We are forever rushing around like headless chickens trying to achieve, achieve, do more, more, and then more again. We are busy; we want to be productive.
We want to do it all but we fail miserably. Is there any way you could use your time more wisely? Time is precious, elusive. It runs away…
Do you struggle to get everything finished on your to-do list?
Do you ever feel like you are forever juggling, wearing many hats at once?
Do you want to expand your business? Are you thinking of going on a college course or going back to uni? Fancy taking your blog to another level?
I know what you are thinking… There are not enough hours in the day, right?
If any of the above applies to you, keep reading. This article is for you!
When Sally and Lindy from Tots100 asked me to give a talk at BlogCamp Birmingham focusing on time-saving tips, I immediately thought I would share a brief overview of a typical day in my house, just to give the session some context.
7.30 a.m. Struggle to get up, shower, make porridge & coffee. Check everything is ready for the kids
8 a.m. wake kids up, get 2 little ones dressed, grab phone from 5 year old who’s watching Horrid Henry on my phone (how did she get hold of it?), encourage 2 big ones to get ready
8.30 a.m. breakfast
8.40 a.m. teeth
8.45 a.m. run out of the house
8.50 a.m. Walk 7 year old to Junior school
8.55 a.m. Walk 5 year old to Infants school
9.00-30 a.m. get home and drive 3 year old to preschool (Mondays & Thursdays) / Walk back home or go to town for playgroup
9.30-11.30 a.m. Play, clear up breakfast, wash clothes, tidy up everyone’s mess
11.30 Make lunch, eat lunch, clear up
12.30 p.m. Give 1 year old her milk, change her nappy, give her a cuddle and put her to bed
1-2 p.m. Dinner prep, phone calls, faff
2-3 p.m. check social media, take photos or answer emails as 1 year old naps and 3 year old rests next to me
3-4 p.m. School pick up in 2 or 3 different schools
4-7.30 p.m. play in the park, walk to the library or after school ballet then home, snack, play, homework, dinner, bath, bedtime stories
7.30-9 p.m. Tidy up everyone’s mess (again) / chat to Hubby
9 p.m. to midnight – work on blog
Midnight read in bed
1a.m. (ish) Sleep!
I turn off all devices but my phone off every Friday night when I go to bed, until Sunday night when my children go to bed. I can be fully present for them, enjoy the little things with them, draw, sew, cook with them and not stare at a screen when they are trying to have a conversation with me. I have even started enjoying ironing in from of the TV on Saturday nights (I know, sad, so very sad!).
Right, I bet your own daily routine is similar. Am I right?
No, you have no time. Yes, you can still be successful.
It has absolutely nothing to do with being lucky. It is all about working hard and being organised.
We sometimes look at problems the wrong way round… have you ever thought of not wasting time rather than trying your hardest to save time?
Without further ado, here are my 24 Tips to Be More Productive & Save Time (or How to Use Your Time Wisely)
- Sleep, rest, relax, have some ‘me’ time. If you do not take time to recharge your batteries, you will not be productive, end of. Running on stress, adrenalin and caffeine is not a long-term solution.
- Get chores (clearing breakfast table, washing the dishes, hoovering, tidying up) out of the way first but avoid wasting time (fine line, fine line!).
- Try the Pomodoro Technique. In short, using a timer, have 25 minutes of work, followed by a 5-minute break. Repeat until the task is done and move on to the next task. Frequent breaks are proven to increase productivity and focus. It works beautifully if you have large projects / posts to tackle.
- Have you heard of Mark Foster’s Rotation Method? It is the technique I use daily to get things done. There is a well-written description of the method in Elizabeth Wilson’s Stress Proof Your Life.
- Always have a plan – without goals and clear things you are aiming to achieve, you are going nowhere. Write down a list of what needs to be done (in the morning or previous night) and get on with it until it is all done. No wasting time on Pinterest (‘research’) or baking cookies for the kids coming for a play date later until it is done. Bye, bye procrastination! I know, I know, easier said than done.
- Less technology, more pen & paper = less time wasted
- Write ideas down as soon as they come into your head (even when you are in the middle of something else) then you can forget about them and go back to them later. Go back to what you were doing straight after jotting down the idea.
- When you are working on a post / assignment / article, consider closing emails & social media tabs to avoid being distracted.
- Disable phone notifications.
- Link to previous posts in your current article (saves times promoting old posts & hooks your reader!)
- Tackle what you dread most first. Phone calls, in my case.
- As soon as you have published a post, make sure it can be found. Share on all social media platforms with different ‘teasers’ & photos and promote as soon as possible (Linkies, Facebook groups…).
- Delegate: If you cannot do it, find someone who can (blog design, coding, proof-reading)!
- Keep learning. You can learn something new every day. I am into photography and I recently signed up to Emily Quinton’s online Makelight Course for food blogger. In June, I will attend William Reavell’s photography workshop for bloggers. I attended one of his courses in February and could not recommend his workshops highly enough.
- Networking, networking, networking – attend courses in your niche, go to events, shows, volunteer to help in conferences. Meet your potential clients face-to-face and share ideas with fellow bloggers.
- Join Facebook groups. You will get daily inspiration from bloggers or people with a similar vision to yours. It can also be a place to vent off frustration or ask for advice, share ideas, get paid work or start new projects.
- Make choices. Watching TV or blogging? To get things done, you will have to make sacrifices. You can do anything, but you cannot do everything. You are only human, remember?
- Write recipe/tutorial first, cook/make and edit in phone, tablet or printed copy as you go along.
- If you manage to get 5 minutes for work during the day, take some photos. Natural light always looks better and using your camera’s built-in flash shall be forbidden from now on (evil ,evil stuff!).
- Have a schedule of what to post and when and try to stick to it but remember to be spontaneous and write about what you are passionate about or you will become a bore.
- Read Achieve Anything in Just One Year by Jason Harvey. It is a life-changing book!
- Try doing things in batches. I tend to take photos and cook during the weekend, write posts and deal with work admin during the week. Doing things in chunks will result in better productivity.
- Do not worry about things you have no control over. It is completely pointless. In the past month, my site has been hacked, I have yet again broken my camera, my laptop has been playing up and I lost the notebook in which I was writing everything. I tried my best to sort these things out, but my blood pressure did not get sky high. I cannot do anything about these things. I just had a bit of a break. Why not, hey?
- Last but not least, work with the time you have rather than struggling against it and being frustrated at how little time you have.
It was an honour to be one of the speakers at BlogCamp. Thanks for the wonderful audience Aby and I had. I could hardly believe the room was so full that people had to stand up at the back!
All the feedback received was heart-warming and my very favourite comment was Kerry’s, casually declaring I must have been a great teacher. Thank you so much, my lovely! I do miss teaching. I miss my students and being able to keep in touch with my teaching background through public speaking is so much fun. Oh, and you were all so much better behaved than London teenagers!
Here are a few more testimonials, gathered on Twitter today. Thanks, guys!
Afra at ‘Mad Mum of 7:’
Karen at ‘That Lancashire Lass:’
Sus at ‘Rough Measures:’
Tracey at ‘MummyShire:’
Sarah at ‘Taming Twins:’
Pin me if you like me!
I am a finalist in the MAD blog awards in the ‘Best Food Blog’ category. If you enjoy reading my ramblings, I would love your vote!