As a woman, we take on a lot more in life compared to men. We’re the ones that plan, create a home, keep in touch with family and take care of those around us, alongside building a career and having children. The thing is, we wouldn’t want it any other way, as for the majority of the time, it’s enjoyable, it’s meaningful, and brings a sense of purpose and joy into our lives.
However, it takes a toll on our health and especially our energy levels if we don’t create the space in our life (or on our to-do list) for ourselves.
I’m sure you’re an expert planner and always there to help and motivate others, but how are you looking after yourself?
On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the lowest)
What score is your energy level right now?
What is your score at sticking to your exercise routine?
What is your score for time to be by yourself?
What is your score for eating regular healthy meals?
What is your score for catching up with friends?
What is your score for working on your goals?
If any of your scores are below six you can upskill your productivity to plan in time for you which in turn will help you increase your energy levels in all other aspects of your life:
This method is perfect for women who find small tasks and interruptions are taking over the whole day. What timeboxing does is hold you accountable to your daily plan by allocating specific periods of time to particular types of work. Researchers have found that bite-sized tasks and interruptions (“Hey, can I ask you a quick question?”) can disrupt concentration for up to half an hour. So if you find yourself spending too much of your day dealing with little items that only reappear the next day (like emails) and too little time tackling the big stuff, this method is for you.
To start timeboxing, just split up your day into blocks of time with specific tasks assigned to each one. Here’s what that one time boxing day might look like:
There are many different approaches to timeboxing, along with various task-specific timeboxing methods like Inbox zero for tackling your email, for example, setting up three email slots per day 10:30-11:00am, 1:00-1:30pm, 4:00-4:30pm.
Create a time box in your favourite colour and use it to dedicate time for YOU.
Include time for:
This method is perfect for women who tend to put off essential items, resulting in missed deadlines or rushed work. This method helps avoid procrastination while ensuring that you make progress on the right things. Unfortunately, a lot of productivity systems and tools are all about getting started. They assume that as long as you’re crossing something off your to-do list, you’re productive. But in reality, it can make a big difference which tasks you pick first. If you put off your most important tasks until the very last second, you’re not really improving your productivity on the things that matter. And, worse, you may find yourself missing deadlines or hurting your reputation by rushing through your most challenging work.
The term “eating the frog first” comes from the wisdom of Mark Twain. He supposedly said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing else will happen to you the rest of the day.”
To get started, schedule your daily tasks from the hardest to the easiest. Then, you’ll get your most important, intimidating anxiety-inducing tasks (aka you frog) done while your energy is high, and your day will get progressively better.
If you’ve ever been on a flight, during the safety briefing, they always say put your own mask on first before you help others to ensure you don’t blackout and then not help others – YOU can be the priority task for you the day.
Your frog can be going for that run you’ve been putting off or going to your first CrossFit class, and it can be going to the doctors to get your bad back checked out.
This method is perfect for women who desperately need to get something done and tend to get distracted (I hear you mums of toddlers reading this!) If you are a chronic multitasker, if you find yourself putting off big tasks because the time they’ll take to do feels too intimidating, or you get distracted easily, you might do well with work sprints. This method helps you maintain focus for longer by splitting your work into short bursts. You must set a timer, remove all distractions, close all applications that pop up or push notifications, put your phone in a drawer or out of sight.
While many people swear by this technique, others find that 25 minutes isn’t long enough time to delve deeply into their work, and the five-minute breaks disrupt their concentration. If that’s the case for you, you can adjust until you find the exact timing that works for you.
Ultradian rhythm adaptations:
Researchers have found that our brains have roughly 90-minute cycles of performance before requiring approximately 20 minutes of recovery and renewal.
Adaption 1: 3 Pomodoro cycles (25 min focus and 5 min break x3 = 90 min) then take a 15-20 min break.
Adaption 2: 40 min focused work, 5 min break x2 = 90 min, then take a 15-20 min break.
The perfectionist in you may resist this way of working. Instead, accept that life isn’t perfect and no one has it all together. Learning ways to be flexible and do things in a new way when circumstances change leads to a more satisfied and healthier life.
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