Welcome to the second post in the Falloween Blog Series here at Createyou86. We are very excited to be unveiling our first case study. We have used several different sources to gather research data, and we hope that you find this case study helpful.
Being able to effectively manage ones work, free time, and blogging realistically can be hard to do when you aren't using the right time management techniques.
a. Some of the key problems in managing time are schedules, not knowing when to say "no", and not doing the things which are most important in our lives first.
b. Being able to effectively manage ones time between work, free time, and blogging is attainable with the right time management techniques.
a. Problems in time management exist because time is not being used or managed effectively. Maybe you have too many events scheduled, or you are not scheduling a few priority events each day. There is a possibility that you are not in the right planner, or maybe you never thought to use a planner to schedule your time at all. If you are having trouble with time management then something in your planning and organization system needs to be revamped. On the other hand there are also those who were never taught how to organize or manage their time.
b. Maybe you grew up in a very chaotic household, and do everything by the seat of your pants, maybe you are a procrastinator, and get stuck doing the most important things in your schedule at the last minute. This case study will explain why keeping a schedule, and effective time management will help make life seem more manageable, and less overwhelming by breaking down, and showing what industry professionals have to say about the subject. There will also be information from my own experiences, and from people within the planning community explaining how they manage their time effectively.
c. Being unorganized can impact your work, or free time negatively in many ways. The everyday tasks that you set out to do can seem completely chaotic, and miss driven. If you are working on a schedule, and other people around you are working on a schedule you may be hindering others schedules by not being able to complete simple tasks on time, and adding stress where it isn't needed. Effective time management will reduce stress as well as add time available to do other things throughout your day.
d. There are many people that are responsible for time management mishaps. There are bosses who don't set manageable deadlines, employees who work too hard expecting better payoff for more work when that isn't necessarily the case. Then there are people who show up late, unprepared or not ready to get the job at hand done. This can be the case in work, or personal time management. Working from home can really be hard. I can speak from personal experience with my own father. He has worked from home for many years, and it took some getting used to. He keeps a schedule everyday. He showers every morning, and is sure to dress like he is going to an office weather he has appointments that he needs to go out to or not. This means (a button down shirt, or polo, and nice pants) if he goes to his appointments in the tri-state area he always wears a suit jacket or sports coat. He also keeps a personal schedule. He eats breakfast, works, eats lunch, (some days goes out on sales calls, or eats lunch with clients), comes home and works most nights until around 7:00 PM. His work phone is hooked up to the house landline in case he is not near his cell phone (this is pretty often as he is older, and doesn't particularly care for cell phones he also DOESN'T HAVE TEXT MESSAGING!!). This only goes to show that you do not need the most high tech, or the most recent technology to do a job well or to help manage your time effectively. He also doesn't take phone calls after about 5:00 PM which is a normal working schedule. This schedule has worked for him for years, and he is one of the top sales people in his company. I believe it has to do with managing his time as effectively as possible, and only doing what is truly the most important for his schedule that day. Blogging can be a different story. As someone who has done several guest blog series on our blog it is very hard to do good work with other bloggers if you do not make yourself available. It is important to keep communications open, and let the other party know what is expected of them. I have actually had guest bloggers who either didn't communicate at all, or who requested that i send them information which i had already sent them, or to email them (which had a business reply, and several times i never got a reply email). Either way having direct contact with bloggers you plan on working with is important to make sure information is correct before going live. If you blog in your free time a schedule or planner will really help to manage what you need to get done, and what can wait.
4. Proposed Solutions
a. There are many possible solutions to effective time management. Some of the most popular solutions include:
1. Using a planner
2. Making a schedule, and sticking to it (include time for "play")
3. Eliminating the unnecessary
4. Having daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals
5. Knowing when to multitask
6. Reducing interruptions.
Balance will be easier if you:
-Know your values
-Reduce unnecessary things
-Set goals, and plan consistently
Values are a person's principles or standards of behavior, and one's judgement of what is important in life. It is important to have goals, and dreams that align with, and support your personal values. You should also feel comfortable in your actions, but be willing to try to adjust outside of your comfort zone, and be willing to ask for help. Having ones priorities in order is important. We try i believe instinctively to prioritize if we have children, or if we have something just as serious in our life like a job or even if our job is blogging. Sometimes though work can seem to overlap with other parts of our life, weather it be your boss telling you they need you to stay until that report is done (even though you have been at the office for ten hours already), or that they NEED you to come in on a weekend, or that you can't have that certain day off that you scheduled off months in advance for some personal time, and rest. While work might seem like the most important thing because it pays your bills what you need to do always remember that there is a human being behind everything you are being told you NEED to do, and if you do not prioritize your life someone else will! Knowing what is important to your everyday life, can help with planning, and taking stock of what is truly important weather it be work, life, or blog related. Below are several quotes from people within the planning community about how they deal with everyday planning, and organization.
