In my new (and first!) book, The Working Woman’s Handbook: Ideas, Insights, and Inspiration for a Successful Creative Career, I aimed to cover the spectrum of questions and challenges that working women face today, from learning how to network in a non-cringeful fashion to scheduling time for self-care.
As the founder of The WW Club, my days are spent recording podcasts, compiling my weekly newsletter, and traveling around the world to host events for my members (more often than not, in Breather spaces). Needless to say, I’m pretty busy! In order to get it all done, I subscribe to a dozen or so essential item management principles – all of which I share in the book. Here are ten of them.
Time Management: 10 Essential Principles
1. Live in the Present
If you fail to stay present, you will be forever stuck in a time-scarcity trap. Your attention will be lost in a quagmire of future-focused fear, while your daily to-dos will escape your attention. Practice meditation and incorporate regular mindfulness breaks into your daily routine to avoid this common pitfall.
2. Time Block
When planning your weekly schedule, lump together similar tasks in order to avoid too much mental branch-swinging. Jumping from pitching to social media to meetings will run you into the ground. Instead, block out certain days for focusing on specific areas of your career (i.e., Mondays for pitching and proposals, Tuesdays for digital projects, Wednesdays for creative work, etc.).
3. Get Up Earlier
The simplest, most effective way to squeeze more out of your day? Get up earlier! When you read up on the daily schedules of successful people, there’s a reason you’ll find that nearly all of them get out of bed by 7 a.m. or earlier—It’s a no-nonsense hack for getting stuff done. Not a morning person? Train yourself by making your alarm time earlier in increments of 10 minutes each day, and try to avoid extra long lie-ins on weekends.
4. Schedule Self-Care
Allocate fixed time in your schedule for exercise, preparing healthy food, or doing whatever else you need to do to feel sane. These practices are as crucial to your ongoing career success as any others.
5. Chose Your Environment
Get familiar with the types of work you do best in certain environments. Perhaps you like writing in bed or stretched out on the sofa, but prefer to be at a desk for planning and emails. You might be able to create mood boards in a noisy coffee shop, but find that focused creative work requires absolute calm. If you don’t have an office or other workspace, try to build your weekly routine around the places and spaces that work best for you.
6. Identify Time Drains
If you constantly get to the end of the day feeling as if you haven’t even begun to get through your to-do list, take a hard look at where you’re losing time and address the drains. Are you spending too long getting ready to leave the house? Figure out a 30-minute morning routine. Are you wasting hours commuting? Consider working from home. Wherever time can be saved, save it. On which note …
7. Get Your Social Media Intake Under Control
Chances are, you’re spending a lot of time on your phone—probably more than you’re comfortable with. Create some rules around your phone usage to find a more comfortable balance. This might be as simple as avoiding Instagram and Twitter before noon or setting your email notifications to “fetch,” not “push” on your phone. Leave your phone in your bag rather than on your desk. Go for walks without it. The world will not crumble around you.
8. Outsource and Delegate
Effective delegation is crucial to long-term success. Whether you’re running a team of 20 or one, there are certain tasks that are worth allocating. If nothing else, making yourself delegate will force you to be really clear on what needs to get done (and to keep your control-freak tendencies in check). Whether it’s getting your groceries delivered or hiring a social media assistant, take a look at where you can pass the buck.
9. Switch Off
Build a hard “stop” time into your schedule, and try to observe it each day. Knowing that you’re going to be turning off your laptop at 7 p.m., whatever the weather, will provide the incentive you need to power through your working day.
10. Cut Stuff Out
One way to have more time is simply to cut stuff out. Women are particularly prone to the pressure to have and do it all: to thrive in our careers, have “perfect” bodies, maintain active social lives, and be flawless partners, mothers, and homeowners. Needless to say, it’s impossible to achieve this level of perfection without making yourself miserable. Make peace with not being able to do everything, and then cut one thing out of your schedule (anything that doesn’t bring you happiness and/or decent money is a good place to start).
Who run the world? Working women! Pick up Phoebe Lovatt’s book The Working Woman’s Handbook: Ideas, Insights, and Inspiration for a Successful Creative Career.
Want MORE Phoebe? Read her interview with WAH Nails founder Sharmadean Reid for some major #ladyboss inspiration.