Joe is a music student and part-time web designer who lives in Leeds in the United Kingdom. He’s been looking at different ways of improving his productivity so he can better balance all of his university and freelance work. He is a highly motivated student who wanted to perform at the highest level and still have enough time to work on his freelance work. Joe was part of a test group who gave feedback on an early version of the Personal Productivity Toolkit and shared his experience with me.
THE PERSONAL PRODUCTIVITY TOOLKIT
“Do you have TOO MUCH TO DO and just NOT ENOUGH TIME?”
Learn more about the Personal Productivity Toolkit and get more done with my handbook, coaching videos, worksheets audio book, expert interviews, case studies, calendar templates, a productivity tracker and more!
Before Joe became the productive person he is today, he struggled with time management and procrastination. Often just getting started is the hardest part for a lot of people. Joe wasn’t very good at planning his time which meant starting on his university work was hard and assignments would get left until the last minute. This would create unnecessary stress as he rushed to finish his work on time.
Then, he discovered a better way of working.
For Joe the most valuable part of Personal Productivity Toolkit was learning how to schedule time for the work he needed to do. This simply involves creating appointments in your calendar which correspond to specific tasks on your to-do list. By blocking out his day and allocating time for his different assignments he was able to see how much he had going on and how much time he had allocated for these important tasks. Joe also found that blocking out his time instilled a (good) sense of guilt should he find himself starting to go off track and procrastinate.
“I feel way more chilled. I started finishing assignments early and would have an entire week to tweak and polish my work. I couldn’t help but ask myself why I wasn’t doing this before!”
Joe set up a few calendars to organise appointments for work, university and home. He was also able to set his phone to turn onto silent when specific appointments started during the day. This meant he wasn’t bothered by incoming texts and social notifications.
Joe was amazed at how simple yet effective it was to schedule his time like this. He found that by getting everything out of his head and into his calendar meant he didn’t need to remember to do things. The calendar gave him the perfect picture of what he needed to do at any given time. This helps reduce stress as you can clearly see when you’re going to do all of the things you need to do and you’re not keeping these thoughts in your head.
Joe flats with a uni friend who was incredibly unfocussed when it came to university work. He would often hand in assignments late as his time would get sucked up playing video games. Joe showed his friend the calendar system he was using and the blocks of time he had scheduled. When his friend started doing the same thing he was able to cut down the amount of time he spent playing games and scheduled enough time so that he could get his assignments in on time. He went from handing in assignments late to handing them in a day early.
This just goes to show how something as simple as scheduling your time in a calendar can be incredibly powerful and can have an instant impact on your ability to get work done.
“Other people were jealous of me as they were behind or hadn’t even started on assignments.”
For Joe nothing could beat the feeling that came from finishing everything a week early. Not only was he performing better at university, he was doing it while feeling less stressed and rushed and now had more time for his freelance business and hanging out with friends.
- Use your calendar to schedule time for the things you need to get done. This helps you to make a start on new projects and holds you accountable should you feel the desire to procrastinate.
- Set events to repeat each day or week to plan regular events ahead of time. This saves a lot of time and helps you create a consistent routine.
- Set your phone to go onto silent when specific events start and say good-bye to annoying distractions while you're working.