"A schedule is a lifesaver. It is easy to break down what you want to do. Schedule an amount of time for work, and then after work unwind, and take time for yourself and your partner. Leave time for the unexpected."
"I'm getting better at time management. I use my blog planner alot more now to keep track of post stats etc. I know if i need to complete something blog/social media related i write 'check blog planner' in my personal planner. That simple step seems to work for me"
- Ladreena J.
"Planning helps! I like to do at least three things a day that i enjoy doing for me. For home, inviting someone over always encourages me to clean. I also try to get completely dressed when i wake up. For work i keep a notebook with me or i use my phone. I need to have a plan or it is completely unproductive."
- Beth Ann
"I'm still trying to figure that out! I usually work on my blogging, and freelance writing while my toddler is at pre-school and during her naps. That gives me the evenings to spend with my husband. It is never easy!"
We can often get caught up in the need to have "things", and the need to do lots of tasks at once. This can sometimes distract from our daily needs, and personal wants. We think that aquiring alot of things, and being needed to do many tasks will make us happier, and that we will have a fuller life. However, science says just the opposite. According to Greg mcKeown the author of "Essentialism: The Disciplined Persuit of Less" which focuses on the importance of being very selective in how we use our time was a guest on The Harvard Business Review's Podcast (Ideacast), and can be quoted as saying
"For most executives and high performers today life is fast, and full of opportunity, and the complication is that we think we have to do everything, and the impact of that is that we end up making a millimeter progress in a million different directions."
Have you ever thought to yourself "Well, this looks like a good event for my business, or blog, so i should put it in my schedule"? I can't even count on two hands how many times this has happened in my lifetime, and i bet it has happened to you as well. If you did this with every event you would be completely overwhelmed, and this can happen alot in business as well. Maybe your boss has asked that you stay late when you have already been at the office for ten hours, or maybe they have told you that you can't have off when you scheduled the day off months in advance. What you need to remember is that there is a human being behind those decisions, and as much as we think work is the most important thing in the world because it pays our bills, and keeps a roof over our head you should really be questioning the things that you are being asked to do.
"Often we conform to the category of if it is good, we should do it. If we can't possibly fit it in then we should fit it in. Because of that too broad criteria this leads to us saying yes to things, which really we should be questioning."
One of the most popular topics i have come across in my blogging experience (and in the planning community) is goal setting. We know goal setting. Most times it happens in the beginning of January with thee greatest intentions, and tapers off by the end of February into the beginning of March. However i have found that goal setting consistently has become more, and more necessary for life, work, and my blog. For my blog i might change things up once in a while, and change a weekly post so i always update a public schedule, and post it so all of my readers know. This schedule helps me plan out blog posts that i know my readers are expecting. According to Greg McKeown
"People are so focused on a short term result that they are chasing, maybe a quarterly objective even, that they are not investing the way that they ought to be for the medium, and long term horizon."
For my own blogging schedules I always have a schedule, and if something changes i am sure to post an update to social media as soon as that happens. My blog schedules clearly define what topics are covered on which days which makes planning much easier than flying by the seat of my pants for topics. I have covered this several times in previous posts. I normally do goals at the beginning of the year, and halfway through the year to reevaluate what is working, what isn't, and how i can improve on my personal goals. In his book McKeown talks about a rule that he follows almost to a T, and has worked for him personally as well as other people that he has suggested it to. He calls this "The Rule Of 3" also known as the "Personal Quarterly Offsight".
Every three months we should take three hours to identify what the three most important objectives are for us for the next three months."
Because we have a lot of personal changes coming up James (the other half of Createyou86), and i feel that this will be great for us going forward. It will help us set our personal, fiscal, and work priorities, and consistently keep us reevaluating ourselves, and our situation throughout the year.
When we hear anyone talk about mothers they are usually referred to as the ultimate multi-taskers. They might be juggling a small child or several children, a full-time job, and events on the side that can range from making it to church on Sunday, arranging playdates for their children to take part in, to having a side business, or even just having the house clean at the end of the day. Don't get me wrong, men are perfectly capable of these things, but women are scientifically proven to be better multi-taskers. However, what is really important while planning, and doing all of these things is to ask yourself "How valuable is this really?" In another Harvard Business Review Podcast which featured Julian Birkenshaw and Jordan Cohen who are coauthors of the HBR article "Make Time For The Work That Matters" ask this questions to several test subjects in their research. They also asked several others.
How valuable is this really?
