When working with routines, especially if you are self employed or work from home, it is really important to have clear boundaries between work and personal activities.

It is very easy to just nip out to do a personal errand which disrupts the discipline necessary for work flow. Become aware of the things you find yourself doing that you use as a distraction – notice why you want to be distracted.

Create awareness of what your habits and patterns are by using a diary to record everything you do and review it at the end of each day. Did you use your time in a productive way? Did your day have the flow that you wanted to experience?

If not, challenge yourself to set clear boundaries around when you are available for business activities and when you will attend to personal or family activities and continue to monitor the result to see how this small change could work for you.

TIP:

I use a printout from my on-line calendar for a typical week to help get the clarity I need to make this work for me. This template includes all my regular, time sensitive appointments and the blocks of time around these that will be dedicated to business, personal time and family. When I first started to use this template I had to reschedule some appointments so they fit better with my intention to have clear boundaries between work and personal time.

It’s all about become really aware of your patterns, holding the intention of what you want to create and making small changes each day to bring it all into alignment.

Let me know if you would like some support to make this work for you – call/text Heather on 0212 406 535 or email mailto:heather@inspirationscoach.co.nz

This blog post on How to Create a Meaningful Morning Routine led me to reflect on a routine I created to act as an anchor, or point of reference for my business day, that I can use at any point of the day, no matter how I feel or how my day changes. I like to keep my routines flexible so I can be available for clients, my children, and for occasional “on call work”. These are the key priorities that I want to have flexibility to fit into my days with short notice if necessary. By creating a list of daily business activities, that I want to attend to every day, I am able to access this flexibility and still attend to the commitments that are necessary for the running of my business. Here is my daily task list for when I sit down at my desk, no matter what time that may be each day – early morning, mid morning, afternoon or evening. It focuses me and makes whatever time I have available productive.

  • Current initiative: this is an activity I want to focus on first each day, before I log into any programs on my computer, or attend to anything else. It can be an activity I have been procrastinating on, one that I am finding hard to create space for, or something that I want to become a new habit, a regular part of my day. The intention is to spend a minimum of 20 min on this activity first thing each day, before I do anything else. For me this is currently practicing my typing as I want to learn how to touch type properly.
  • Clear and reply to emails that need attention from yesterday.
  • Attend to any voice or text messages from yesterday.
  • Attend to any paper (letters/ receipts) or accounting tasks filed from yesterday
  • Creativity – I spend up to an hour on writing – my blog, working on tools and workshop programs.
  • Then I start to work with a closed task list in whatever remaining time I have available – tasks that I have identified from yesterday and previous days that I want to complete that were not urgent.

What activities would you choose to include in your daily task list? If you want to explore how you could implement a meaningful routine in your day, to support you to become more productive call/ text Heather on 0212 406 535 or email heather@inspirationscoach.co.nz.

April 29, 2009 · Time management · 1 comment

A computer is an amazing resource that has the ability to maximize the use of our time – so much can be automated and stored and we have access to an amazing amount of knowledge at our fingertips.

However it can also be a huge time waster – here are some of the challenges we can face…

  • we can constantly be bombarded by email which we feel we have to respond to immediately
  • we can get taken off task and lost in the web as we respond to these email and follow links to topics that interest us. Before we know it we have wasted an hour of our time, or more, and have nothing productive to show for it
  • our energy levels are depleted not just because of the unproductive distractions but from sitting in front of the screen for long periods of time without taking a break.
  • we can feel overwhelmed from the sheer amount of work that is right there in front of us to be completed – and that can be just the email and our task list, never mind the projects we need to attend to. We don’t know where to start, what to do first, how we are going to handle it all so we end up doing nothing or surfing the web to distract us.

So what is the best way to handle all this? Here are some ideas…

  • Select a current initiative, a project you have been procrastinating on and choose to focus on this first every day. Do not turn on your computer or open any other programs other than the folder or document related to this project.
  • At the start of the day brain dump all the tasks that you need to attend to on to a piece of paper or in your diary. Again, do this before you turn on that computer, so when you do turn it on you will be focused immediately on the tasks to be completed.
  • Discipline yourself to complete these tasks first before opening any other unrelated programs or activities such as checking Facebook.

I don’t enjoy spending excessive amounts of time in front of the computer and I am still learning, as well, how to limit my time here so I have space for other fun and more social activities. I want to come away from my computer feeling energized because of what I have been working on rather than feeling drained. As usual it’s all about balance of what I do with my time and creating a routine or structure that works for me.

I would love to hear your thoughts and how you handle your computer challenges – just click on the word “comment” at the bottom of this post.

And if you are ready to take action on creating a more balanced approach to life, but don’t know how, please email me now or call/ text 0212 406 535 to arrange a time to talk.

April 28, 2008 · Change, Time management · (No comments)

Part of my work with clients involves creating new routines to allow them to become more effective with their time or to focus on developing new behaviors until they become a habit. The first part of the process is identifying what needs to change and getting very clear on the outcome, so they can then craft the routine that fits with them and the lifestyle they want.

I am currently working on establishing stronger boundaries between work time and personal time. The end of my working day can sometimes be a bit blurry as I allow something I am engrossed in to compromise time that I wanted to be available for the family. I have also been known to sit down on the weekend to quickly do some work on the computer and find a couple of hours have disappeared before I know what’s happened!!

So I am starting to fine tune the routine that I have been working with up to now, to see how I can complete my work within set hours. As I have started to implement new ways of working I am reminded that there is always a period of discomfort when I have to think a little bit harder about what I am actually doing, and it can feel like it is taking longer to complete my list of tasks to begin with. This is just a natural part of the change process and will quickly disappear as the new routine or way of being becomes a natural part of my life. If you need some extra support as you make changes in your daily routines you can email heather@inspirationscoach.co.nz or call/ text 0212 406 535 to set up a time for a chat.