What is it about October that makes time management seem so . . timely? Maybe it's the way our to-do list grows with the approaching holidays. Maybe it's a bit of burnout that makes us so distracted, or the waning hours of daylight. We asked three Alt Alum what they do to manage their time more efficiently. Their tried and true suggestions are so good!
As the owner of her own digital marketing shop, Elizabeth Fein knows how easy it is to get sucked into the internet during working hours (hold on while I take a “Which Bennett Sister Are You?” quiz), “We often view our time on social media as “work” because it’s a big part of marketing our online business . . . We tend to spend a lot of time “researching” things on social media before we do them, and that’s not necessary.”
Elizabeth suggests asking yourself one simple question to keep you focused and efficient, “Is this work that is going to move me forward, or is this work that’s just filling my day?”
And if you still find yourself getting distracted by that Pinterest “research,” Elizabeth suggests setting a timer for tasks to keep yourself on track. When the timer rings, ask yourself whether you are engaging in work that moves you forward, and “you’ll be surprised at how much time appears in your day.”
“People always ask me how I do it all,” says Christiane Lemiuex. And we can see why. As the founder of Dwell Studio, and past creative director of Wayfair, a two-time author, co-host and judge on Ellen’s Design Challenge, and now founder of the gorgeous new home-decor brand The Inside, plus mother to two, Christiane’s efficiency is enviable. Her secret? Stack ranking both professional and personal priorities. “I do this exercise every morning for each silo of my businesses and life. I stack the most important tasks and meetings at the top and then rank the rest below. Sometimes during the day I shift the stack, but I always know what has to be done and what can be pushed off. It gives you a crystal clear visual of what needs to happen.” And once you have your daily priority stacking down, trying stacking out your week and month. The flexibility of this system is what makes it so effective, so don’t be afraid to re-stack as you go.
MAKING TIME FOR PART-TIME WHEN YOU’RE FULL-TIME
What if your dream job is something you’re working on after-hours? When things get busy it might be tempting to let it go for a while. Erin Baynham of Scandalous Beauty suggests building in time to make things happen, and then placing boundaries around that time. “I still have a full-time job, so I use that lunch hour wisely. That’s five hours of golden free time per week!” Erin eats her packed lunch while working on a specific set of predetermined tasks that she can knock out on her phone or laptop. She suggests giving some thought ahead of time as to what you will work on each day, “I try to plan these topics the day before so I don’t waste time fumbling through files and emails looking for things.”
What time management skills do you use to get your through the busy months? Let us know in the comments.