Hey babe! I’m glad you’re here. Welcome back to Boldly Courageous, a podcast created for you — the ambitious woman who is ready to take action and step fully into the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Welcome welcome, and thank you so much for listening to this episode of Boldly Courageous! I’m so grateful that you took the time out of your day to tune in.
Speaking of time, today’s topic is — drumroll please — time management! I know it’s not the sexiest topic, but it’s something that’s been coming up a lot in my Ignite Academy coaching and my one-to-one mentorship clients. So many of us have trouble with time management, and today I want to share some things that have really helped me to navigate my week, set myself up for success, and get into a rhythm where I’m making progress in my business
I’ll be real with you, I’m one of those people who needs a plan. If I don’t have a plan when I sit down for work, I’ll get distracted, and I’ll end up scrolling social media for a while.
Does this sound familiar?! We’re all guilty of a little mindless scrolling from time to time. It happens. But, I’ve also found the right tools to manage my time and make progress in my business. And here’s a little spoiler: when I’m being really efficient with the time that I am working, I’ve learned how to shut off when I’m not working and give myself time to recharge. That makes a huge difference.
With further ado, let’s get into the tools and tricks I use to manage my time effectively!
The Danger of Open Loops
How many of you out there feel like no matter what, you’re always tied to your cell phone? Are you always waiting for the next message from a new person who wants to buy your products or join your business? Do you feel like if you aren’t “always-on” you’ll miss a sale, lose money, or miss out on a new team member?
Trust me, I struggled with that always-on impulse big time. It was because I struggled with a lack of an abundance mindset and a fear of losing money. I had a lot of work to do!
But, part of that work meant finding space for those messages to go other than in my brain. I didn’t have a place for that follow-up or connection or DM to go on my calendar. Because I didn’t have a specific place for those types of tasks to live, they just stayed in my brain in open loops.
An open loop is a project, a conversation, or a task that’s not complete and lives on your mental to-do list. They can be the things that actually drain you: you know you have to do this thing, and it weighs on you. It might not be something that’s fun or something that generates revenue, which means it feels like an even bigger burden.
For me, it’s little things like getting my cell phone fixed, or booking a chiropractic appointment, or updating my car insurance. These aren’t things that really impact my business, but they’re open loops that keep running.
There are two reasons why you have to find a way to take these open loops out of your brain. First, when you keep these open loops running in your brain, they can drain your energy. It’s like having 20+ apps open on your phone. Imagine having a constant to-do list playing in the back of your mind?! How can you get anything done with that going on?
Secondly, keeping your to-do list in your brain is super inefficient. Things on there will literally fall through the cracks if you aren’t careful. It’s really important that you have a strategy and a system of organization and time management that works for you.
Now that we’ve identified one of the problems of ineffective time management, we can move right on to solving it.
What Is Your Energetic Capacity?
How do we start to fix this problem of energy-draining open loops and poor time management? I really think it’s critical to start with an awareness of your own energy flows throughout the day.
Here’s an example. I have the most brainpower and I can get the most done in the morning. I’ve noticed that Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, early mornings from like 9:00 AM till about 2:00 PM or 3:00 PM are when I am most productive. That awareness has allowed me to do the things that are most important earlier in the day (like record these podcast episodes!). And, I try not to put things that require minimal attention during the time when I know I have the most headspace.
Think about where you can best utilize your energy for the goals that you have. That’s the first step: take a look at the peaks and valleys of your energy throughout the day. Maybe you’re super creative at night, or in the middle of the day. Start paying attention to when you’re naturally able to focus and when you might get distracted more easily.
Once you get a sense of how your energy flows throughout the day, zoom out a little. How is your energy throughout the week? Are you the type of person who needs more space or do you want to jam everything in the first couple of days? Maybe Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are super productive, but by the time Thursday and Friday come, you might start to notice that your discipline begins to waver.
Get really clear on what your energy awareness is and how it flows, and then you can structure your schedule to align with that flow. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you will become!
Are You a Sprinter or a Marathoner?
As you notice how you work, ask yourself this question: Are you a marathoner or a sprinter?
