It’s Monday, right around 11am. So far today you have gotten yourself and your kids out of the house as close to on time as you’re going to get. You’ve made an appointment to get your car serviced. Your boss has already given you a rundown of everything that you need to do in the office. You’ve scheduled out a week’s worth of social media posts, and created a rough outline of your next blog post. Your calendar and weekly to-do list is loaded back up and you are ready to take on the week.
While this may not look exactly like your morning, I’m sure you can relate.
And while I think we are all doing an amazing job at keeping up the momentum, we are also constantly trying to find ways to help us to stay on top of everything, and do it in a way so that we are the most effective with our time and resources.
Which is exactly what this post is all about.
Last week, I put out an article on time management. In it, I went over tracking every single thing that you do for a week, and then evaluating how your time was spent.
Every single thing that you did was then categorized based on the different hats you wear. And this is where I want to branch off today. Because figuring out these categories is absolutely essential to streamlining your productivity.
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Make a List
You know the drill. Let’s take a minute to think about the different hats that you wear.
- Personal Accountant – You have to stay on top of your bills and finances.
- Business Accountant – You likewise have to stay on top of your business’s bills and finances.
- Housekeeper/Chef/Nanny – Yup, I said it. While you more than likely delegate some of these responsibilities to others in your household, someone still needs to keep track of everything that needs to be done and then making sure it actually gets done.
- Personal Stuff – We all need the basics to survive, and we have to set aside time and energy for this.
- 9-5 – Enough said.
- Content Creation – Probably the most important time to set aside for your blog, but the one that is generally neglected for other things.
- Back-End Business Stuff – Emails, design, coding, networking.
If you look back to the time management post, you will see that in the example I created for that post, the categories were Personal, Work, Blog, Housework/Chores, and Sleep. I purposefully didn’t get too specific because that wasn’t necessarily what that post was about. I did mention that you should get specific, though, and that is exactly what we did here with this list. Everything on this list would fit into those broader categories. So let’s start there.
Create Your Categories
Up to this point, you have probably been wondering what this has to do with color coding. And this is where it gets fun! We are now going to assign a color to each of the larger categories.
Let’s give Personal purple, Work green, Blog blue, Housework/Chores red, and then gray out time that you will be sleeping.
If you were to plug these colors into a calendar, it would look like this.
Now, if you were to glance at this, you can see where you have what scheduled without really needing to read the details.
Additionally, I have conditionally formatted last week’s spreadsheets so that each category is automatically color coded when you enter it.
Want your own copy of my color coded time management spreadsheet?
It is all set up and ready to go!
Apply Them to Your Life
Now let’s take it a step further. I want you to begin to associate everything that you do in that aspect of your life with its assigned color.
When you write something down on a post-it note, put it on a purple post-it if it’s something personal, and a blue post-it if it’s blog related.
If you need to jot something down in a notebook that is work related, use a green pen or highlighter. I am a complete office supply nut, and these pens are the absolute best when it comes to stuff like this.
Make sure your filing cabinet follow suit. These are the files I use to for this.
While you should have separate calendars for bills, projects, and appointments, you will more than likely still have multiple categories on the same calendar. Make sure everything is either written or highlighted in the appropriate color.
And while this may seem like a tedious task at first, it will honestly become second nature.
Within Each Category
Now that we have each category organized and color coded, we need to look inside each category. You obviously don’t want to lump eating lunch and watching TV for two hours into one absolute category—one is essential for life, the other isn’t. And the latter is most definitely where I would shave some time off to get something more important done.
There are countless ways to handle this, and each will be addressed in upcoming posts. For time management purposes, you could make essential personal tasks a deep purple, and recreational or unnecessary ones a lighter hue.
For content creation, you could use a navy blue, back-end blog work an indigo blue, and accounting and financial time as a lighter blue.
These slightly more detailed subcategories are more than sufficient as a first move to see how you are currently spending your time and to begin to brainstorm ways you could rearrange your time to be more productive.
As we begin to really dive deeper into each category, though, we will move beyond that. And I look forward to going there with you in the upcoming weeks!
How did this all work out for you? Do you need help figuring out your categories? Choosing what goes where? Please leave a comment, shoot me an email, or find me on social media and I will be more than happy to help you out! That’s why I am doing this—I want you to succeed!
If you missed last weeks post and want to catch up, you can find that here.
And don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list so that you don’t miss next week’s post where we will continue to make you a master of your own time!
Do you know someone who could use this mini training? Send them my way so that I can also help them get back on track with their time management and begin to streamline their productivity!
I look forward to catching you all back here next week!
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And now, I am super excited to announce a new challenge that I created to help YOU increase your productivity!
5 Day Productivity Challenge!
Are you a highly productive person? Or are you still struggling to figure out a way to get things done in a way that works for you?
I have created a 5-day productivity challenge! In it, I will walk you through creating a system that works for you. The best part? It’s absolutely free! Click here to read more!
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