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I got a lot done this past two weeks, work wise.

While I’m glad I made headway in projects not related to my creative work, I saw this as an opportunity to learn. To evaluate what exactly I did. So, I made a time-monitoring schedule which excluded hours taken to sleep, cook and eat, respond to emails, catch up with news and catch up on social media.

I set priorities like doing class assignments, reading while on the daily commute and meditation or as I like to call it ‘mind rejuvenation’ time. Because these were activities I did daily, I set apart about four hours to do them regardless of how the plan for my day was. Now I was down to about seven hours or so to plan for.

When you’re targeting to accomplish things at the end of the day, you will have to check on how you have performed these tasks in the past. This will help you know how much time to allocate to it and how to speed up the process. If you’re anything like me, short intense time slots work best and so I put tasks that need all my concentration around this time. Other tasks like emails and follow-up calls can be slotted for when the pressure isn’t as high.

In a work setting, things change and you will have to be flexible. Those staff meetings and site visits are important for business as well as professional growth. The trick is to make up for that time by cutting back on something else. You won’t just find time, you’ll have to create it.

Creatively speaking, we have been made to believe that as artists we have to work constantly to improve on our craft. Isn’t that an unrealistic fallacy we propagate! We have family, friends and other commitments to honour as well. And when your art becomes intense, time-consuming and mind-numbingly boring then it makes you despise it more than appreciate it. Create. Exhale. Reflect. Repeat.

The home front could suffer if cleaning and cooking are not put into consideration. I believe I’m speaking to budding entrepreneurs who have not set hiring a cleaning service in their budget, though if you have that’s great. Besides, stacking dirty clothes until the weekend could be detrimental as I have come to learn. Instead I have do mid-week cleaning and tidy up before putting my feet up.

I also learnt of meal preps quite recently after scouring the net for easier nutritious recipes. You plan out your menu for the week, and then do grocery shopping. Have a huge “cook-out” and after the food cools down you store it in separate dishes for the week and pop into your freezer. Voila! You don’t have to slave over your jiko all night trying to cook a meal after a hard day at work.

Now that you’ve reviewed all these hours and time spent doing tasks, the next step is to plan the following days’ activities. One thing you may overlook is as soon as you wake up you spend thirty minutes rifling through your closet for clothes to wear. And while I’m fascinated by the monochrome outfits of t-shirts and jeans that Silicon Valley has advocated, I prefer more elaborate getups. Getting those decisions out of the way the previous night will give you clarity of tasks to look forward to.

In dealing with productivity, evaluating measurable results will help you move around the proverbial ‘pieces on your board’ to get the maximum results. You will notice that you spend too much time replying to comments on social media throughout the day while you could schedule to do it once in the morning and again in the evening. Or that your house gets cluttered easily when you can clear it out before going to bed. It is all about the “small things” and adjustments to find a good manageable routine to work with.

I’m emphasising on manageable because there’s no use achieving daily goals while you’re miserable. While I realise that there is so much more to be improved on, I strive to make the most of my time. I watch TED talks on productivity, read books and use apps that help me keep up with the responsibilities to be done. In this day and age there’s an app for everything, really.  

 

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