Someone asked me the other day how did I manage everything, i.e. business, personal time, family, etc. She really caught me off guard. I had to stop and think about the question. I don’t really consider myself an expert in Time Management. My business ebbs and flows. Sometimes I think I have more than I can handle on my plate, but then I keep chipping away at what needs to be done until I can breathe a sigh of relief that I am in control again. I believe if you did a survey and talked to several people, each one would have somewhat of a different approach to how they manage their time. I believe that you have to find what works for you and stick with it. Even though I read many articles on time management and organization and even save them to my Pinterest board, I still come back to the basics of what works for me.
So here is my list of what works for me –
- I write it down. Yes, I am an old fashion to-do list maker. I’ve tried using electronic apps, but I am a visual person. I write out my to-do list and have it right beside my computer so I can mark off what’s been done and I can see what needs to be done.
- I try and prioritize my to-do list. What projects need to be done first are typically the ones that I’m getting paid to do. Some are dependent on deadlines. I put stars by the ones which need to be done first. The more stars the more urgent.
- I use a Month at a Glance calendar. Again something I can write my appointments on and see all in one place. Even if I add something to my online calendar, I transfer it to my hardcopy calendar.
- When I’m working I typically don’t answer the phone unless I’m expecting a call. Incoming calls with no caller ID and/or out of state area codes can leave a message. When I get a break, I check my messages and return calls.
- I get a ton of emails every day. I do selective reading. I scan my emails and read those that are business related and/or need to be handled. About once a month I do a massive deletion of emails from some months prior. Typically if I haven’t read them, I evidently didn’t need them and they weren’t important.
- Since I work from home, when I do go somewhere, I try to do all my errands while I’m out. Another reason I do this is, I’m out in the country, so the nearest major stores like a grocery store is 8 to 10 miles away. So it’s just not easy to run out and pick up something. So even my grocery shopping is coordinated with the day I go to my weekly networking meeting. And yes I have a list for my errands and a list for groceries.
- I have created a grocery list that coordinates with my favorite store. I keep one on the side of the refrigerator so that I can add things as I run out or hubby can. This makes grocery shopping a little more organized. I do coupon. I keep them in an envelope that I take with me to the store. I also go online and add electronic coupons to my loyalty card for the products I use. Wished they would do all the coupons like that.
- My workday typically starts around 8am and goes to 6pm or so. When I quit for the day, I quit for the day. I leave my phone in my office. After sitting in front of the computer all day, I feel I deserve some down time. Whatever phone calls and emails after 6PM can be answered the next day. There are some exceptions to this from time to time depending on the client and the project.
- I schedule time for me. Sitting at a computer all day almost every day makes that monthly massage appointment a necessity. I also exercise. I am a runner, so I try to do a good run at least once a week if not more. I’m a firm believer in use it or lose it and I definitely want to stay active and mobile.
So these are the things that works for me. Would love to hear from you to hear what works for you. What is your best advice for managing your time?