Managing time. It's a joke isn't it? It's more difficult for me to manage well now that I work from home and have a little one or two to also grow, love, and teach. I posed a question on our facebook page asking, "What kind of organizing help do you need?" One response simply said, "time management." She works full time and has kids plus one is special needs. Her time management would look totally different from mine. But I told her I needed help in that direction too and right before school starting is a good time to focus on that.
I came across this post titled, How To Organize Your Time When Working From Home. And here is what her computer calendar looks like:
The graphic inspired me. I sat down with my paper calendar, yes, I am still in love with paper. I created a rough draft to follow weekly. I focused on my business tasks and home tasks. And made sure to include things I often forget (lunch).
In this calendaring process I realized I need a big picture plan but desperately need a detail plan or list. I have to make this work for ME.
After the rough draft I entered tasks into my gmail calendar. My husband and I already use them. I have tried other apps and such but it's been a flop. Why not try what I'm already using? We had to open up an extra account so that he didn't see all of my tasks. If he saw this calendar he would not be able to find what was pertinent to him (therefore he'd claim he didn't know I had a Tastefully Simple party and he was on kid duty).
You can't see the beginning or ending of my days in the photo below, sorry. I plan to start off with dishes and laundry. I dislike dishes most but if I start off with what I hate, my day will only get better (and my sink will be empty)! And I can do them between getting my girls ready for school etc. Well, at least some of the job.
I work s l o w in the morning. So having menial tasks to do when I don't fully need my brain is perfect.
I have included specific times to read my email. I have scheduled in my social media tasks for work. I scheduled lunch - enough time to make, eat, and clean up. I have scheduled time for Tastefully Simple, Clever Container and blog writing. I have scheduled time for catch up. I have scheduled time for newsletter creating, phone calls for personal and business (I hate the phone). I have scheduled time for grocery shopping. On Saturday I scheduled time to meal plan, and organize or a do a project (if I want). I need to use a timer if I really want to stay on target.
I also scheduled time to learn something! You know, like how to take a screen shot for a blog post such as this. So it looks a lot better than a photo of my screen :) I am really excited to have this on my schedule. I have a lot to learn about pretty much everything!
I also scheduled some snack time (once school starts) and supper time. My goal is to add the meal to each day's event. I'm simply hoping that having them scheduled in front of my face will help me plan better and waste less time.
Something else I scheduled is 7pm clean up time. We all need to pick up our messes and prepare for the next day. Doing this at 7 should give us time for a quick clean up, getting the girls ready for bed - jammies, teeth, reading- and lights out by 8. Having them to bed by 8 means I'll get a couple more hours to do as I please - wee! Another very important thing on the calendar is at 7pm on Sunday night we pick out school clothes for the week.
As opposed to the inspiration schedule shown above, I have some holes in mine. I need wiggle room and this will constantly need to be tweaked, so not having the schedule totally packed out will help. I try to actually observe a Sabbatical - spending 24 hours not doing anything that seems like work to me. But I didn't schedule that in. After I use this a little longer I will continue to tweak the schedule with a goal of having a clear Sabbath - even if it ends up being 2 pm on Sat. - 2 pm on Sunday. Whatever works.
As I said, I love paper. I have this handy dandy to-do pad to help me jot down details as I think of them. And honestly I am a girl that needs to physically check things off a list. This sheet simply helps with the day's reminders.
And the most important thing about this whole scheduling/calendaring? It has to be flexible. I am not working from home every day. Sometimes I'm spending 6 to 8 hours a day organizing for a client in her home or office. So, on those days I have to be okay with what doesn't get done, and make adjustments.
I'll be honest. It took me hours of quiet thinking to get this far. But my goal is to be efficient with my time - to be intentional.
My biggest time management goal of all is to make sure I am spending quality time with my youngest.
It's a juggling act. I think having a plan to loosely follow will help. And the key is actually looking at the calendar every single day.
What about you? How do you manage your time well?
*This post is part of the series: