (depending on how I feel that day), I will get out of bed and make it.

{8:05 am} Dress: Once my bed is made, I like to change out of my pj’s and into my outfit for the day. My daily uniform is usually comfortable leggings and a utility blouse, tunic or light sweater. I’ll also pop on a pair of house shoes or slippers because my home office has hard wood floors and I don’t like when my feet are cold!

{8:15 am} Morning Hygiene: Once I’m dressed I start my morning hygiene washing my face, brushing my teeth etc. On some days this is pretty quick and on others I will take more time to put on makeup and do my hair.

Evening Routine

{11:00 pm} Refill Water Tumbler: The first thing I do when I am getting ready for bed is to refill my water tumbler and bring it upstairs to my bedroom. Usually I head upstairs to end my evening and prep for bed between 10:30 – 11pm depending on what I’ve done that evening. On weekends, however, this can vary.

{11:05 pm} Evening Hygiene: Once I’m upstairs, I will start my evening hygiene practice which includes taking a shower or bath, removing my makeup, and cleansing. I take my showers at night so I can relax, get into bed nice and clean, and fall asleep faster.

{11:30 pm} Self Care: Once I’m clean and in my robe, I like to do some sort of self-care activity before bed. This could be a home facial treatment, listening to a podcast or book on tape, or giving myself a face and neck massage.  (mask, cream, haircare)

{11:45 pm} Pajamas & Hair Prep: Once I’m done my self-care (or after a little while if I’ve turned on a book or podcast) I switch into my pajamas and prep my hair for bed. Since I have very long hair, I must either braid it or put it into a high bun on the top of my head to keep it tidy while I’m sleeping. If not, it makes it uncomfortable for me to sleep because my hair goes all the way down my back and makes it hard for me to move around and get comfortable.

{11:50 pm} Essential Oils & Crystals: Right before I get into bed I will turn on my essential oil diffuser and arrange some crystals on my bedside table. They are always on the side table, however, I like to make sure that everything is tidy and that the crystals aren’t being covered so I get the optimal affect of having them by my side as I sleep!

{12:00 am} ASMR Video & Eye Mask: I like to be in bed ready to sleep by no later than midnight. Once my oils are on and I’m in bed, I will put on a night mask to help me sleep as I am very sensitive to light, and if I need it (which I do most nights) I will turn on an ASMR video with my earbuds on to help me drift asleep.

Morning Routine Essentials

Evening Routine Essentials

In order to make this post a maximum benefit to others, I would love if you would share your morning or evening routine in the comments so we can see some more examples that could possibly help others in the community develop their own routines. I hope you won’t hesitate to leave us your thoughts and actions below!

xoxo,

How to Develop a Productive Morning & Evening Routine

How to Develop a Productive Morning & Evening Routine

How to Develop a Productive Morning & Evening Routine

All of us have a morning and evening routine, whether or not we want to acknowledge it. As humans we tend to do the same things repetitively and automatically, but this doesn’t mean we are doing the right things or the most productive things. Learning to control our habits and routines is a crucial step to living a more productive life, but this process doesn’t have to be complicated or require us to add a bunch of different to dos to our lists. My philosophy on routine building is to start with what you are currently doing, eliminate the unnecessary and swap time wasting tasks for productive ones. So let’s get started helping you develop your own defined and productive morning and evening routines!

What do your morning routine and evening routines look like right now?

Think about all the things you do in the morning between the time you wake up and leave for (or begin) work and then all the things you do in the evening in order to prepare yourself for sleep. Make a list to help you work out all the details, but most importantly, ask yourself why you do each item. I don’t doubt that the majority of tasks on your list are important, but, I do question whether everything you do is necessary to be completed in the morning before you begin the bulk of your day. Some examples of common unnecessary tasks performed in the morning and evening include:

Preparing/Planning meals: unless you’re cooking breakfast or setting up dinner in the crock pot to cook while you go to work, your morning is not the time you should be meal prepping, nor is your evening. Ideally, your lunch should already be prepped and in the refrigerator waiting for you and if you’ve waited until the morning of to decide what dinner is going to be, you have significantly increased the chances that no matter what the answer is, the result is going to be take out. Try prepping the meals for the next day while you prepare dinner so you are using your time in the kitchen wisely.

Choosing clothes: These should have been laid out the evening before, not the morning of.

Working out: Despite all we hear that working out in the morning is the best thing ever, there isn’t much scientific research to back that up and some research has found that working out in the morning when your cortisol levels are naturally at their highest doesn’t work well for some people. Likewise, nothing makes it harder to sleep than a late night workout before bed, so plan for your physical activity during peak daylight hours if you are really interested in improving your health.

Cleaning up: The habit of leaving messes to sit until the morning is one that you desperately need to break, but that doesn’t mean you should stay up late doing chores. Try to pick up after yourself during the day and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and trouble.

