As many of you know (or don’t know!) - Alexa Lily is quite a small operation. And by small we mean a total of two women (Anel and Jen). We have no employees and we definitely do not have an office. We WISH we had one - our dream is still to have a small retail space with a little office integrated into the space where you can come and shop our Edits in real life, where we host workshops for you, and have networking evenings to mingle with fellow girl bosses. Unfortunately that is still a pipe dream (although we are working very hard to get there!).
In the meantime, we hustle from our homes, cafés, and co-working spaces. Doing this however can result in a lot of distraction. You are busy typing an email, but the laundry machine goes off so you “quickly” hang up the wet laundry and then you see something lying around that you need to put away, and then you realize that you still haven’t called person X to talk about Y, and before you know it it’s 2 hours later and you still haven’t sent that email. It’s a daily struggle and we’ve found that to overcome this you really have to be organized and disciplined. Easier said than done, right? Don’t stress. We’re here to share our top 5 tips for managing your time and avoiding those inevitable distractions.
- First and foremost, every morning when you’re ready to sit down and get s*it done, start by doing a “brain dump”. This typically means taking a piece of scrap paper (or a Notes page at the back of every month of Your Weekly Edit 2019 planner) and write every single thing that you have to do today down. It shouldn’t be neat or categorised. This is for you to get all those ideas for the day out of your brain and onto paper.
- Now you can look at your “brain dump” and categorize the items into a “to-do list” (remember Your Daily Edit 2019 planner has a dedicated To-Do List space!). Look at your “brain dump” and see which items you need to get ticked off first. Schedule these into your scheduler within the first hour or two of the day (you could write the most important one in Today’s Top Focus in Your Daily Edit 2019 too!). Keep the items that require less brain power for the end of the day when you know you’ll be a little tired and not so keen to work. Make sure all your items are clear and understandable. Remember just the act of writing the item down is already sparking some ideas and getting the ball rolling!
- Once you’ve scheduled your to-do list into your day and blocked off how much time each item will take, it might be useful to set a timer for yourself for every item. It may sound very strange and almost high-school like. But trust me - it works. Having a timer keeps you accountable and adds that extra layer of (non-stressful) urgency to the task. And there’s no better feeling than the timer going off and you being able to scratch out an item on your list!
- A very important part of a productive day, most people forget, is to take breaks. We can’t sit down for the entire day, much less for more than a couple of hours! So make sure you schedule in your breaks so that you are clear about when you can quickly scroll through Insta or make yourself a cup of coffee. It’s important to get up and stretch. Take a walk around your house, go outside for 5 minutes and breathe the fresh air to awaken your mind, or splash your face with cold water. Give your body and mind a little break and it will reward you with more focus.
- Finally - if you are a freelancer or if you have a very cool and progressive office environment -do not drag out your day if you don’t need to. Honestly. If you can confidently say you can get all your tasks done within 4 hours, then get them done and use the rest of the day for personal enjoyment. That’s the beauty of working remotely - you are in charge of your time. Don’t feel guilty about going to the gym at 2pm in the afternoon or spending time with your kids after school. Dragging out your day because you think you “need to work from 8am - 5pm” is just silly and archaic. Deliver excellent work, plan out your days well, remain honest about how much time you need and we promise you’ll live a happier life for it.
That’s it! We’ve practiced these tips extensively for the past 2 months and we can honestly say this works. Last year we wasted so much time because we didn’t plan effectively (yes shock horror we own a planning company but struggle planning ourselves. It happens. We’re just human!). If you have an Edit 2019 - use it to your advantage! Complete the above exercise daily in your planner and reap the rewards. Your planner won’t work unless you do - put in the effort and become more productive!
Until next week!
With love always,
Anel + Jen