My two-pronged approach to daily time management

As an Online Business Manager (OBM), your ability to juggle multiple clients, tasks, and responsibilities is the key to success. However, with the constant influx of demands, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and lose control of your schedule. Effective time management is the secret weapon that can help you regain control, boost productivity, and deliver exceptional results for your clients without burning out.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the two-pronged approach shared by Leanne Woff, a seasoned OBM who has mastered the art of managing her day. By combining high-level time blocking with micro-level task management, you’ll learn how to strike the perfect balance between client work, personal commitments, and self-care, ensuring that you can tackle each day with confidence and clarity.

With a focus on visibility at both the high and micro levels, Leanne offers a comprehensive guide to mastering time management, striking the right balance between client work and personal commitments, and maximising productivity without burning out. Her practical strategies, rooted in time blocking and project management tools like Asana, provide a roadmap for OBMs to stay organised, prioritise tasks effectively, and create breathing room in their schedules.

What this post covers:

      • Utilise a two-pronged approach: high-level view (time blocking) and micro-level view (project management tool).
      • Accurately estimate your capacity and understand how long tasks take you.
      • Colour-code your calendar blocks for quick visual recognition of different activities.
      • Build in sufficient breathing room and allocate time for breaks and unexpected events.
      • Follow the golden rule: never delete tasks; move them to a new time slot if not completed.
      • Break down tasks and plan in advance to minimise “faffing time” and increase focus.
      • Prioritise tasks and adjust your schedule accordingly when moving tasks around.
      • Use a project management tool like Asana to manage micro-level task details.
      • Overcome the hesitation to follow the system, even when you know it works.
      • Consistently plan and schedule your planning time to ensure a seamless workflow.

Tune in to listen:

1. The Power of Visibility: Embracing the Two-Pronged Approach

At the core of Leanne’s time management strategy lies a two-pronged approach that emphasises visibility at both the high and micro levels. This dual perspective allows you to maintain a bird’s-eye view of your schedule while simultaneously zooming in on the intricate details of your tasks and responsibilities.

2. The High-Level View: Time Blocking

The first prong of this approach revolves around time blocking, a technique that involves allocating specific blocks of time in your calendar for different activities. By colour-coding these blocks, you can quickly visualise your week at a glance, making it easier to identify potential conflicts or overlaps.

“And so you want to look at your week, and you want to use colours to make it easier for your brain to quickly process what you’ve got going on. We want to create a colour code and it might be that purple is all of your life activities and it might be that blue is all of your kids’ activities.”

Leanne emphasises the importance of accurately estimating your capacity and understanding how long tasks typically take you. This knowledge is crucial for effective time blocking, as it allows you to allocate the appropriate amount of time for each task or activity.

“This approach works whether you currently do work on an hourly basis, whether you’ve got retainers, or whether you are project based. So it’s really versatile, which is fantastic. There is a critical point though. You need to be able to estimate and understand your capacity with accuracy.”

3. The Micro-Level View: Project Management Tools

Complementing the high-level time blocking is the micro-level view, which Leanne achieves through the use of project management tools like Asana. These tools provide a detailed breakdown of the tasks and responsibilities associated with each time block, ensuring that you have a clear roadmap for what needs to be accomplished during those allocated periods.

So I love Asana. It’s my project management tool of choice. I started using it years and years ago and I like it. It does what I need it to do. I pay for a business account or whatever. It’s probably one of the highest paid subscriptions I have because I like it and I like to fiddle with the new things.

By breaking down tasks into manageable chunks and planning them in advance, you can minimise “faffing time”, the time spent trying to figure out what needs to be done next. This focused approach allows you to maximise your productivity and stay on track throughout the day.

4. Building in Breathing Room

One of the key principles Leanne emphasises is the importance of building in sufficient breathing room within your schedule. This means allocating time for breaks, unexpected events, and other non-work-related activities. By doing so, you create a more realistic and sustainable schedule that accounts for the inevitable curveballs life throws your way.

“The biggest thing is just to get started. Something else that you want to do is once you’ve put everything in, I want you to measure this against how much breathing room you’ve put in.”

Leanne recommends taking the time to map out your ideal week, including dedicated blocks for client work, marketing activities, and personal time. Then, assess whether you’ve left enough breathing room and make adjustments as needed. This proactive approach ensures that you’re not constantly playing catch-up and allows you to maintain a healthy work-life balance.


5. The Golden Rule: Never Delete, Always Move

A critical component of Leanne’s time management system is the golden rule: never delete tasks, always move them. This means that if you’re unable to complete a task during its allocated time slot, you must move it to another available slot rather than simply deleting it.

“Now, once you plan down your week, you have to, on a daily basis, live by the golden rule. And that is, you cannot delete anything unless that event, or that piece of client work, or whatever it might be, has actually been cancelled, or you’ve found someone else to do it.”

By following this rule, you avoid the dangerous trap of telling yourself you’ll “find time for it later.” Instead, you’re forced to consciously prioritise and reschedule tasks, ultimately leading to a more accurate understanding of your capacity and better planning for the future.

6. Prioritisation and Adjustment

Inevitably, there will be times when you need to move tasks around due to shifting priorities or unexpected events. When this happens, Leanne recommends prioritising tasks based on their importance and adjusting your schedule accordingly.

So you start to then make your template livable. What you might find is that you don’t have enough room in your week for how much you had planned. And that’s okay. It means that you need to make some decisions.”


7. Overcoming Hesitation: Embracing the System

While Leanne’s time management approach may seem straightforward, she acknowledges that the biggest hurdle is often ourselves. It’s easy to feel hesitant about implementing a new system, even when we know it works.

To overcome this hesitation, Leanne encourages you to start small and build the system into your daily routine. Remember, consistency is key, and as you practise this approach, it will become second nature, ultimately leading to increased productivity and peace of mind.

8. Planning for Planning

Finally, Leanne emphasises the importance of planning for your planning time. Just as you schedule time for client work and other activities, it’s crucial to allocate dedicated blocks in your calendar for planning and preparation.

By consistently scheduling your planning sessions in advance, you ensure that you have the time and mental space to effectively map out your tasks, break them down into manageable chunks, and integrate them seamlessly into your time-blocked schedule and project management tools.

Over to You

Effective time management is the foundation upon which successful OBMs build their businesses. By embracing Leanne Woff’s two-pronged approach, combining high-level time blocking with micro-level task management, you can take control of your schedule, maximise productivity, and deliver exceptional results for your clients.

Remember, the key is to start small, build the system into your routine, and overcome any hesitation you may feel. As you consistently implement these strategies, you’ll find yourself better equipped to handle the demands of your business while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Adopting Leanne’s time-tested methods can be a game-changer for overwhelmed OBMs struggling to stay afloat amidst mounting responsibilities. By gaining visibility into your schedule and tasks, you’ll be able to work smarter, not harder, and reclaim precious time for yourself and your loved ones.

If you’re ready to take your time management skills to the next level, listen to the full podcast episode “OBM Behind The Scenes: How I Manage My Day” for even more invaluable insights and practical tips from Leanne Woff herself.

As you embark on this journey towards mastering time management, ask yourself: What aspect of Leanne’s approach resonates with you the most?, and how can you begin implementing it in your own life today? Share your thoughts in the comments below, your perspective could inspire fellow OBMs to take action and transform their relationship with time.

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