Completing work tasks: If it really can’t wait until you get to work, you’ve dropped the ball. Try not to spend your evenings or mornings on tasks that belong to your 9-5.

Watching TV: News is one thing, but waking up and turning on the tv or falling asleep with the tv on is another terrible time wasting habit that can cause morning stress or evening restlessness. Same goes for your computer and tech gadgets. I won’t say you can’t check your phone before bed or when you awaken, but don’t let it keep you up or keep you from getting out of bed on time.

What’s missing from your morning or evening?

As we evaluate what we are currently doing as part of our unofficial morning and evening routines and what unnecessary tasks need to go, we also need to put thought into what we are missing that may need to be added. The purpose of a morning routine is to help you start your day with a framework of success, and the purpose of an evening routine is to help you end your day peacefully. So what aren’t you doing right now that could support those ends and furthermore what could you choose to do in the morning or evening to move you closer towards success with your goals. Sometimes there are specific actions we can take in our mornings or evenings to help support our goals, but other times just the simplification of our routines and the elimination of wasteful habits can be the best way for us to support goals. Here is a list of tasks to give you an idea of things you could add to your morning or evening routines.

  • Prayer
  • Meditation
  • Stretching
  • Hydration
  • Breakfast
  • Journaling
  • Self Care
  • Music
  • Reading
  • Gratitude
  • Affirmations

What does a productive morning or evening routine consist of?

A productive morning or evening routine will look different for each person, but if you can outline a simple routine for starting and ending your day and strive to stick to it, you will find that your mornings become less stressful and your evenings become more restful. Here are a few tips on what to do and not to do when building your routines.

Do This

Subtract before you Add: Before you consider adding any activities to your routines, make sure to take away some things first by rescheduling those tasks to different parts of your day or eliminate them completely.

Use Common Sense: You know your needs and energy level in the morning, so don’t mess around with what really matters to you and helps you to set your day up for success. I am a believer that even inessential tasks can be important if they significantly affect your mood and outlook on the day.

Create Boundaries: Your morning and evenings are pinnacle parts of your day that should be protected so that you can start and end your day properly. Put boundaries on other people and certain tasks, even if that means setting yourself some rules, so you respect whatever time you can devote to setting up and ending your day productively.

Don’t Do This

Wake Up Earlier or Go to Sleep Later: Unless you really have zero time to complete even a basic morning or evening routine, don’t feel pressure to force yourself to change your sleeping pattern. Yes, we all wish we woke up earlier, but what we want in theory and what our bodies need in practice are not always the same. Your routines should fit into your life by swapping time wasters with more productive tasks, not by changing your schedule entirely.

Take on Too Much New: There are a lot of opinions on what you should do in the morning and evening to set yourself up for a productive and successful day, but it’s not your responsibility to try them all out. Eliminating time wasting behavior will be difficult enough to manage in the morning and evening without adding the complication of adding new tasks as well. I think a simple 10 minute routine can be as productive and set you up for as much success as a whole 60 minute routine.

Aim for Perfection: When it comes to developing a new morning or evening routine (or both!) you can’t expect that you will stick to the routine 100% of the time. I think setting a goal of completing your routine in it’s entirety 3 days a week is a good start. Working up to 5 days or your workdays would be excellent. And don’t forget, you can take time off from your routines or create different ones for the weekend and that’s perfectly acceptable as well. Don’t set yourself an unnecessary standard for these routines because it is literally too early and too late in the day to expect perfection. You are only human after all!

I sincerely hope this post stimulated some ideas for you to develop your own morning and evening routine. If so, I’d love to hear about it down in the comments!

xoxo,

How to Theme Your Work Days to Optimize Productivity

How to Theme Your Work Days to Optimize Productivity

How to Theme Your Work Days to Optimize Productivity

Most of us have a never ending stream of tasks and activities we perform at work and struggle to get ahead on our to do lists. If you are jumping from task to task blindly you are wasting precious time and mental energy. Although some of our work may be varied, I bet that you have some repetitive tasks or projects that could be managed so that you get more work done in less time and help you do better work or produce higher results. No, I’m not talking about batching your work, although I a way that this part of todays topic. I’m talking about theming your workdays. Having a plan for each day of your work week to tackle similar items or spend dedicated blocks of time on important projects without interruption so you have the breathing room to do your best work. As you may already know from watching my Work Week Vlogs, I have been theming my work days since I went full time for my business, but this was a practice I also regularly employed in previous positions that helped me do excellent work, beat my deadlines and demonstrate myself as a capable employee who was able to take on bigger and better positions. So, let me teach you a simple process you can use to create a themed work week with virtually any job position!

What Does it Mean to Theme Your Work Days and Why is it More Productive?

If this is a new concept to you, theming your work days means that you are designating a specific day of the week to complete a specific task or project. For example, in my themed work week Monday is dedicated to writing blog posts. Now, writing blog posts won’t be ALL I do on a Monday, but it’s my focus for the day so that I am batching this work. When we batch work, we know that we save time because we are doing a specific activity repetitively and not jumping from different types of tasks which causes a time lapse when we need to stop doing one thing and change mental direction and focus to start another thing.

