From Chaos to Calm: A journey to better time management

Today I wanted to talk about time and time management tips, because seriously, I have had a week of disaster, interruption, and not being able to move forward! I walk into my house every night and my kitchen bench is just full of crap. I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but my sign of things being out of control is my kitchen bench. But that’s okay! It’s normal and it happens to everyone. But I know how to get myself out of this. By following the tips and tricks I’ve outlined below, the feeling of overwhelm, disorganisation, and out of control, turns into cool, calm, and collected.

So, let’s get started! The cause of our overwhelm and lack of time management is often because we don’t do the simple things. We don’t prioritise or delegate. We allow ourselves to be interrupted by the small things and don’t take responsibility that we need to look after ourselves. Rest and exercise are two easy things that are often first to go out the window, but are so important. Making sure you’re getting enough sleep and going to bed at a reasonable time allows you to wake up on time in the morning feeling refreshed. Getting outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, and moving your body helps your mind and body reset. For some people it’s the difference between walking and driving to work. For the business owners out there, it’s also about making sure you have a team around you that are trained and ready to do the things you need them to do, which allows you to delegate easily without feeling like you need to micromanage or take on more than you can handle.

Let’s get onto the practical tips!

First thing to do is write the biggest to-do list in the world. This to-do list has absolutely everything on it – from remembering to buy toothpaste, to arranging your fridge to get repaired. Once you’ve completed your list, you’ll see there’s probably a lot of things that you actually can’t control. We’re going to remove anything we can’t control off the list. This will not only clear your list of things to do, but also the mental stress of worrying about things you simply cannot control! Next up, look at your list and find the things you can immediately delegate, whether that’s getting a cleaner for your home or making sure you’re not taking over tasks that other people are perfectly capable of doing. Finally, prioritise. Go through your list and figure out which tasks are more important and need to be completed first. This might also be dependant on who the tasks affects.

Okay, your list should be looking a little bit more manageable now! Next, we need to figure out what is actually urgent, and what sounds urgent but it’s just noise. My old business coach Mark Dobson (shout out to Dobbo!) splits this into 3 sections. Stimulus, obligation, and drive. Stimulus is the noise. It’s the little things we think need reacting to immediately, like every single email that comes our way, but they’re actually just distractions that make us feel busier than we are. We can block time for stimulus, for example first thing in the morning when we don’t mind a quick task to get us ready for the day, but we don’t need to action them straight away. Next up, Obligation. The things you know that you need to do, but you don’t want to do. For example, food shopping, paying bills, or following up with customers. Don’t forget to find places where you can delegate! If you’re at work, is there someone else that is capable of completing this task? Now onto Drive. Drive is our creative zone. It’s the place we need to be in to build and grow our business. It’s that feeling when we’re in flow, things are working, and we’re moving forward. 

You should now have quite a clear to-do list, but how do you action it? Block time. Block out an hour on your calendar to do the first task (or however long you think it will take). Once completed, move onto the next block, and the next. This will also help you really see how much time you have free to complete a task vs how long it might be taking you with all the distractions and overwhelm thrown in. Before you know it, your task list is almost empty! The most important thing to include when you’re blocking time is time for things that really spark joy in you! Make time for yourself, partners, friends, or family. Because if you can’t completely enjoy the journey you’re on and make fun out of the mundane, then you’re not truly living.

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Phoebe is available for interviews, guest appearances, article commentary, and talks on a range of topics relating to property, mortgage broking, and personal finance (particularly for women!).