The baby is finally asleep and you have one hour before you are back on mommy duty.
You’re outside your daughter’s hour-long dance class and the clock is ticking.
You son gets home from school in one hour, and then it is the mad dash between homework, dinner, bath and bedtime.
How can you make the most of it?
If there is one thing Mama CEOs are short on, its time.
Not only do we not have a lot of time to devote to our business, but our time is often broken up into smaller pieces. We rarely have huge chunks of time to devote to a project. So, we often put those projects off, until we have that big chunk of time….but when will that be?
We have to make the most of those small chunks of time in our day.
Here are my 5 Key Ways to Make the Most of One Hour.
Break down tasks
The biggest hurdle you have to overcome in making the most of an hour is the mental block that it is “just an hour.” So often, when we don’t think we have enough time to really get something done, we spend the time puttering around on social media, or doing a few household chores.
If you look at your current to do list and there isn’t anything on the list that you can complete in an hour, your tasks need to be broken down into smaller components.
Think about all the pieces of your task. “Work on webinar” can be outline webinar, create worksheets, create slides, set up webinar platform, etc. Then you can look at that broken down task list and decide that in an hour you can outline the webinar and set up the platform. Then you can save create slides and worksheets for another block of time.
Plan ahead what you are going to work on
The biggest time waster is wondering what you are going to work on. You sit down at the start of your hour and read over your mile long to do list for what you should be working on. Then you check your email to see if ‘that person’ returned your email, then hop over to paypal to send one invoice, then get caught up in a picmonkey vs canva debate in your favorite facebook group, pretty soon your hour will be over without you really getting much done.
Instead, take some time before your hour (I like to do this the night before or early in the morning) to plan out what you’ll be working on in each block of time. If I know I have one hour, I may decide to focus on writing a blog post (like right now!) or outlining a webinar, or returning all the emails that have backlogged over the week. But the key is to know what you are going to do, before your hour starts so you don’t waste any time figuring that part out.
Also, if you know what you are going to be working on ahead of time, you can be thinking or planning around that task if you have a few minutes of free time (or even just free brain time) earlier in the day. If I know I am going to be working on a blog post during my daughter’s nap, I might spend 10 minutes while she is playing quietly earlier in the day jot down my post theme or key points, so I’m ready to hit the ground running once she’s asleep. If I need to return an email to a client during my work time, I might leave myself some voice notes on my phone will I’m driving home from school drop off (with my headset of course!)
Take a few minutes before to prep
My kids always liked to wind down with some milk and a cartoon before nap. I use this time to make sure my desk is cleared off and my computer is open to the document I need. I locate my favorite pen and fill a glass of water. That way, as soon as naptime starts, I’m ready to go!
Same goes for the morning, even though I need to spend the morning getting the kids ready and out the door before my workday starts, I can take a few minutes to prep my work too, so I can start working as soon as they leave for school.
Know your time-sucks and schedule them for another time
Don’t ever tell yourself you’ll just check in with social media real quick and then you’ll start on your planned project. That is hard, even for the most disciplined of us. If I have 1 hour, I pick one project and don’t do anything else until it’s done. You can even use programs like Stay Focused that actually lock you out of certain websites for a certain amount of time.
Let go of perfectionism
If you goal is to write a blog post in the next hour – Just write. Get all your ideas out into your document, don’t worry about perfect grammar or spelling. In fact, I often start out writing just sentences or key points I want to eventually get into the post. I also use a lot of xxx to symbolize a thought I want to expand on or link I need to find and insert. I find it is always easier to edit later.
Making the most of an hour isn’t about working all the time either. It actually allows you to not work all the time. If I spend a focused hour on a key business task, I can almost always put work away and focus on my kids after that hour is up. Or sometime I’ll even set a pomodoro timer like Tomatoes and race against the clock for 25 minutes, then kick back with a magazine for my second half hour, or get into that picmonkey vs canva debate after I finish my main task.
If you want more help planning out exactly what you should be working on during that hour, sing up for Finish Strong and join me for a live, hands on webinar where we’ll plan out the last 3 months of 2014 for our business and our mom life. You can register here.