Thursday, 3 August 2017

CC's Top Ten Time and Self Management Tips

How often do you hear the word ‘time’ thrown around? Every day? I do. People are too busy, don't have enough time, time is going by too fast, or they’ll get to it when they have the time...

Time management, or ‘self management’ is something I take very seriously. I manage my time, my day and my week with military precision. Not because I am obsessive about it, but because it is essential in my quest for a quality and joyful life.

I spoke to good friend, business mentor and Founder of Nxt Lvl, Tim Bishop, on the topic of time management and this is what he had to say;

“Time management is actually self management. Your goal is to master 24 hours, one day at a time. This is an incremental project. The thing with time is that it isn’t about the past or the future, it’s about the NOW. NOW actually stands for No Opportunity Waits. Now is the best time to change your life. Not later, not when it feels ready, right now. Time is not the real challenge. YOU are getting in the way of TIME.”

Once you can adjust your way of thinking regarding time and the value of time, you are now ready to apply some very real, practical strategies to mastering your 24 hour blocks of time.

CC’s Top Ten Time-Management Rules

1.     Respect your time: One of the greatest “changes of thinking” I ever adopted was respect for my time. By allocating a dollar value to every hour of my day, I could work out how much money I was losing each day to unproductive time. What is your hourly rate (don’t undervalue yourself)? Then work out how many hours you lost yesterday to time not well spent (for example: not working, nourishing your body, preparing food, spending quality time with your family, reading a good quality book, exercising, etc.). Multiply that by seven and that’s roughly how many $$ you are losing each week.

2.     Diary system: What diary system are you using? And is that system actually serving you? There are so many different diary systems available. Is it synced with your family’s diary? Your work colleagues? Is it synced to your social diary (most likely Facebook)? If they don’t all talk to each other, you are going to feel overwhelmed. Here’s the clincher – have you scheduled time in your diary each week to review the next seven days to make sure it is airtight and that every hour is accounted for?

Every Sunday evening I go through my diary for the next week. I make sure there are no gaps in my daily schedule, and if there are, I schedule something productive or I allocate an activity to that time. I identify my three business objectives for the week and I make sure they are accounted for in my diary. I then prepare a spreadsheet for my entire family (including my children’s father) that shows everything we have on for that week. That goes on the fridge. This allows the kids to manage their diaries as well and teaches them the value of being organised at the start of the week. They refer to it often and it ensures we never forget things like violins, ballet bags, library books or homework. Is your diary system working for you?

3.     Schedule grocery shopping time: This is a no-brainer for me. How much time do you waste popping in and out of the shops each week? I have some clients who pop into Coles almost every day. I’ve spoken about this before – use the delivery options available. Every Sunday (see a theme emerging here?) I order my meat (Meat at Billys), groceries (Coles online), and fruit and veg (AussieFarmers Direct) for the week, and even my toilet paper if necessary (who gives a crap).

This works, because I know I have all the things I need for the week. I make sure I can pick up what I need for meal prep that day, then my meal prep for the coming week commences. This isn’t to say I won’t run out of something during the week and need to make a quick stop, but it doesn’t happen often.

4.     Meal preparation: Sunday is 100% a meal prep kinda day if you are serious about, 1) being organised, and 2) maintaining or losing weight. Meal prep is a non-negotiable. To maintain a healthy weight I have to eat consistently, and to do this I MUST prepare my food for the week on a Sunday. I simply do not have the space in my diary to allocate time during the week.

I asked for help. My meal plan was created for me by The Chief Life (tell them I sent you). Not because I don't know what to do, but because I wanted someone else to do the thinking for me. I needed to reallocate this energy elsewhere. And they are the experts. I will cook up all the meat I need, three days’ worth of vegetables and sweet potato, and prepare a few mornings’ worth of breakfasts. I also prepare all the sandwiches for my kids for the week and freeze them. This whole process takes me anywhere between 60-90 minutes. How much time do you lose during the week thinking about what to cook, preparing and cooking your food, then cleaning it up? I get this done in one hit. One cook-up equals one cleanup.

5.     The no TV rule: I do not turn the TV on in the evening unless my day has been completed. Once that thing comes on, my productivity goes down the drain. I’m human, I love a bit of evening TV or Netflix to wind down. However, I absolutely will not turn it on if my food is not ready to go for the next day, the kids’ bags are packed, lunches are done, admin completed and most importantly until I have a clear understanding of what needs to be achieved the following day. I challenge everyone to try this one. Throw some music on instead. Notice what happens to your productivity, and even the communication between family members.

6.     No alcohol during the week: I used to drink every day. This was how I coped after a long, difficult or challenging day at work, or simply because I’m a mum and I deserved it. This was what I told myself anyway. When I started dating Tyler, he had a “no drinking during the week” rule which I found very challenging. Regardless, I adopted it primarily for health reasons. Initially it was about maintaining my body weight, however, over time I realised that the benefits I experienced were far greater than just the change in my body composition.

