Time management strategist Dara Fairman spends her days teaching others how to manage their time, be more productive, and achieve success in their own way.
At the September Cincinnati Blogging Meetup, we had the opportunity to soak up some of Dara’s wisdom. Considering how many balls bloggers are juggling at any given time, I think Dara’s ideas about time management for bloggers were spot on.
Thoughts on time management for bloggers
- Know and follow the 7 P’s: Dara talked about how her father always emphasized preparation as a fundamental principle of success. He called this mneumonic “the 7 P’s,” which stands for: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Sound advice, Dara’s dad!
- You only have 24 hours: Unless you’ve cracked the code on disrupting the space-time continuum, you’re going to have to accept that you only have so much time. You can’t do it all, but you can choose how to dedicate your allotted 24 hours a day.
- How do you measure success? Dara advises her clients to create their own success metrics. By setting and reaching the goals you want to achieve, you’ll experience a much deeper level of satisfaction.
- Design your life: I love her idea of writing out a vision/mission statement for your life. This “life design declaration” should include 10 statements describing what you want out of this life. If you read and refer to your declaration daily, Dara says, it’s a lot easier to make choices and feel great about them.
- Set a limited number of goals, and get help: Dara suggests restricting your goals to no more than six at any given time, which improves your odds of actually achieving them. She also likes to designate a goal “helper,” someone you can turn to for an extra boost if you need it.
- Choose peak priorities each year: Pick just one to three areas to focus on in the next year, and go for it!
- Make a time map: Plot out how you want to spend each chunk of your day (ideally in 30-minute increments), including how the time connects to your goals and life design declaration. If you know you perform best at certain times, reserve those spots for your highest priorities.
- Eat that frog: Referring to the famous Mark Twain quote (“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day”), Dara advocates for getting your worst tasks out of the way first. As a lifelong procrastinator, I can totally agree to this idea in principle—not sure I’ll ever be able to live by it, though.
- Beat the timer: Work the power of the clock to your advantage. Set a timer for 15 minutes, and challenge yourself to “eat the frog” (or whatever work you’re dreading) just until time’s up. Usually, just the momentum of getting started will carry you through to complete the job, even after the buzzer goes off.
- To single task or multitask?: We’re all tempted to “kill two birds with one stone,” but the tactic of multitasking often backfires. For activities that require mental focus, like writing a blog post or planning your editorial calendar, stick to one thing at a time. But if you’ve got a mindless slog ahead of you, such as updating tags or resizing images, turn on that audiobook or podcast you’ve been wanting to listen to. It will make the time go by much more enjoyably.
- Create a routine that works: Set yourself up for a more productive day with the right environment. Unless you truly get inspired by chaos, working in a messy room or a cluttered desk may not be your ideal surroundings. Make the space conducive to your best work, devote yourself to the task at hand, and give yourself a clear exit when it’s time to “clock out.”
- Put it in perspective: Dara left us with a final thought for when we’re struggling with a decision: How will this impact you in 10 minutes, 10 days, and 10 years? The short and long run can give us all a better sense of what’s the right call.
About our speaker
Dara Fairman has always been known for her focused productivity and time management. After earning an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business (by age 24), she enjoyed a successful career in corporate marketing. Dara led numerous fruitful brand management, retail marketing, regional marketing and foodservice category management efforts for Fortune 200 companies. She took a career break while her children were younger, then relaunched as a Time Management Strategist once both kids started school. Since 2012, she’s successfully executed numerous workshops and one-on-one personalized solutions. In 2016, Dara launched the My Time, My Way™ program. Learn more about her and her workshops on her website, Simple Better Solutions.