Many of you know that I am a loyal follower (and now partner) of Bill Farquharson. He has bestowed many pearls of wisdom and advice on me over the years, and I have internalized many of them and in many cases made them a part of what I teach to others.
There was one case, however, in which I did not practice what I preached. It has to do with time management. And now, I am happy to say, I am one of the proud converted, and it is making my life so much better every.damn.day.
It has to do with Time Management. Capital T Capital M. There are two parts to this and I am going to tell you about both in as quick a fashion as I can.
Never Leave Today Without Having Tomorrow Planned.
Before I saw the light, every day was a chaotic you-know-what-show. I woke up stressed, was always behind the eight ball, and never hit my stride til midafternoon. Now, before I allow my head to hit the pillow at night, I have AT LEAST a sketch of the things that I have to do the next day, written in a notebook that goes with me everywhere. It lives at the head of my farm table in my dining area, where I sit and drink coffee and pretend to parent my four children.
As I sit and round out this bible of getting stuff done, I allow myself to glance ahead at my calendar, so I know I am up against in the days and even weeks ahead. This allows me to not let deadlines sneak up on me. (Who are we kidding, this blog is due in 2 hours and 5 minutes and I will be lucky to get it in on time, but at least I am on the right day.) I am no longer running out on the way to the birthday party to scramble for a gift card because I forgot about it UNTIL JUST NOW.
I also don’t forget to follow up with the person who reached out to me about an upcoming gig, and as such, I have never been busier work-wise or had more stuff on the horizon. I attribute that to my ability to focus and feel so much more productive, less resentful and more able to set boundaries around what is work time, what is family time, and what is the oh-so-important ME TIME.
You heard me right. The Italian word for tomato to all you multi-linguists and fancy foodies out there. The Pomodoro is a time management technique (you can learn more about it here) that posits that you can really only be super productive in small chunks of time. Specifically, 25-minute increments. So, I decided to try it out in earnest last week.
Why I have not been doing it since Bill first told me about it (and since we’ve been teaching many of you out there about it for the last decade) I’ll never truly understand. But I started setting a timer for 25 minutes and focusing on one task. And guess what happened? I doubled my productivity. I started making deadlines more easily. I stopped procrastinating. I stopped telling myself there was just too much to do today. I stopped being paralyzed by THE OVERWHELM.
So that’s it for today. I never leave today without having, at least a broad strokes sketch, tomorrow planned. And I break down all the things I must do, both professional and personal, into 25-minute increments. And I’m never going back, and you can’t make me.
Listen to Kelly’s Podcast From The Printerverse: Strategies for Sales Success with Bill Farquharson and Kelly Mallozzi
As a sales and marketing coach and consultant at Success In Print, Kelly Mallozzi advocates for graphic arts companies to start a revolution and fight to keep print relevant. She may be irreverent, but what she lacks in convention, she makes up for in smart-assery.