Think about a production plant where workers down a line are each doing one specific task over and over. It’s more efficient to work this way from a productivity standpoint because the worker remains focused on one thing, and it almost becomes an automated process for the worker. One summer I worked in a data processing facility and spent eight hours (with breaks of course) at a computer typing information from paper forms into a computer program that gathered and tracked the data. I’d start the day with a stack of forms and as I completed my work new stacks would be delivered to my work station. I did one series of tasks over and over robotically, in a room with many other data entry workers and we processed a lot of information very efficiently! Although some of us may have a job like this where we do one specific task or series of tasks over and over all day, most of us have more varied positions that give us the flexibility to choose what we will work on from various tasks we have been assigned. Because there is this strong element of choice and self determination, jobs like this make us feel less like a robot, but also trigger some of our most basic human flaws.

Our inability to prioritize can cause issues with deadlines, the lack of structure can cause us to waste time thinking about what to do next, and fear of failure can cause us to procrastinate on certain tasks. All of these basic human flaws waste both time and mental energy because we are jumping from task to task without focus. In addition to that, when we work without focus, not only are we wasting time and mental energy, but the quality of our work falls. Focus is an important part of productivity and finding a way to create structure in your work both inside and outside of the office can lead you to do more work in less time and truly work smarter, not harder!

How to Theme Your Work Days (even if you think you can’t)

If you are thinking that theming your work days sounds like a nice idea but that your job is different and can’t fit into a themed week, consider these steps.

Step 1: Keep a list of all the tasks and projects you complete each day and compile them for a week or two. The list doesn’t need to be detailed and it can be kept on a separate sheet, your computer or in your planner, but just make sure to make a quick note of all the work you do each day and the general time frame for when you worked on it.

Step 2: Review your list at the end of the tracked time period with a pile of sticky notes and a pen. Review your list first for tasks related to dedicated projects and write down the project on a sticky note with a few bullets underneath for different related tasks and mark down the number of days and total estimated hours you worked on that project. For example, if you worked on a presentation for an upcoming meeting and you ran some reports, sent some emails to get information, built a slide deck and created handouts your sticky note may read:

AOP Presentation

  • Reports
  •  Emails
  • Slide deck
  • Handouts
  • (3 Days, 4 Hours)

Step 3: Review your list for tasks you did more than once and write the task on a sticky note with the number of times you completed it and total estimated hours spent. These tasks do not necessary need to be identical, but the same general task. For example, if you ran multiple reports in the week that is one item, but the fact that the reports may have varied in terms of parameters doesn’t necessarily matter. The idea is that you were doing a task that could be batched. Make sure to cross out tasks from your list as you make a sticky note so you don’t duplicate.

Step 4: Create a hierarchy in your sticky notes by laying them out on your desk or on a wall so you can get a sense of your work. Layout all your projects together, and then the additional non project related reoccurring tasks can be ordered by frequency so you can see what work you did over and over.

Step 5: Make a sticky note for each day you work (example, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday etc) and stick them in a row to act as a header to a column. If you work 5 days a week, you should have 5 labeled columns. Looking at your work from step 4 think about how you could have mapped out your work from the previous week(s) more efficiently if you had assigned tasks to specific days. Start transferring tasks and projects from the hierarchy to the new daily column system, placing tasks and projects under the days they would have best fit. This is your chance to go back to the past and rework how things should have been done now that your week is over and you know what was accomplished and what perhaps wasn’t. Consider your reorganized week and determine if you can structure any of your days according to an optimized theme.

Not every task will fit perfectly into this map, but that isn’t the point. The point of the exercise is to visualize your work to see if patterns emerge for any days once you reviewed and laid out your week optimally now that it’s over. You may see that Monday would be a great day for you to run all your reports because optimally once they were out of your way, you could immediately move into completing other subsequent tasks or projects. You may also see that you can push certain work off to the end of the week because other tasks have priority.

Keep in mind through this activity that theming your work days doesn’t mean that all you can do on a certain day is a certain task. Remember when I said that Monday I write blog posts but that won’t be all the work I do? That’s because inevitably I need to reply to emails, place orders, make calls, and perhaps even tie up loose ends on a project as well. By setting blogging as my theme for Monday, however, I am providing myself a structure and telling myself that I will block out time in my schedule for my blog posts to be completed. Depending on your week, you may be able to dedicate a block of two hours on Monday to reports, and then spend the rest of your day doing your work as you normally would. You don’t need to have every moment of the day planned, but having some structure in place for when you will perform certain tasks can help you automate your work day and optimize it productively!

I would love to know if this concept of theming your work days is something you are interested in trying or have tried in the past. Let me know your experience and feel free to provide additional insight in the comments of this post so we can all learn from each other!

xoxo,

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