This post is about how to get things done, without giving up family time, your me-time, and without getting overwhelmed.
First of all, make sure you get enough sleep, rest, food, and water. Then you have to stop multi-tasking, and remember to take breaks.
Focusing on one task at a time is hard, especially for women. We’re very good at multi-tasking, it seems to be the natural way we do everything, but it takes longer.
By avoiding multitasking, it actually gets a lot easier to get back on track if you get distracted by a call, your kids, or something else. You’re more in control of what you’re doing at any given time, and it’s easier to remember where you left off. You also finish what you start a lot sooner.
Start the habit of doing one thing at a time, and put a time limit on the task. If you decide to use 10 minutes to check your email, stop after 10 minutes. Nobody will get upset if they don’t get an immediate reply. If it was that important, they’d call you. The first action you can take is to turn off your notifications, set Skype to busy, close facebook and your email. If you have problems getting off Facebook (or similar websites), there’s a website called Keep Me Out. It keeps you off any site you set it to, for the amount of time you need. After the time is up, you’re let back in again. Split your tasks for the day into smaller chunks, and then do them one by one but with some variety. Try not to set more than three major tasks to finish each day, and add some fun in between. Add your quality time to your schedule before you add anything else.
A lot of us, when we sit in front of the computer, we just keep going without stopping, until she suddenly discovers it’s way past bedtime. We forget to eat, drink and take breaks. And we stay up too late, which messes up the next day. According to product research, frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and more focused. A way to remember to take breaks is to use the Pomodoro technique or a variation of it.
The Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is a technique where you work on something for 25 minutes, and then take a 5-minute break, after you’ve done four 25 minute sessions, you take a 20-minute break. I’d probably recommend 90 minutes and a 20-minute break instead, with an even longer break for meals after two, since you’re supposed to eat something every 3-4 hours. You can’t really do much with 5 minutes anyway. It’s also very easy to use those 5 minutes to check social media or email, which defeats the purpose of a break. You don’t have to finish the task in the time you set between breaks. Nobody will die if your floor isn’t washed that day. If you split it up and focus on one thing. It’ll get done faster than it otherwise would, and you’ll have more energy and time left for other things.
Pomodoro actually means Tomato in Italian, and comes from the Tomato shaped egg timer. It was created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo and is one of the more popular time management techniques today. It isn’t for everyone, but it’s worth a try. Most of us have an egg timer or a timer on our phone. There’s also software like Pomodairo, Cool Timer and many others things for your computer. This technique works just as well when it comes to web design as it does for housework. How are you at taking breaks?
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Great tips! I definitely need to put more “me time” into my life. I’ve been so wrapped up with work, kids, house, that “me” steps aside. I like the idea of the “10 minute” rule. I also like the turning off notifications – that’s easily a time-suck for me. I hear my iPhone go off, and I have to stop and look at who just texted, tweeted or FB me. Thanks for reminding me to “step back and enjoy” more!
It’s easy to get wrapped up 🙂 Let me know how it goes
I have a hard time not multi-tasking. I have to remind myself that I can only do one project at a time.
I love the Pomodoro technique. I think working 90 minutes and a 20 minute break would work for me. Another problem is I don’t make time for lunch and when I do, I’m eating at my desk.
Thanks for telling us about it. I’m going to try and incorporate this into my day…see how it goes.
I’m a chronic multi-tasker myself. I do better with longer sections than in the original technique. So that’s why I recommended it. Make it a goal for a week to not eat at your desk, and set an alarm for lunch 🙂 That might help. Let me know how it goes
I’m the one who gets side track and takes forever to refocus. I’m going to use the timer to stay focused and not do anything else until it rings. Thanks for the great tips!
Getting side-tracked is so easy 🙂 My pleasure
Thanks for the advice! I needed that as I have been overwhelmed with my to do tasks for some time now. Great share!
You’re welcome 🙂
I needed to read this. I was doing things in 5 minute intervals which made the task at hand something feasible, especially if I did not want to do it. But you really can get much done in those five unless its super specific. I love the Keep Me Out, I spend way too much time on Pinterest!
Yes, five minutes isn’t enough for anything. I hope the adjustment helps
Excellent tips, Linda – I must admit, this is something I constantly struggle with. I just find things always take me longer than I anticipate – I’m always running out of time. I’ve tried the Pomodoro technique but have found I’m not disciplined enough to stick to it – I keep forgetting to set the timer, or ignoring it when it goes off!
I think one of the best tips you’ve given here is to set yourself a time limit for a particular task and stick to it. The problem with online work is that one thing tends to lead to another (an email to a post, to a social media sit, to another post etc. etc. )
Thanks for some great tips and a timely reminder for me to get myself organised!
Yes it does. It’s way too easy to get caught up in the next thing.