I slept better. So many people tell me they sleep better after they drink. I challenge this theory. Your REM cycle is NOT operating in a natural rhythm if you’ve had alcohol before bed. You are challenging your hormonal levels, your adrenal gland is under the pump, and so if your body is already experiencing stress you are adding to this overload. You lose epic amounts of productivity.

So many people claim they work better with a wine in their hand in the evening, and again I challenge this. How can you possibly be working at your optimum capacity if your thoughts and head are clouded with even one standard drink? There’s a reason you can’t drive after two! Finally, my mornings are clear, focused and precise when I don’t drink the night before. My eyes are clear, my brain is fired up and I’m present for my children, my team and my clients.

7.     Chunk it down: This is a very important strategy. Do you chunk your day into blocks of time? Start by chunking your day into one-hour blocks, then allocate the appropriate activity into each hour in your diary. Work out what chunk works best for you. I work in 15-minute chunks. This is ideal for me, and although it’s quite extreme it helps remove many undue stresses from my day. Some activities take two blocks of 15 minutes, some take four. Some take one (for example – shower and get dressed).

I know this sounds crazy, but by allocating what I need to do to each block and then most importantly STICKING TO IT, I rarely run behind time. Yes, I move fast all the time and yes, I walk in the door bang on when I need to, but it’s done calmly, with precision and a clear of understanding of the objective for the next 15-minute block.

8.     Allocate social media time: One of the greatest time suckers of our world today is social media. I won’t rant on about this too much because we are all painfully aware of how much time we can waste on this, however, it can also serve a very important purpose in our world. I’m not suggesting you remove social media from your world (please don’t! You will miss all the important updates from Ritual HQ!), but I am suggesting you allocate some time to it throughout the day rather than coming back to it all day whenever you have a moment spare.

I give myself three blocks of time during the day – morning, midday and evening. It has really freed up my time and allowed me to be a lot more present with my children. What it has also shown me is how bad we are as a society with this. My poor man gets drilled for being on his Facebook all the time now because he automatically starts scrolling whenever he has a moment’s pause. Sit at a coffee shop and look around, or at a bus stop, or any number of public places. You will feel a deep sadness when you notice the lack of connection between human beings.

9.     Systems, Systems, Systems: What are your systems for life? How do you make sure your washing doesn’t spiral out of control, your kitchen is manageable, your lawn is mowed, the rubbish is out, the pets are cared for, all whilst maintaining a full-time job as well as the kids and their 600 activities, your exercise routine and good nutrition? You need systems. You need to understand that it is ok to schedule when you do your washing, when you fold it, when it gets put away. You need to accept that sometimes this may mean really strange hours!

Systemise your kid’s contribution to this. My kids know that when they wake up in the mornings, they may find a list of chores. They have the dishwasher, pets to feed and groceries to put away.  What day is homework day? All these basic responsibilities should be listed on their weekly schedule. Ensure they happen the same day each week and you will all fall into a productive groove.

Monday night is my washing night. Washing goes on when I walk in the door at 7:15pm. Then at 8:30pm I hang it out on the clothesline (yes – in the dark). Tuesday afternoon I bring it in after school pickup and ballet drop-off. Tuesday night I fold it once the kids are in bed and they put it away the next morning with the help of our nanny.

10. Acceptance: You are probably reading all this thinking, why the hell should I have to be so strict with my time and my diary and my systems? Where does life fit into this? It’s time to accept that our world has changed dramatically over the last few years. At Ritual HQ, one of the most common reasons why members say they can’t continue with their membership is because they don’t have TIME. We think that everybody is time poor, but I would like to challenge this.

Everybody has the same amount of time allocated to them, yet we all value our time differently. I run my world like this for a reason. I treat this as an important part of my job. Why? Because I don’t want to live in a constant state of anxiety, stress or overwhelm. I don’t enjoy feeling like that when I know it is a direct consequence of how I am managing my time. I want to get to the weekend and enjoy some downtime, some social time, without worrying about all the things I still have to do.

I want to be happy, healthy and fit, and I want to look and feel a certain way. To do this, I must allow myself time to achieve this and manage my children’s needs. I am the CEO of my household and I take this role very seriously. I enjoy my weekends immensely. I’m stress free and full of love for the world around me because I am doing a superb job of managing my world with consistency, systems and good ol’ fashioned preparation. Most importantly, I want to be the best possible mother for my children and to do this, and manage my business, my relationship and my life and continue to serve our community and my clients, I MUST manage my self and my time. 


  1. Time management should be made a part of our life. We waste so much time without even realising it. A wise man have correctly said that Time is money, it indeed is. I really like your 10 points on managing time, the hardest one for me would be 'the no tv rule' ,but I'll try to save some time from this unhealthy habit of mine.

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  3. Thanks CC. I love this. Some great ideas to put into action.

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