The question i get asked most of late has to be “where do you find the time!?” I have to be fully transparent… i’m terrible at it. Not only am i terrible at it, but i also lack the self-awareness to ascertain how much i can reasonably be held accountable for. The truth is, i’m a sucker for saying yes. The benefit of this attitude, however, is that through my past failures of over-commitment, i’ve stumbled across some systems to manage multiple projects at once. This year, opening 2 new restaurants & a new version of my football academy , whilst maintaining speaking commitments, the odd consultancy gig & some degree of personal life, really has tested my resilience. Through these challenges, however, i’ve developed a few accidental habits which seem to work.
Under promise, over deliver.
Sounds cliche, but i’ve been guilty in the past of saying yes to something in excitement, whilst giving myself an unrealistic deadline of completing it in order to please someone in the moment. Nowadays, i’ll tend to give a little longer time than i know i can complete it, but assure people it will be done to this timescale. Before committing to anything, i make sure i’m able to deliver to the degree that it justifies my ability to be perceived worthy of doing so in the first place. This leads on nicely to my next point…
If its not a hell yes, its a no. I have to consider 3 things now to take something on. Does it make me happy? Does it make an impact? And does it reward me for my time, whether financially or otherwise? These are my 3 criteria, and ultimately, i have to be excited about it. This is often the determining factor when against a deadline and the need to get something done.
I utilise a number of apps & features on my iPhone to ensure i don’t forget appointments, deadlines and events. Favourite task management apps include Trello, which enable me to stay in touch with my team on projects and streamline our communication around topics. I’ve found that having access to the back office of my restaurants means i can make informed decisions when travelling and react quickly to any issues. Simple enough, but google calendar also ensures i know where i have to be and when.
Lists have saved me. I write down everything in priority order, under the heading of each project and work through this in the mornings. I try to do the stuff i least look forward to first, as this is often the most important. Having multiple projects running at once is helpful, because it allows me to maintain my attention span for long periods, switching between modes to get things done.
Do what feels right
I try to live outside the perceived timeline of societal norms, being dictated to by body & mind instead of culture. Monday to Friday, 9 til 5 is not the only time to work, and its also not odd to work at 9pm on a Sunday. If i’m struggling with creativity, i work on something that requires less of it. If i have a creative urge in the middle of the night, or an idea pops up, i keep it in the notes in my phone to revisit when i wake. Find new ways to work when it feels right. A recent favourite of mine is calling my voicemail in the car and making a voice note if an idea pops up to write down later.
Putting people in key positions relevant to their skill set, often ones i don’t have, has been a game changer. Im not good at editing video, i hate replying to reviews, and my attention span in meetings that i don’t find interesting is like a toddler. Being self aware enough to know this, i act on it by instead giving these tasks to people on my team who are better suited than i, and can feedback to me what i need to know, or who are trusted to take action on my behalf.
Often, its hard for the mind to focus when the body doesn’t feel its best. My productivity halves on a hangover, at the best of times! Having a solid morning routine with yoga, meditation & energising whole foods sets the tone for my day. I exercise daily, and have little triggers that remind me to be present and connected to why i’m doing what i doing.
Lastly, did i mention it’s hard work? There’s very little that can replace it. Stay focused on the bigger picture and be constantly learning. I’d love to hear your tips for managing time too!