What if I told you that you’re wasting up to 80% of your daily energy and mental capacity (and therefore – 80% of potential money earned!) every day? That is – if you’re not already making the most out of this technique.
Do you feel like you’re constantly running around, never getting anything done? Running an online, product or service business is not easy. It’s extra hard if it’s your side-hustle, if you have a family, or something else you need to commit a huge chunk of your time to. However, there is a way to design your day so that it works for you.
The best thing? It’s a simple technique you can have up and running in less than 30 minutes of your time. And I’m letting you know the exact steps to take in this post!
The productivity journey
I am a SUCKER for planning and organisation. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as organised as me (and I don’t say that to brag)! So, going through a lot of resources, methods, techniques for making the most out of your days, I’ve collected a few which generate the most success – leave me with more time on my hands and more money in my pockets ? So you’re in good hands!
And when I started using this planning technique, it honestly changed my life. It felt like I got 2 days of my week back!! Now I don’t do ANYTHING on Mondays. I just stare at a blank spot in the wall. Jokes aside, I really don’t do any work on Mondays. And I work only 6 hours a day Tuesday to Friday. So how do I get all of this done in that short amount of time??
Getting more done with batching
No, I don’t have a 3 people team helping me out. I don’t even have one! The only thing I did is I devoted 30 minutes of my, then very precious, time to think about all of the tasks I am doing on a daily, weekly, monthly basis and map them together so I can batch them.
There’s the secret word. Batch.
What this means is that I have dedicated days for certain tasks! For example:
- Monday — Reading and learning
- Tuesday — Meetings and admin
- Wednesday — Writing (I’m writing this blog post now!)
- Thursday — Content creation and production
- Friday — Content creation and production
- Saturday — Studying
- Sunday — Selfcare
This allows me to give each day of the week a focus.
What this does (aside setting you up for pure success) is making you use your time wisely — efficiently.
Why is this important?
You see, when we multitask and try to do everything at once, our brain actually wastes 20% of the energy and time while switching to the new task. When we switch again, boom, another 20% gone.
According to computer scientist and psychologist Gerald Weinberg, taking on additional tasks simultaneously can destroy up to 80% of your productive time.
That’s HUGE! Basically, Gerald says that if you’re trying to juggle two tasks at a time, you lose 20% to context switching. If you try and do three tasks, you lose 40%. If you try 5 or more… you lose 80%.
This is valid not only for 2 “business” tasks, but for example – doing your illustrations and watching TV (two tasks), writing a blogpost and checking your notifications + clicking on them and replying to people (three tasks). For this reason, you’ll find my extra tips on productivity and staying productive at the end, so be sure to read until the entire article ?
With batch working, you are essentially eliminating this issue by doing the same themed tasks the entire day or for a block of time.
The idea behind this is to spend less time and be more productive. At the end of the day, you finish your tasks faster, get to cross off things off your to-do list early in the day and you have more time for YOU!
So now you (hopefully) realise the importance of focusing at one thing at a time. Please shoot me a DM if you don’t so I can hammer it in ?
Let’s work on getting you set up so you get those 20%, 40%, 80% back.
The essential elements of a work schedule designed to work for you
So, what does a a schedule designed for sustained attention look like? Have a look at mine below.
Do you see these red events on the top of each day?
These are my batch working topics.
And then you can see the blocks throughout my day, basically letting you know on how I plan and approach my days. I’ve covered on how to plan your day with blocks here, so check it out if you’re keen on expanding on this method even more.
Let’s design your own week and daily focuses.
What you’ll need:
- A pen and paper (or an iPad or other digital device of your preference)
- Some post-it notes (ideal, but optional)
- Approximately 30-45 minutes of your time
- A favourite beverage to enjoy while working on something for yourself ?
- A reward for when you’re finished ?
There are 3 steps to it:
- Writing down all of the tasks you do day to day
- Grouping all of those tasks into contextual themes, and
- Assigning your own topic days (daily focus)
Write down all of the tasks you do day to day
Take a piece of paper – ideally post-it notes, and write down everything you do on a daily basis. Do you have a dog to walk? Eat breakfast? Cook lunch? Edit photos for Instagram? Write captions? Go to the post office? Make food? Do commissions? Do yoga?
Write EVERYTHING down.
This exercise will take the most amount of time, but it’s key to setting our days for success.
Group all the tasks into contextual themes
Because we lose the most time and brainpower when we switch from task to task (or even worse, don’t finish tasks and move to the next ones ?), grouping the tasks into contextual themes will immediately alleviate the majority of the possibility to do so.
That’s why this exercise is crucial. Don’t worry – it’s fine if you can’t do it always, that’s not the point. The point is to try to maximally help yourself get the tasks done!
So, to start with this step, read your tasks (aloud or in your head – I love to talk to myself ?) and start grouping them together. Doing commissions and illustrating? Sounds similar. Writing IG captions every other day? Writing Pinterest pin descriptions? Put it in the same bucket – it’s writing.
Feel free to use my contextual themes or add your own:
- Watching (courses, YouTube etc.)
- Listening (podcasts, audiobooks etc.)
- Content creation
- Content production
- Healthy habits
Pro tip: to join the seemingly “unjoinable” ones, like going to the post office and to a yoga class (or your job, or dropping off your kid to school). If you’re planning to go out of the house, plan in to do all the “out of the house” tasks you do so you don’t have to waste extra time later!
Give your days a focus
Okay, so by now you already have your tasks and contextual groups laid down. WELL DONE!!!
Now what you need to decide is what you will do on what day! Don’t be afraid if you have more themes than days! ? Go back to your list and think are some of the themes a smaller group, part of a bigger one? For example, are healthy habits actually a part of selfcare? Is social part of lifestyle?
Before giving your days focus from these groups, first make a table of 7 columns and 3-4 rows.
The first row will be the day names (go figure ?), and in the row just underneath, you’ll outline your BIGGEST contextual groups. So, for me they are as follows:
|reading||Big vision work||Writing blogposts||Creating content||Producing content||University work||Healthy habits|
|watching||Operational work (admin)||Writing IG captions||Lifestyle|
|listening||Meetings||Writing podcast/youtube scripts||Social|
Then, in the rows below, put your smaller contextual groups that are a part of the bigger ones. Just like I did for Monday for example. I don’t have a lot of reading to fill out an entire day, so I put three of the similar contextual groups on the same day.
Tips when deciding on focus days
When doing this, be mindful of what are your best performing (high-energy) and worst performing (low-energy) days. For example, I thrive on Fridays (especially evenings) and am slow on Mondays. That’s why my Monday is intentionally designed to be slow and prepare me for the week ahead, and Friday is full-on.
Feel free to copy my schedule if you wish to, but I’d encourage you to get in tune with your energy levels throughout the week and when do you feel the most inspired (for creative tasks) versus low energy (for admin tasks).
And there you have it! Now your days and weeks are set up to enable you to have up to 80% more time than you did before! How brilliant is that?!
I’ve promised you some additional tips at the end of the article, so here they are:
- I keep my phone on do not disturb mode and silent ALL THE TIME
- When I’m working, I hide my phone somewhere I can’t see it so I don’t get the urge to check it
- I decided on my daily focus themes based on my energy levels
- I go for a short walk (30min or less) twice in my 6h workday
- I make sure that my daily focus and tasks are driving me towards my goals
So over to you — what are your daily focuses looking like?