I wanted to take a moment and share some tips with you today. Tips about managing time and helping yourself be a little more productive. I have to be honest, these tips are just as much a reminder to me as they are to help you!
HAVE A CALENDAR
Have a visual calendar. I know, I know this is the age of digital everything. But having a visual calendar somewhere central is very important. I am actually overly redundant about this, I admit. I have a “bullet journal” that I carry in my purse. It is a small cork book that I have a calendar in, take notes, etc. (See a vlog about it here) If I am out and about and need to add something to my calendar, I can do it right then and there. If I go to a meeting and need to take notes, it is there with me. Later, I can reference back to those notes at any time. If I am out somewhere and an idea for a recipe or a vlog topic or anything creative pops into my head, I have a section in the back where I keep those. Then later when I am home again, I will transfer the calendar items to my visual calendar right there on my desk.
Here’s where the redundancy comes in…I have another paper calendar for the month on my refrigerator. I keep appointments and such for the whole family there. Everyone can add what is going on, so that no one is surprised by an event. Finally, if I have an appointment that I need to remember, I’ll also add an alert on my phone.
You don’t have to go to all of these lengths that I do, but do have a calendar to keep track of all of your “must-do’s” and have it where you will see it often.
PLAN AHEAD AND ADJUST YOUR DEADLINES
If you have an important deadline on Monday, don’t plan a camping trip the weekend before. If you really want to go on that camping trip, then adjust your deadline. Make your personal deadline the day before the trip. Tell yourself you HAVE to have your article/project/whatever done on that day and make no excuses. No last minute “Oh, I’ll do it when I get home’s” because you are playing with danger!
Something else that I like to do, is give myself a buffer deadline. Say the deadline for an article that I need to write is January 21st. I will write on my calendar that the deadline is actually the 19th or 20th at the latest. Then make a concerted effort to always meet that deadline. That way if something comes up, you aren’t panicking because it is 9:30 pm and the deadline is in 2.5 hours and a storm just knocked out your electricity! You had it done 2 days ago.
WORK WHEN YOU ARE PRODUCTIVE
Here’s the deal – I know Benjamin Franklin said, “Early to Bed, Early to Rise – makes a man Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.” But let’s be real. I am not an early bird. I am a night owl. For me, my most productive time of day is 11:00 pm after the whole house has gone to bed and there’s nothing on TV because the Walking Dead is on hiatus for the holidays. Sometimes my most productive time of day is 10:30 am, sitting at my desk, in my pajamas and sipping a cup of coffee.
You know yourself. You know when you work best, and that is when you should work.
Try to work in a location where you can avoid distractions. Now that my daughter got married and moved out, we have a spare room that has been converted into my own little sanctuary – my office. Ahh…heaven! No more listening to my son yell at the x-box or my husband watching the N.A.S.A. channel. (A bout of kidney stones is almost less painful than that torture.)
I know that avoiding distractions can be a huge challenge, especially if you have younger kids, but that is where the whole “productive time” comes into play. If your distraction-free, productive time is when the kids are down for a nap, then plan that in as part of your day. Maybe that time for you is your weekly jaunt to the local coffee shop for “mommy time” and you can get work done while you are there and the kiddos are home with Dad.
The point is, know when your best time is to work, and plan for it. Have it on a regular basis.
FORGET NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS – THE 90 DAY GOAL
Don’t wait for New Year’s Day to start something new. Start today! If getting up every day at 6 am and going to the gym is something that you want to be part of your life, and something that you do without effort, commit to doing it for 90 days. Once you have done something for 90 days, it isn’t just a routine, it is a lifestyle. You can’t imagine not doing it that way.
Once a week, I set aside a specific day to go through and check my social media accounts, schedule touts, coordinate my calendars and make sure everything is ship-shape. I want to move my personal deadlines up significantly, so my editorial calendar is something that I have to stay on top of. I have several other things that I want to be better organized about as well, but you get the idea.
Remember 90 Days. If you can make it, you are there. It is no longer a chore or a task, it is your lifestyle.
TAKE CARE OF YOU
Last, but not least – take the time to take care of you. Be sure to get a full night’s sleep. By better managing your time, you won’t be pulling those all-nighters when you forgot about a deadline. You got it done 2 days ago, remember? Eat well, and get the exercise your body needs to stay healthy. (Talking to myself again here) By being healthy, you’ll have the energy to do the tasks that you need to do!