Today’s post is a little different from my usual topic themes – we’re going to talk about managing your schedule.
I have written about the important link between time, money and happiness before and today I want to dive into a few specific techniques you can use for managing your schedule and how they can benefit your financial life!
When it comes to managing your schedule, you could take a cue from legendary entrepreneur Elon Musk (who is famously known for his 120 hour work week) and use the time blocking technique.
So, how does time blocking work?
First, add all your daily or weekly tasks to a to-do list.
Then break your day up into blocks of time and assign a block of time to each item on the to-do list – all the tasks, events and activities in your life.
You can time block for work and personal – it’s up to you how much time you assign for each thing.
Musk is known for time blocking every 5 minutes of his day. I guess that’s what it takes when you’re making plans to colonise Mars!
For example –
|7.30am||8.30am||Morning routine (more on that below)|
|9.15am||12.15pm||Most important tasks|
|4.45pm||5.45pm||Activity with the kids|
|7.30pm||9.30pm||Relaxing / family time|
Rather than jumping in and trying to time block your whole week at once, just start with time blocking your morning, then build up to a day then your week.
Plan your daily top 3 the night before
What you do the night before can have a big impact on how productive you’ll be the next day.
Finish each day by writing out the 3 – 5 most important things you want to achieve the following day.
If you work in an office, you can even do this before you leave and place the list on your desk so it’s the first thing you see when you arrive.
You can take it a step further by scheduling those items into your calendar – or time block – for the next day.
This exercise takes just a few minutes but the productivity payoff for managing your schedule is HUGE.
Why? When you’ve decided on the essential tasks to tackle, and have committed yourself mentally to doing them, you won’t get derailed or waste time figuring out what to get started on.
Eat the frog
The idea is simple – you work on the most challenging or un-fun task on your to-do list first thing before moving onto anything else.
Time management guru and author Brian Tracy calls this “eating your frog,” quoting Mark Twain who famously said –
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
It’s tempting to start with the easy things and put off the difficult stuff but getting the hardest task out of the way first is a psychological hack to boost productivity.
With the tricky, boring or un-fun things off your plate, you’ll be spurred on to keep up a productive pace – things will just get easier!
Make sure your frog is at the top of your daily 3 – 5 essential tasks to complete.
Managing Your Schedule – Create a morning routine
“Win the morning, win the day.”
For many productive people, a morning routine is key to starting the day off right.
How you spend the first hour of your morning sets the tone for how your day will play out. Ideally, you want to spend the first hour (or more) of your day on meaningful, healthy activities.
Things like –
- Reading positive affirmations
- Eating a healthy breakfast
- Planning your day
- Reading or listening to inspirational/motivational books and podcasts
- Spending some time working on a passion project
Starting your day like this gets you in the zone to focus and feeling positive. Even if the rest of the day slides out of control, you know you’ve accomplished some great things in the morning!
What’s managing your schedule got to do with money?
“Time management is really personal management, life management, and management of yourself.” Brian Tracy
Time management is life management – and money management is part of life. One of the common excuses I hear from people about why they don’t take a more active role in managing their finances is – I don’t have enough time.
The truth is, everyone has enough time for the activities they prioritise.
Getting a handle on your time management can help you run your day more efficiently, figure out what your priorities are and take action.
Here’s how you can use the above techniques to improve your finances –
Time blocking – Once a week, at the same time and on the same day, block out 30 minutes to review your finances and action anything that needs attention.
Daily Top 3: Again, once a week make sure your finances are in those top 3 to 5 daily activities you must complete. If money stuff isn’t your favourite thing to do, make it #1 on the list and eat that frog!
Morning routine – Include a few powerful money affirmations (like these!) in your morning routine to shake out any financial negativity and tune into abundance!
How do you rate your time management skills? Do you use any planning techniques for managing your schedule and prioritising your financial life? Let us know in the comments.