When it comes to work, a sprinter is somebody who can be laser-focused for like 30 or 40 minutes. But, you start to lose focus and get antsy after around 45 minutes of intense focus. Or, you might be a marathoner: you’re able to go into deep focus for four hours straight and not come up for air. I’m definitely more of a sprinter. I need little breaks because I get antsy. That’s just how I’m wired!
This information will really help you when it comes to time blocking and building out your calendar. You’ve probably heard of the idea of blocking time on your calendar before. I think that’s super helpful. However, what I’ve found to be even more helpful is keeping the same type of activities on my calendar in blocks together. When we try to make our brain switch from one thing to another, it actually taxes our brain and burns more energy.
So how does that work? Let’s say you’re in network marketing. Think about your energy capacity, and decide what days are best for doing reach outs and recruiting. Decide: what are the days that I’m doing reports? What are the days that I’m coaching? Figure out what activities work well together to streamline your business and save your energy. You’ll be really surprised how much more you can get done when you’re going in on one specific thing.
Babe, I can’t stress enough here how important it is to really, really get to know yourself. Figure out what it is you’re resisting. Ask yourself: what am I challenged by? What are the things that feel scary? Do those things first, when you have the most amount of energy and when your willpower is really strong. This is why a lot of people work out first thing in the morning, right? Because your energy level is high.
Focusing on the hard stuff first has been a total game-changer for me. The other hack I want to share with you is just how valuable it is to have the right tools to take that to-do list out of your brain — and save you energy in the process.
The Best Tools for Time Management
Remember how we talked about open loops and getting them out of your head? Here’s the thing: you have to use the right tools to help you keep track of everything. I promise, babe, these tools will save you so much time and energy.
The first one is Asana. It’s truly helped me so much. I’ll be honest, I love lists. I used to keep lists all over the place: in a digital planner, a notebook, everywhere! And even though I wrote lists, I felt like I could never get anything done. It’s partly because my lists were scattered all over the place, but Asana remedied that system. Asana is completely digital. It syncs with your cell phone and Google Calendar, and it really allows you to get organized.
I also use Acuity to schedule online appointments, but Calendly is another good one. I love Acuity because it gives me a way to send a scheduling link. There are so many different calendar management systems that you can use. I use Google Calendar as well!
If you have anything in your business that requires you to have phone calls or Zoom calls or do interviews, having a scheduling system is essential. I have specific blocks on my calendar where I do podcasting. If I have somebody that wants to be a guest on my podcast, I don’t need to take energy away from myself and the thought process and deal with the back and forth on my phone, texting and trying to find times at work. That drains a lot of energy, right!? I can just send someone a link to my calendar, and they can find the time that works best based on my availability and theirs.
These are the tech tips and tricks that have literally helped me to streamline my life and get stuff out of my head.
Make Time for What You Value
The last piece of all of this is knowing what your value system is: what’s important to you on a day to day basis? You need to set up boundaries and systems that support your values.
So what does this look like for me? I value my energy because without it, I could get nothing done. For instance, my workouts are non-negotiable in the morning. Sleep is non-negotiable, and so is nutrition. I put these non-negotiables on the calendar and set boundaries around them. In order to produce great work, I have to give my mind, my body, and my spirit the time and fuel to recharge.
Here’s another example. I used to have this belief that in order to be successful and to serve people, I had to be available late at night because that’s when my clients were available. I started to shift my perspective and ask myself, “Do I only want to work with clients who can work at nighttime?” Am I available for that? What would it look like if I started to work with clients who were available during the day? That’s exactly what happened, babe. You have to design your day to protect what’s important to you.
So: think about your energy. Protect time for what matters most to you. Put in a system for your open loops to go, like an organizational tool. These practices will genuinely change the direction of your business. You will have more energy. You will have more free space for fun, and you’ll be able to thrive instead of just survive.
As always, I love to hear your takeaways from the episode! If you start doing some of these organizational strategies, let me know so I can celebrate you! And if you have other ways to manage your time, definitely share them with me! Shoot me a message on Instagram and tag me @themelissamartin!
Until the next episode, go out there and live your boldly courageous life! Bye guys!