Like all of you, my life gets crazy busy.
I run my own business. Within that, I work as a freelance project manager for a content marketing firm. So, I’m not only managing my own client relationships—but the firm’s client relationships as well (SO MANY EMAILS). I’m the Career Editor for The Everygirl. I’m a regular contributor for numerous different websites. I run this blog. Each week, I’d estimate that I write anywhere between 15-25 articles, depending on how crammed my schedule gets.
I have hobbies and interests. I like to knit and crochet. I like to walk the dog. I like to bake. I like to read. I like to sit in front of the t.v. and not have to think about anything for two whole minutes.
I have my personal health. Meaning I’d like avoid resorting to junk and fast food for dinner every night. Oh, and I recently signed up for a gym membership on a whim that I’d like to make good use of.
I have my household. There’s cleaning that needs to be done. Laundry that needs to get folded. Errands that need to be run. A dishwasher that needs to be emptied. Endless DIY projects to finally complete this house we’ve been working on for a year and a half.
Oh yeah, and a social life. I definitely would like to maintain something that at least somewhat resembles a social life.
Are you hyperventilating with me yet? I can’t deny that my schedule is stuffed to the gills—just like yours. And, there are plenty of days when it just all feels like too much—like I’m one step away from missing a beat and having all of those things I’m juggling come crashing down around me.
But, somehow I keep trucking along day after day—and lately I began to wonder how I manage to keep it all going without tearing all of my hair out. So, I decided to pay attention. Here are a few of the tricks and methods I’ve found that help me stay sane despite all of the things I’m keeping in the air at once (well, at least sort of sane).
I mean it—my planner is my very best friend (that reminds me, I need to order a new one soon). Every little thing gets written down in there. Because, I know myself—if it’s not in there, I’m going to forget. Not showing up to a meeting or totally forgetting a deadline or phone call? Well, it’s not a great way to boost your professional reputation
My planner is just one of the things I always have with me. The other? My trusty journal. While I don’t use it to jot down my inner thoughts and feelings, I do use it to keep track of all of those little things that manage to pop up throughout the day—there are a lot of those, aren’t there?
I always start my day by making my to-do list. Then, as emails arrive and things spring into my brain throughout the day, they get jotted on that list—immediately. This helps me keep track of all of those small tidbits (think emails that need responses, followups you need to send, or something you forgot to check on), without losing them somewhere in that deep, dark, rarely-accessed portion of my brain.
I’m that person that could spend hours in front of her computer if you let me. But, as I’ve worked more and more, I’ve realized the importance of getting up every now and then to take breaks.
The only way to hold myself to this rule? By sticking to a schedule. For example, I set a strict lunch period for myself when I get up and do something else (maybe I’ll watch a show while I eat, or when it’s nice out I’ll eat on our patio). Or, I take a weekly hour-long exercise class on Fridays.
I know, it seems excessive to schedule these things for myself. But, it’s necessary for me.
Like I said, I’d spend all of my time in front of my computer just trying to crank out as much as possible. However, I’ve learned that just because I feel busy, doesn’t necessarily mean I’m productive. And, even further? I don’t churn out my best work when I’m exhausted and blurry-eyed in front of a computer screen.
I used to never be able to shut my office door when there were still things lingering on my to-do list. But, that quickly became an exhausting way to live—and it only meant I was starting my next workday feeling already burnt out. So, I’ve learned how to quit, even if I didn’t quite get everything done.
Yes, deadlines are important, but so is your sanity. Know when it’s time to close up shop for the evening. It’ll give you a whole new outlook and productive approach!
This has become a big one for me. When you’re already short on time, you want to make sure you’re expending your hours and energy on the correct things.
For example, I just dropped a client for the very first time in my life (I think I’ll have a separate post on this coming up soon!). I was feeling stressed and anxious, so I decided to sit down and take a magnifying glass to my current workload. That one commitment was taking up eight hours each week—but, the pay wasn’t competitive with my other work and I didn’t particularly enjoy it. So, I dropped it.
Since then? Well, I have eight whole hours each and every week to get more important stuff done. And, I’ve felt 20 pounds lighter since bidding adieu to that project. Constantly evaluate and then re-evaluate your commitments and priorities. It makes a world of difference!
What tips do you have for managing your crazy daily schedule? I’m always looking for more advice!
Until next time!