Puzzle Piece #4 - Time Management

Avery Thatcher highly sensitive high achiever

by Avery Thatcher

This article takes 10 minutes to read, or you can listen to the podcast episode below:

We take on too much. We make it next to impossible for us to achieve what we’ve set out to do or to do it to the best of our ability because we’re overwhelmed.

We’ve triggered our stress response. We’re draining our energy. We’re making it really hard for us to do what we need to do and odds are you’ve taken on things that are actually sabotaging what you actually want for your life. 

Your clarity goal tells you it’s all tied together however when we’re looking at improving productivity, it’s not so much about creating big shifts.

If you have noticed, everything I’ve suggested so far hasn’t been a huge overhaul. There are these little tiny habits that we’re adding on. You may not have heard the story before, but tiny habits can actually make a massive difference.

Nerding with time

The British cycling team had almost no record of success. They had only won a single gold medal in 76 years, which isn’t great at all, but the cycling team got a new coach starting in 2002. His name was Sir Dave Brailsford, and he worked with the team to create 1% changes in a bunch of different spaces, but tiny changes which would increase the chance of success.

By 1%  itself doesn’t really make much of a difference on its own. Although, when you do 1% here, 1% here, and 1% here, it starts to stack on each other and starts to make a difference. This cycling team went from never winning until the 2008 Beijing Olympics. With the guidance of Sir Dave Brailsford and the rest of the team, the British cycling team won 7 out of 10 gold medals. 

If you are not convinced by this then think about it in a different way. Think about a block of ice. A block of ice is going to stay frozen. If you increase the temperature by one degree, still going to stay frozen, increase it by one more degree, still going to stay frozen.

Once you increase it over time, one degree past the freezing point that ice block is going to melt. Increasing the temperature by one degree more will have the ice block melt faster.  So even though it may feel like the changes we’ve been talking about are kind of pointless because they’re really small and don’t make a ton of difference on their own. However, over time and stacked together, they make a big difference. So today I want to share some time management information, and one present change you can make so that you continue to stack these habits and make more of a difference in your productivity.

Little distractions, please

The first time management habit is to set up systems to minimize distractions. When you have your phone next to you, face up with the notifications popping up and distracting you, or maybe you have one of those smartwatches that buzz your wrist every time you get a new email. All of those things are going to slow down your brain because we can’t actually multitask. We just think we can, but we’re actually task switching. 

Every time you switch tasks, it slows down your brain just a little bit. It takes a minute to get back on and ramped up into whatever it is you’re working on.

When you get distracted by those things on your watch or on your phone, your brain takes a mini-break, trying to see what that is then takes you back over to whatever you were working on before. Minimizing your distractions can be huge for you. Start thinking about ways that you can do this right now on your phone, every single phone has a do not disturb and silent mode.

There are very few emails that actually need to be answered right at that moment. If you communicate with your team something urgent comes up, they either need to come to your office or call you so you won’t miss out on an important email and you’ll be able to mute all of the other unimportant emails.

This is how shifting things work so you can set yourself up for tiny changes which can build your product in time management. 

Time to eat the frog!

The next time management hack that I have for you is called Eat The Frog. (I don’t know where that phrase came from. If you do know, please send me a message on social media here). Basically eating the frog means that you do the most draining task. First, the ones you are putting off the most, the ones you dread the most, the most complicated, are the ones you want to do first because once it’s done and out of the way, you won’t be wasting any mental energy worrying about how much work it’s going to be.

How to know which activity is your frog activity? You will have to bounce around on your to-do list of things you wish somebody else could do for you or ones you are not sure how to handle, attack those first. Get them out of the way. 

You have to set up a routine so I am going to talk about your pre-work routine. I’m really excited about this because your pre-work routine actually includes everything that we’ve been talking about. A pre-work routine is something you do before you start your next work block.

Time blocking is the kind of productivity that could work for you. If you’re doing Pomodoros, whatever it is, using this pre-work routine before you get started, can improve your efficiency. Of course, there are four parts to an effective pre-work routine. 

Four-part pre-work routine

Clarity statement:

  • Connect to your mission 
  • Why you are working 
  • Where you are working 
  • What you’re doing at that moment 
  • Why is it important

 

Stress response: 

  • Access your higher-level thinking brain 
  • 5,5,5 Breathing technique (talked about here)
  • Somatic exercise 

 

Energy sphere: 

  • Check in to see which energy sphere is needed for the task 
  • What is my current energy level for that sphere 
  • What to do for 3-5 minutes to help boost that energy 

 

The last piece of the puzzle is to ask yourself, what are the three most important things that I need to accomplish in this work block?

And then only focus on those three things. When you’re looking at the three things that you’ve listed, make sure you also ask yourself, is this serving or sabotage. You have a goal for this work block and if you feel blocked, go back to your clarity statement and make sure things are still aligned with you. 

This is the foundation for this series. In the next upcoming blogs, I will dive deeper into these topics and bring on guests to talk about their struggles, obstacles, and how they have overcome them and share what worked for them. 

I want you to know this space is created for people to share and listen/read people’s stories to know you are not alone in your struggles. Everybody has been through tough times and it is not a competition. Everyone deserves to be heard. Everyone deserves space to heal space, to process. What’s happened to them and space to decide how they’re going to move forward from here.

If you have any questions or any ideas about what you’d like me to cover in upcoming episodes, I encourage you to go find me on Instagram and send me a message. I love getting messages from you. So feel free to send me a message, letting me know which questions you have and what you would like for me to talk about. Looking forward to hearing from you. 

From my heart to yours, Avery

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