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Do a time audit

Kim Luker, Lake House Mom

"Becoming more productive with the time you have - whether you’re working in your full-time job or your part-time side hustle - is a process of discovery, unique to every person! There are two processes I love to recommend to start the discovery process and get more productive: a time audit and a brain dump.

To do a time audit, start recording everything you do in a day - if you can do two or three days, that's even better! - in half-hour increments. As you go along, also give those time chunks a color according to your energy level: green for focused and alert, yellow for working well but lower energy, and red for unfocused and tired.

As you look at the data from your time audit, you can start to use the green, high-energy and focused periods of your day to pour into your side hustle or tackle the most difficult tasks at work. Recognize periods during the day when a short walk, a snack, or a brief break will give you more energy. Do another time audit when your schedule changes significantly or when you feel unproductive and unfocused.

The second tool that is so helpful is the brain dump. Taking the time at the beginning of the week to write down every task, to-do, and worry that's swirling in your head is almost magical in how it reduces stress and overwhelm! Brain dumps also allow you to visually see what needs to be done, prioritize your tasks, and be more intentional and productive with the time you have. Personal tasks often sneak in during brain dumps too - just list them on another page.

Pair these two tasks with whatever planning system you like to use, and plan your weeks with intention, awareness of your energy patterns, and prioritized tasks!"