Does your life move steadily forward at a comfortable pace? Probably not. One week I’ll have tons of free time and the next I’ll have tons of client work, personal projects to finish and half a dozen places to go. Trying to find a way to make things work when your calendar is bursting at the seams can be a challenge, but personally I’d be bored to death if every day/week/month was the same. How’s that for looking for a positive in everything? Today I want to share a few ways that keep me sane when there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get what I need done.
Prioritize your tasks
While it seems like everything you do is important, chances are you can pretty easily name the tasks that absolutely must get done and the tasks you would like to do get done. Whether it’s mentally or written on the back of an old Chipotle receipt try to pull out your top 3-5 tasks that need to get done and then, once those are done, move on.
Wake up an hour earlier
My general wake up time is just before 8am because that’s when my husband leaves for work and I usually can’t pull myself out of the warmth of the bed until he’s gone. Isn’t that silly? But when I get up early, even just an hour earlier, I am so motivated and impressed with the things I can knock off my list by noon. My very first foster puppy, Belle, was not a fan of her crate for several weeks so we woke up at about 5am everyday. It was so early that it was still dark out when I would let her out and then we would come inside and I would get 2-3 hours of completely focused work in before Blaine would even wake up. It was amazing and honestly? I didn’t feel much more tired than I did getting up later.
Go to bed an hour later
This won’t work for everyone, but it definitely works for me when the time is right. I think a lot of creatives work really well at night. Most nights I’m ready for bed by 9 or 10, but if I get the energy to stay up until 1am it’s usually because I am on a roll. If you’ve got the creative juices flowing and can afford to lose a few extra hours of sleep I say go for it! There’s nothing like going to bed completely exhausted and knowing you were extremely productive!
As obvious as this sounds, take a moment to brainstorm a bit and you might be able to shave some time off of different tasks. I’m the ultimate multitasker, to a point where sometimes I do it too much and boil over a pot of water on the stove while I’m swiffering in the other room and then get distracted by something that needs to be put away. But if you do it right multitasking can be such a time saver. For example, most mornings I wake up, throw a load of laundry in the washing machine, turn on a podcast and speed clean for at least 20 minutes (or until the podcast is over). That means I’m cleaning, learning/getting inspired and moving my body (I count it as exercise to an extent) all at once.
Re-evaluate regular activities
Do you really need to spend 20 minutes on facebook as soon as you wake up in the morning? I quit facebook (mostly) and I’ve found that not only do I have more time, my mind is more clear. Think about the things you currently fit into your day. You only have 24 hours and many of those hours are spent sleeping. Try cutting out a few things by asking “is this something I truly enjoy or that is moving me towards one of my goals?” If not, try dumping it for a week and see how you feel.
Set a timer
One of my favorite methods of gaining more time is just setting a timer. It’s such a simple way for me to get focused and increase my productivity drastically. I tend to work much more efficiently knowing I have 35 minutes to work on a project than if I just start with no end-time in mind.
This is so hard for me. In general I like to think of myself as relatively laid back, but when it comes to things I need to get done I have so much trouble delegating! Whether it’s asking your kids to take out the trash or hiring someone to do some design work for your website, it may seem like something you can do quickly, but even delegating a few small tasks each day can free up your time and your mind because it’s one less thing you’re reminding yourself to do all day. (Shameless plug: if you need design or blog help, let’s talk!)
Hit pause and do what’s distracting you
Sometimes you’re doing your best to work or finish a task and your mind keeps drifting. Whether it’s the dirty dishes in the sink that you can see out of the corner of your eye or the fact that you know an episode of Parenthood is on your DVR. If you can’t focus you’re not working efficiently and in some cases it might be better to stop what you’re doing and come back to it when you can focus.
Be ok with not doing it all today
For me, this is one of my biggest struggles. At the beginning of each week I have a general feel for the work I have to schedule out for the week ahead. But somehow Monday’s are always insanely stressful, Tuesdays are a little better and then the three days after are usually quite easy in comparison. Make sure you’re only prioritizing things that need to be done today and not trying to complete a weeks worth of tasks in one day. Not only will you fail, but you will feel terrible for failing and that will carry on to the next day and so on. Remove the expectation and focus on a realistic amount of things to get done each day.
