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"Since taking Alex's advice, I have clinched three new clients after only one week." Jodie McGuinness, Designer
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  • Katie Wood

    This is incredible! Just the advice I needed since I’m currently rubbish at managing time. And so fun to read through too! :)

  • Alex Mathers

    Thanks for the comment and support, Katie! Let me know how you go :)

  • Deanna Di Lello

    How do we feel about multi-tasking? I’m usually selective with it. (If I do two things at once neither task is done very well) However, it can sometimes save time…

    http://deannadilello.wordpress.com/

  • Alex Mathers

    Thanks Deanna. You said it! Multi-tasking doesn’t work. In fact, it doesn’t exist. We’re always doing one thing at a time. If, through ‘multi-tasking’ we aren’t allowing ourselves much time to do either (or all) tasks at hand, we do them poorly.

    Admittedly my illustration of guy on running machine looks like multi-tasking, but the closest to it that I talk about in the comic, is batching tasks (one after the other but around the same time) like emails, or errands.

    So batch tasks, don’t ‘multi-task’!

  • Daw Rui

    Amazing article Alex! Helpful and encouraging as always, most of this advices seem to be a great way to fight procrastination and time wasting with clear concepts. I’m so agree with the importance of designing work routines and focusing on the essentials “Separate the wheat from chaff”…

    Great infographic, its content and layout!

  • Alex Mathers

    Thanks Daw! Much appreciated!

  • islanddesign

    Alex this article has affirmed that i’m on the right track! I started a few months ago by making a conscious decision to make what Michael Hyatt calls “my ideal schedule” and blocked out time for specific tasks each day and I can’t tell you how much this freed me from the time-sucking phone calls and meetings that don’t go anywhere and leave me stressed about not doing my work! Maybe I will write a Blog post in answer to yours one day – showing how your suggestions do work :)

  • Alex Mathers

    Thanks! I would definitely like to hear some of the ways these ideas have worked for you directly. Do send me an email.

  • islanddesign

    I will! BTW, I just started following you. I think I read an article you wrote for shutterstock.com – Good stuff!

  • islanddesign

    HI Alex, you asked me to share some of my process here. I hope this is useful to your readers :)

    1) Like I mentioned I started by blocking time on my calendar for specific types of tasks each day. For example, my day starts at 8am with email and Social Media from 8-9, then 9-11 is for phone calls – follow up phone calls, appointments I need to make or contacting potential clients – if I don’t spend the entire time on the phone then it gives me more time to put into my work.

    – I am up by 5:30am every morning that allows me to do my devotions, exercise and eat a healthy breakfast before I get to my desk at 8am

    – I have 7-8am blocked out for “Education / Writing” (haven’t been consistent with this one)

    2) About 3 weeks ago I disabled email notifications on my phone which removed the temptation to check email every 5 minutes when I am away from the computer which means I can focus on the meeting or event I am attending. I now check email and social media 3 times per day (8am, 12:30pm (after my scheduled lunch) and 5:00pm – I occasionally will go into email when I get notified about an email I was expecting on my desktop)

    3) Client meetings I schedule on Fridays or late afternoons. This allows me to concentrate on my creative work when it counts. I had to do this because I found myself struggling to get things done throughout the week because of meetings.

    4) I stop at 5:30pm each day to review the day and plan for the next. I do this on paper! I found that writing things down helps me with planning and organizing my thoughts and this planner in particular is good because I have an entire day per page http://goo.gl/GmS1i3 – I make notes throughout the day especially from conversations I do have. – I list everything I need to do both for work and personal and then just go down the line and knock them out. If I don’t get to something it moves to the next day. (The planner is also compact so taking it out with me to meetings isn’t a hassle)

    5) One really helpful thing I do is every Sunday evening I take one page to do a “brain dump” of things to do the upcoming week, review the previous week and clear my head.

    All the best!

    Karen

  • Constantinos

    Sweet words of wisdom! Cheers Alex! :)

  • Pacster Mt

    Neat article Alex, I identify with a lot of your advice since I’m currently combining my day-job running my Design firm, with attending Dev Bootcamp to become a javascript developer. I experienced the process sort of in a reverse engineering manner: dedicating 4 hours a day (20 hours a week, indeed) to learning new skills forced me to be very selective with my time. The most helpful habits I developed since: don’t check e-mail before 12pm (and focus on creative work intensively during the first hours of the day); and use those small, prioritized lists you suggest as a script -and performance indicator- for every day.