Let’s take a look at organizing your time and why it’s essential in being productive.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “We all have the same hours in a day, as Beyoncé.” While that may be true… most of us aren’t sitting on mountains of money to have assistants that aid in everyday tasks… that’s truly the dream. So, we may have the same amount of time in a day, we also have a lot to contend with between work, spouses, friends, children, the listen goes on and on. So, realistically, writing is a hobby for many, and the ones that succeed in making a career out of it because it’s a deep passion for them - they make the time for it, like everything else in their life. The fact of the matter is if something is important to you, you’ll make time for it.
So here are my Top 4 Tips for Organizing your time:
Cut Out The Crap
Track where you spend your time for a week, that will realistically allow you to see what is necessary, how it’s spent ie. kids, work, spouse - you’ll also see the unnecessary time spent on social media, TV, Netflix, etc.
It may seem like a silly step, but trust me hindsight is always 20/20 - you may feel like you don’t spend that much time on those “time sucks” until you really track it.
Once you see the areas you are able to trim out of your life - CUT OUT THE CRAP.
Create a Schedule
Now, your next step is to create a schedule for yourself. I know - I can hear you groaning now… it’s necessary, a bit of preparation time will save you a lot of indecision later in the week. Thos small indecision are another form of a “time suck”.
Pull out a piece of paper, a paper planner, or digital - whatever form of planning you like. Put in and schedule all of the tings you “HAVE TO DO” for the week - work, kid time, fitness, even meals. Once you see how that all lays out in a calendar - you know where you have time to fit in the other stuff you want to do / work on. My one caveat is don’t over estimate what you can get done, build in some kind of cushion time, and make sure you add in some “free time” for self, that you can relax, watch TV, surf social media. The point is not to deprive yourself but to just be more aware of where your time is spent and how to effectively manage it.
I've batched tasks into my AM Routine and PM Routines for my personal life and even divided up my work days into AM Routines and PM routines. This saves a lot of that dreaded indecision time which allows me to be more productive and less cognitive strain on deciding what I'm doing at the moment. Routines are super important, they tend to just put your day on auto pilot and allows you to just get it done without thinking about the small tasks you should do everyday. A future post on all the benefits of AM and PM Routines will be coming up soon!!
My Personal AM Routine:
- AM Tidy (dishwasher on/unloaded, bed made)
- Shower + Get Ready For The Day
- Check E-mails
- Check Phone
My Personal PM Routine
- Cook Dinner
- TV Time w/ dinner
- Do dishes
- PM Tidy (dishwasher on / unloaded, garbage taken out, mail sorted)
- Check Emails
- Schedule + tasks for the next day
- Get ready for bed + Turn on Essential Oil Diffuser
- Tea and Read for 1 Hour.
Here’s a sample of schedule :
Personally, I love digital planning through my iCal. It allows me to sync my day job calendar for meetings, appointments, etc. with all my personal activities. While it look super structured and rigid - I don’t always follow it exactly, and I do generally have extra time, because of the cushion time I build into almost every activity.
Batch Your Tasks
This may be an obvious one - but batch your tasks. This basically means do like minded tasks with other like minded tasks. If you run a blog and put out 4 posts / month. Can you write the four posts at one time? Or meal preparation? Obviously we all eat everyday - so if you’re cooking a meal, can you make a larger quantity and freeze it for future meals? Or have enough made for a few nights of leftovers.
Emails another great example - check your email twice a day or just once in the morning. Unless you work a job where you have to be constantly on top of it - most emails are able to wait for a few hours. Turn off that notification on your phone and computer, and just set time aside in your scheme to check it, respond and clean out your inbox. I can’t be the only one who loves getting their inbox to zero - something I try to do everyday, if not once / week on Sundays I make sure everything is dealt with in my Inbox, so I can have a fresh start for the new week.
You have to look at where you can cut time and stress. That constant feeling of not having “enough” time - is just a lie we tel ourselves, because we’re not being functionally productive and prepared in the areas of our life.
Build In Flex Time
Build in some flex time where you can do whatever you want, TV, Netflix, coffee date with some friends, drinks out on a a patio or a spa night at home with a hot bath and a couple of candles. Build it in - life isn’t about depravation, it’s about experiences, growing and loving your life everyday. With my “rigid” schedule I am also able to “shut off” the guilt mentality when I’m resting with the FLEX TIME - this allows me to binge Netflix or catch up on the DVR for a night of shows. I know, it’s scheduled so it won’t make me feel guilty for being “unproductive” during that time - rest is just as important as working towards your goals.
How do you organize your time?