Birkenshaw, and Cohen talked about several companies which are attempting to delegate tasks, reduce stress, and help to make their workers more effective in the work place. Two of the companies specifically were Ferrari, and Yahoo. Ferrari has decided that in order to get the most efficiency out of their workers that they will limit the in-house email system to workers only being able to choose three people to send an email to. This cuts down on pointless emails to other departments, and wasted time sending, and checking emails daily. This also creates, and encourages more conversation within the workplace. Yahoo has also implemented a policy that has brought their "at-home" workers back to the office to encourage much of the same that Ferrari is looking for from their workers. I feel that in the long run employees won't feel so overwhelmed (we talked about how taxing at home work can be earlier), and this will help with scheduling, and planning in the future.
Multitasking can also lead to early days, and even later nights. Do you ever find that you are completely spent after your nice filling lunch, and the emails that have been calling from your email are starting to pile up, and you may even have a big meeting that you need to "perform highly" in? According to Ron Friedman, Ph.D., and author of "The Best Place To Work" when he spoke on the HBR Ideacast Podcast said
"We are more sharp in the morning for 2-3 hours. Do less taxing objectives for the afternoon lull, or take lower priority meetings."
You may be wondering what this has to do with effective time management, but it has a ton to do with time management, and different ways that you can make your schedule work. You may find that you are exhausted when you come home from work, but you have a side business maybe being a planner sticker maker on Etsy, or something creative that you NEED to fit into your schedule after your long week, and planned schedule. Dr. Freidman also says
"We are more creative when we are fatigued. In order to be creative you need to be able to consider some ideas that don't necessarily feel like they are on track with what you are trying to achieve. Scheduling a creative task for the time in your day when you are a little bit tired can actually be beneficial."
so basically an ideal time to schedule a creative task into your time would be after you get home, have showered, and are sitting down for that first glass of wine to relax after your hard day of work.
Another very important solution to scheduling your time effectively is to try to reduce interruptions. This goes for those people who are "workaholics", and can't put their phone down when they get home, or they just can't get enough of what they are doing or love their job so much that they want to get ahead while at home. DON'T DO IT! JUST SAY NO! I can't be more forthcoming with this information. There really isn't a nice way to say this. You need to put your phone, and email away when you get home. It really is for your own good, and can cut into valuable time with friends, and family on top of being pretty obnoxious when you are trying to have a conversation with someone, and they are constantly looking at their phone. Here is why. According to Dr. Friedman
People who don't disengage, people who are constantly checking their emails in evenings, and on weekends, those people tend to be less engaged a year later because they are burnt out. If we don't fully log off, we can't fully recover.
I personally found this to be one of the most interesting pieces of information that i read during my research for this study because I AM GUILTY OF IT! I always feel like i need to be fully engaged all of the time to get the best responses from social media, and from my clients. Dr. Freidman offered several practices that he partakes in, and would suggest to anyone who is having a problem with leaving their work at work.
-Place your phone in a different room.
Lastly, one of the most important things you can do to help your schedule is to play. You just heard right you need to play! You might think this is crazy since you are reading a case study about effective time management, but play is defined as engaging in an activity for enjoyment ,and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose. This might mean a night out with the girls/guys, watching a movie, going to the movies, doing any activity that isn't work related, and you find enjoyment from (Pretty planning, and YouTube are my guilty pleasures), but that is just the thing. You shouldn't feel guilty about taking time for yourself, and doing things outside of work. Having some type of play in place promotes the idea that it is okay to pursue your curiosities even if they don't have an immediate reward. This may be why we love blogging, and playing video games. I know that i am an avid gamer. Before i know it, it is six hours later, and i am level 30 in my favorite video game, and i have earned enough coins to buy a horse. This may seem extreme, but it is the same thing with blogging. You sit down, and before you know it you have ten blog topics that you are writing about, and it is three o' clock in the morning. Dr. Freidman says that there are a few reasons that we enjoy activities like blogging, and playing video games outside of work.
- Immediate Results
Based on the above information you should be able to find quite a few ways to help change the way that you schedule your time. Weather it be leaving work at work, learning new ways to attempt working at home, or incorporating some type of "play" into your schedule just for you. Of course everyone is different, and you can change these tactics to work for you in any way that you see fit. I believe anyone who is having issues with effectively managing their work, personal, and blogging time can benefit from any of the above tactics.
Createyou86 would like to thank our Instagram, and Facebook community for their input, and data.
Harvard Business Review Podcasts (Ideacast)
#363 - How To Schedule Time For Meaningful Work.
#414 - "Do Thing' Better, Stop Doing So Much"
#456 - "Your Brain's Ideal Schedule"
We would love to know what you thought about this case study, if you employ any of these tactics, and if it helped you with efficiently scheduling your time. Let us know in the comments below!