Hopefully these will help you as much as they’ve helped me! I’m not an expert on time management and productivity, but with several years of owning businesses and the past two years of being a freelancer has taught me a lot.
Happy Monday! The weekend was a good one with our annual Paws & Pearls event for Marley’s Mutts. Getting dressed up once in a while is fun and I got to spend it with good friends. Of course, it turned into a mini sleepover party because cool kids don’t drink and drive. Sunday was spent lounging around and admiring Blaine who proves to be extremely handy and ready to tackle any project. Half a day to install a window when he’s never done it before? No problem. Now he’s ready to replace all the older windows in the house, you know besides the fact that windows are a few hundred bucks. And now I’m motivated to tackle a few home projects as well which I’m excited about!
LAST WEEKS WISHES
- Spend one hour blogging daily. Giving myself a pass on this. I blogged the equivalent of one hour daily, but probably not one hour each day. Some days were more than an hour, some were less. Main point is — I was a blogging fiend and am aiming to keep the momentum going!
- Send first email to email list. This is scheduled to go out tomorrow! If you haven’t signed up you can do so here. It’s going to be a good one with some exclusive tips, plus a bonus offer for anyone looking for design whether it’s blog design, graphics, event suites, etc.
- Get moving for at least 20 minutes everyday. Same situation as blogging daily, I don’t know that I did 20 minutes each day. Also, I kind of cheat. I count cleaning as “moving”. I usually put on a podcast and speed clean for 20-45 minutes on an almost daily basis. With being busy and a multitasker it feels good to be able to feel like I’m moving my body and keeping up with the house at the same time. I know this doesn’t replace exercise, but right now it’s better than nothing!
THIS WEEKS WISHES
- eCourse design. What? eCourse? I actually was originally writing an ebook, but wanted it to be more visual and interactive so I switched gears and it’s now an eCourse! I’m done writing it for the most part and want to get the eCourse deigned this week.
- October editorial calendars. I’m a bit ahead of myself with this, but haven’t fully planned out October for this blog and my DIY wedding blog that I’m in the middle of launching.
- One home DIY project. I have so many projects in my head swimming around from finally painting the studio to a new desk to a million other things so my goal is to at least do one this week!
Those are my three wishes this week! I’m keeping it small and simple because my workload is still pretty full between the rescue and my client work. I also want to have a little time to do some projects around the house. Also, now that Sept is over and October is coming (what!) it’s time to review monthly wishes.
ebookeCourse! I am about 75% done. All I have left to do is design (doing that this week) and come up with some marketing plans for it. I’m so excited!
- Get DIY Wedding Blog up and running. It’s up. It’s running. I have posts planned all week so we’re definitely off to a good start.
- 4th Quater Blog plan for this Blog. Fail.
- Finish my 2013 taxes. Done! Now to make payments and put more away than I have been so we don’t need to make payments next year.
- Organize my dropbox. Nope. Still need to do this!
- Launch my first eCourse! I’m so excited about this I don’t even know what to say. I’ll be talking about it a little more in the coming weeks as I plan to launch and hopefully create a little excitement.
- Have a yard sale. We have big things happening in the next couple of months and one thing I really need to plan before it gets too cold is a combined yard sale between our stuff and, mostly, my parents stuff.
- General 4th quarter plan for both blogs. I’m not talking 100% step by step laid out, but with fall, winter and holidays there’s a lot to plan for if I want to make the most of my blogs.
Geze, this is quite a long post, but I firmly believe that in order to success we need to write down our goals and dreams so that we have something to work for. Happy Monday!!
Parenthood is definitely one of my favorite shows and this pinterest board of the sets of the different homes? Omg.
As an accidental cat-lady, some of the hacks on this 26 cat owner hacks are pretty cool.
34 ways to declutter your life. Perfect for a clutterphobe like me. I mean, I wish I had kids so I could create a stuffed animal pen. Genius!
How responsive web design works and why it’s important.
Great advice on Setting Your Freelance Rate over on The Freelance Hustle.
Ordered some samples of organic BB cream all the way from Australia from MamaGoingNatural on Etsy and can’t wait to try it out. She even sent some extra samples for me to try out, so sweet!
P.S. The very first email is going out to my email list early next week and it’s going to be a good one! Sign up below if you haven’t already.