I know how she (or he) does it – WORDCAMP CAPE TOWN 2018 TALK


I did a talk on Time management/Time hacking and Productivity last week at WordCamp Cape Town

Please find the slides below:

My Speaker Notes Below: (Might not always make a lot of sense but added for extra reference)


How many of you find life to be so busy that you feel that there’s no time for things like exercise or hobbies or even sometimes  family or a business on the side?

How many would like to have a few ideas or hacks to have it all?

I’m definitely not claiming to have all the secrets but I do know a little bit… 

I got the idea for this talk from the book with a similar title from Laura Vanderkam I know how she does it: How successful women make the most of their time

Although the idea is based on the book the content is more a framework that I use myself 

What does a good life look like for you? How do we attend to fill our 168 hours a week
This talk aims to give some creative Ideas and strategies for figuring it all out and having it all. 

It was probably early high school when I started my first time schedule. I wanted to do sports and sing choir but I also wanted to do good in the exams and go out with my friends on the Friday and Saturday night. So I started creating these plans which will break my work up and fit it into time slots in between the other activities.

I did in some sort of pre-dessor to excel on my dad’s Amiga and if ì remember correctly printed it out on a printer on these roles of paper with the little holes on the side. I’ve always wanted to do it all. So when my first daughter arrived while I was still studying and working, I needed to reasses things and like most of us this became even harder with more kids and running a business. Needless to say I’ve been a serious time manager/time hacker over the years. 

I run Simply Digital Design a boutique Web and marketing studio working mainly with photographers and other creatives – but I do say yes to other projects as well.
I’m a WordPress community team member and spend my time running the WordPress Pretoria Meetup, leading an awesome team for Word Camp JHB this year and organising the Speaker Diversity workshop

I’m a mom of 3 – 2 girls and a boy and all 3 are in different schools atm with different activities so with everything else life can get really busy

The secret of it all is that  life is like a mosaic 
And you decide How you fill your tiles
i love to think of life not as days with 24 hours but in weeks with 168 hours that you can fill… You can sleep 56 hours a week, work 40 hours and you still have 72 hours a week for leisure or family – that’s not too bad. 

It all start with planning
A lot of the things Im going to talk about you’ll have heard a million times but these are really worth trying out for yourself and actually doing 

You need to ask yourself What does the good life mean to you?
What do you want from life?
What’s on your bucket list? 

90 day plans are good because it’s long enough to get things done but short enough to stay focused on your goal

And once you know what you want to get done in the 90 days you can break it down to weekly big 3’s where you decide at the beginning of the week what the 3 main things are that you need to get done and also for every day what the 3 things are that you need to get done. 

You can also plan out your day so that you have a plan for every 3omin/hour of the day and that’s called a 0 balance calendar and that’s similar to a 0 balance budget where you give every rand a job – here you give every hour a job.. but we’ll talk more about this when looking at the Ideal week planner. 


You take all your plans and to’dos and bucket list items and you create a master to do list or brain dump 
This can be everything in business and life 
and then you use the 4 quadrant framework to figure out the importance of these tasks

Urgent + Important.
Must do tasks with a clear deadline such as paying taxes, paying bills, completing
work on a deadline. If this isn’t done – there is a clear consequence!

Urgent + NOT Important
Time sensitive tasks that should get done such as replying to your emails, client
communication, working with your team. Systems streamline your time here.

NOT Urgent + NOT Important
These are tricky tasks because these are the ‘should do’ tasks we say yes to without
determining if they really help us reach our goals. Say NO!

This is where you want to spend more of your time and energy – on important revenue
generating tasks such as marketing, sales, or developing new revenue streams.


Log Your Time The first step to using your time better is knowing how
you’re spending it now. For a few days, or ideally a week, write down what
you’re doing, as often as you remember. Think of yourself as a lawyer
billing your time to different projects: work (in its various forms), sleep,
travel, chores, family time, TV, etc. 

168 hours – sheets
Rescue Time 

Deep work is a concept by Cal Newport and is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. 

Pomedero technique is a technique where you work for 25 minutes focused on one task  and then rest or review what you’ve done for 5 minutes
After 4 pomedero’s you then rest for a longer period depending on what you need. You start with your plan or your daily big 3 or to do list and then decide how many pomederos you think each task will take in the 5 minute review you can reassess this. 

Another concept is slightly longer sprints but with the same idea of working deeply on one main task. This can be anything from 45 minutes, 50 minutes etc
find your ideal time that works for you and the type of tasks that you do.

You will find that there is a sort of  point of diminishing returns or that you’ll sometimes go past the point of diminishing returns
If you don’t take an intentional  break you will take unintentional one
I have found that I can really only do any creative work the first 4 hours of the day so I only do about 4 of the longer deep work sprints passed that I’m only good for entering content or loading product or some other more mindless or at least less creative type of work. 

As mention before having an Ideal week or model calendar can help you have a base or framework to plan your days around you get a chrome extension for  in Google calendar called the ideal week planner or you can just do this on paper

With A/B weeks you can have 2 different weeks where 1 week is more focused on client work and 1 week is more for business building

Ideal week planner gray and in the background so you can plan your days on top of it, 
You can also create the A/B weeks by having different things every 2nd week.
In my case I’ve put different descriptions in the blocks as an A week will be if I have a website in a week and a B week if I don’t


Outsource to a team
or contractors or even Fiverr
if there’s anything small you need to do and don’t really want to do get someone on fiverr to do it for you. 
Support family friends  
Grab the opportunity


I’ve mentioned this a little yesterday in my workshop but…
Just like any other product a productized service should be simple, pre-packaged, pre-definted and in one shape and size… more or less
But you can’t however expect One size to fit all and that’s why niching is so important. 
You need to find that ideal client who you can help

Solve the problem for them in a streamlined and maybe templatise manner

I’ve also mentioned that a Creative Process can be standardize
Every website that comes out is completely unique but the process it went through stays the same Same 
There’s a Check list to get it all done.

Templates and SOP keep costs down

Faster more predictable for client because they know exactly what they’re getting 

Easier to sell and Easier to buy

Custom Proposal are not needed or proposal are written very quickly

It’s also  the type of thing that you can scale easily 

Examples of these types of things in our industry can be Website in a week, turnkey websites or even care plans or monthly digital marketing services

I’m going to end with Processes – I did a whole workshop on it yesterday but I want to invite you think about processes further than just around delivering a service, you can have process for on-boarding staff members or for writing blog posts  
Whole process of creating slides in Beautiful.Ai it makes it super easy and although my slides might look similar it doesn’t really matter

And even for things outside of work like kids stuff or exercise or anything you can create process

by logging your time you start to realise what it is you’re doing and where there are repetitive tasks that you can create systems around.
Create systems in tool like systemshub but basically in anything that you can share

Write it down
See what you can automate
if there’s any physical things that you do try and video record yourself or if there’s things on the screen do screen capture videos.

I’m going to conclude by asking you this:
How do you spend the 8760 hours that make a year?
Remember  – a life is made out of hours. 
I’m inviting you to Celebrate the abundance of time rather than proclaiming that no one can have it all 

Anchen le Roux

Owner and Lead Developer at Simply Digital Design. Lover of WordPress & the WP-Community. Passionate about simple, green and nomadic living. WCJHB Organiser and Founder of the Great WordPress Virtual Summit

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