To be a better time manager you need to understand when you are most creative and detail-activated.
- A unique element of scheduling is, of course, the people. We all work a little differently, communicate differently, and respond to situations differently. But ultimately, you can only be in charge of you and how you work, communicate, and respond. No matter what your process or rituals are, when scheduling yourself or others, understanding when you are at your best and worst is good to know. Whenever you have the opportunity to set your own schedule, you should organize your day to your strengths. For example, I'm most creative very early and very late in the day.
During the middle of the day, I tend to have the toughest time getting the most out of my creativity. So I organize my day around these creativity cycles. In the morning, I take care of key communications, no matter what. That is always a great practice to get into the habit of doing early in the day. I check my due dates, and if I can, I start working on the project that is the most creatively challenging or demands that I come up with the most creative solutions. Midday I save for production. This usually includes following up on emails and performing tasks that are more production-driven.
Later in the afternoon, for some reason, I rebound and have a flood of energy to create again and dig back in. Now if you are similar, you may thinking it would be great to work that way every day. And the good news is you can work to your strengths by having this awareness and starting at end of your day with your schedule in mind. But we all know that not every day works out how we want it to. Some days, no matter what, you have to slug it out creatively or focus on the details of production. But like any habit, the more you make this a part of your process, the more your creative muscle memory will kick in and you will know what to expect.
You will also be able to recognize the signs that you need a break, a walk, some coffee, or a beer. So let's talk about where to start. First, pick a week you can give to this. It should be a somewhat normal week if you can swing it. By that, I mean you should pick one when key people are in the office and your schedule is pretty much what you are used to. Get out a journal or create a doc on your computer, so you can observe your day. Write down when ideas seem to best flow, when you are most creative or energized, when you are the most tired or ready for something more production-based or non-creative.
Doing this every day for a week should give you a good vibe of where you are. I suspect you already know some of this about yourself, but it can be a helpful exercise, you get a current perspective. The following week, see if you can start working your schedule to align with what you discovered or reinforced the week before. If you're not doing the right type of work in your peak times, ask yourself if you can make some adjustments. Pay attention to how the week feels when you are more aware of yourself. This may lead to some other conversations with your coworkers, whoever schedules the studio, and your clients by moving some standing meetings or other things around.
Not everything will be possible to shift. And, undoubtedly, you will need to adjust a bit as well. But starting here can really help you be more efficient, on time, and more peaceful and fulfilled.
- Creating a balanced workflow
- Increasing productivity around tight timelines
- Delivering bad news early
- Determining when you are most creative
- Daily habits that help you win
- Working with easily distracted employees and team members
- Bringing clients into the schedule