What have you been up to this week? I know you’re working on something exciting, and I wanted to talk to you about it too- the work that we do every day and our routine.
You know, whenever I open LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or even Facebook, I just see one thing- everyone’s busy doing something and trying to make their mark in the world.
Somebody is sharing client stories, someone’s telling what they learned in the book they read or the course they recently completed, someone’s sharing insights. Even when I am in my leisure time, I see people creating and sharing content.
Everyone’s ability to keep doing something or the other always made me wonder if they had a time turner that allowed them to do more with the same 24 hours.
I talked to people about it and most of them had the same answer - Utilize every minute of your day, wake up early, plan your time, etc. But I wasn’t satisfied with what I heard. It was all vague for me.
Then I turned to books- most of them taught about time management and doing more in less time. I could gather that we should stick to a routine. But we’ve all been in a routine all our lives- from schools to college and now working as a freelancer. That didn’t help much. Right? (At least it didn’t help me initially).
Routine gives us a purpose. YES! But it wasn’t helping me in doing more things.
I knew the reason- if given an option, I chose to relax. That’s my natural instinct. If you are the same, then I am sure you can relate.
When I switched from a full-time job to freelancing, my habit of relaxing turned into a big challenge. That’s when I discovered a time turner for myself and today, I am sharing it with you.
Time Turner Is a Process in the Muggle World
This realization happened sometime in 2018.
Hermione got a time turner from Prof McGonagall, but I was a mere muggle with no wizard nearby. That’s when I realized that for us muggles, time turner isn’t a device but a process- the process of chopping the day into segments.
That’s the secret. I said it. I know it’s nothing new, but this small change has kept me doing a lot all these years. I don’t call this practice my own. I just discovered it while struggling with the pile of work I had.
Let me explain with an example.
When I cook a meal with two or more different dishes that have the same ingredient, say onions, I chop all onions together and split them into portions (We all do that right!). This way I don’t have to get back to chopping again when I start preparing the other dish.
Think of time in the same way. When you have to use the same time (onion) for two tasks (dishes), you start splitting or segmenting the time (cut all the onions at once, create portions and use one portion when you prepare a dish).
We already have a lot of dishes to make every single day.
As a freelancer, we have a lot to do – we have to work on client projects, attend calls, create invoices, manage our own social media and blogs, market our services, and if you’re a bit more aspirational- work on a side project too.
We can’t keep switching from one dish to another every hour. So, before you prepare for the day or the week ahead, cut the onions and keep portions aside. What I am saying is that you start segmenting your days. And make sure you stick to the tasks to complete within the segment.
I usually segment the first half of the day for client projects and fix specific number of hours for the work. You must have already read about the Parkinson’s Law- the more time you allot to a task, the more time it will take to complete. In layman’s terms, if you keep a day to research for a one blog, you will only research for the blog in the 12 hours you are awake. Rather, be specific, break down things and put time slots to it.
When I set fix number of hours for a major task (client work), I am increasing my productivity. The hidden benefit- I am left with several hours after completing the work to spend at leisure or other works.
My Personal Time Turner (That took months to fine tune)
- 7:00 am-10:00 am: Morning time (Spend at will)
- 10:00 am-1:00 pm: Client tasks/freelance work
- 1:00 pm-2:00 pm: Lunch
- 2:00 pm -4:00 pm: Research, ideation, marketing experiments, brainstorming, invoicing, admin works, etc. (Client/Own)
- 5:00 pm-6:00 pm: Calls and meetings (Client+ Prospects+ General)
- 6:00 pm-8:00 pm: Side projects, writing own blogs and more
- 8:00 pm & beyond: My personal time which I spend reading, watching movies or anything I want
You see, with the same number of hours, I am managing multiple tasks. I could have said to myself- I will complete this blog today and *poof*, the whole day would have been spent in just writing one blog. Rather, I stick each task to a time slot and make sure I respect the time limits.
Every day before starting work, I create daily slot cards. I write the tasks for the day on one side of the page and hourly slots I would fit those tasks in. Then I start working. I don’t have to think about the next thing (Oh I love that clarity), and I end up completing a lot of things that way without being distracted.
I’ve seen many people do the same. Simran Doshi also shared how she blocks time pockets in one of her articles on LinkedIn. There will be others too, I am sure. That’s how you see many people staying productive all the time- they segment their time and stay productive.
So, the next time you see everyone sharing a lot of value all the time, start thinking about creating a time turner for yourself, too.
If you create one, please share it with me too. I’d love to have a look and maybe we can create a time turner collection with a special time turner for every freelancing soul- the nightcrawler, the early riser, the hustler and the relaxed one. 😊
Till then, keep freelancing!
Your freelancing companion
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