I am sure if someone had an exact and bullet proof answer to this question, they would have been placed in the Guinness Book of Records and chosen to be our world President if it was possible.
We are all incredibly busy all day every day from the moment we wake up till … the moment we wake up as many of us are guilty of working while falling asleep in bed.
Some of us are too busy to rest, others too busy to see friends, many people cannot afford time off to travel and others don’t take enough lunch breaks. And the reason being is that we are too busy to step away from our work. Sometimes I wonder how do we all manage to remain sane!
So, how do you manage your busy life?
Over the course of my marketing career I’ve been fortunate enough to work for myself as well as other people. I’ve been lucky enough to work with different industries and different areas of marketing. No matter what I’ve been involved with I always been surrounded by a bunch of super busy people. However they all managed to live their lives fully, fitting work, fun and rock n roll in.
I’ve borrowed a few techniques from a few successful business people, applying them in my every day personal and professional lives. I am hoping these would help you too.
1. As much as it might sound super nerdy, carry a notepad and your schedulewith you and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. It helps you to be conscious of your day, your time and your tasks. It is similar to measuring and writing down your calories as it allows you to see what you’ve eaten already and what you can have more of.
2. Mind maps are not for everyone, however can be truly helpful if you are, like myself, a very creative person hungry for more structure in your life. My mind maps resemble lists but just look much prettier. I draw circles placing big titles inside them identifying the nature of each task. The brunches growing out of my titles represent tasks associated with the big deeds. Moreover, I highlight tasks and titles in certain colors giving them more or less urgency. Under my brunches you can often find lists which are smaller sub-tasks when my jobs get super complicating or multi-leveled.
3. Assigning time pushing things around is an important skill this is why I like calendars and to-do lists. As much as I’d love to, I cannot fit 1058473 tasks a day so I commit to a few a day working the rest of my activities around my calendar.
4. Spend time planning and strategising; and of course always allocate time to do it. Planning is your productive time. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail. The secret to mastering your busy life is to systematically focus on importance and suppress urgency.
5. Make it a habit to check e-mails later in the morning rather than first thing when you wake up. Modern technology is amazing and, as a marketer, I know it like no one. Checking e-mails before even having your breakfast creates this unnecessary urgency you don’t want to start your day with. My favorite real time example is Gina Lednyak’s morning routine which forces her to only review her e-mails late in the morning: “The morning is spent on client strategy and team brainstorming. I try not to check email until 10am so I get some solid work in. I always find that my best strategy time is before 1pm so the more I can fit in the morning, the better”. Ignore or turn your notifications off as well for the time being when it is really important to focus on your current work (if not related to social media).
6. Every time you need to make a few phone calls, try to only go with one type phoning people till everyone is contacted. Get all the media calls done and move on to your clients etc. Jumping from one type of conversation to another can sometimes disrupt your thoughts and affect your outcomes.
7. And of course, if you are dealing with the Urgent or planning to get a big bulk of work done in a small period of time, feel free to be creative and put a do not disturb sign.