Planning and Managing Your Time

Write It Down, Get It Done

I believe the scientific term for my schedule is “bonkers”. I am growing my business, working on a few freelance projects, and working part time at my favorite tattoo shop. I don’t always know what day it is. The absolute only way I can manage my monthly, weekly, and daily schedule is by using a planner. I am a list maker, a note taker, a lover of notebooks big and small. If you have spent 5 minutes on my Instagram account, you know all of that. And you also know I’m #brandloyal to Yellow Paper House planners. Women owned and operated (a mom and a daughter, actually!) in Bel Air, Maryland, YPH makes my favorite notebooks and planners. Other great companies are Moleskine, Hobonochi, Passion Planner, and Erin Condren.

Buying a pretty new planner is not the end all, be all. You actually, well, have to plan. Look at your schedule and how you feel throughout the week and designate 20 minutes to plan your week out. I feel panicked if I wake up Monday mornings not knowing what my week looks like. I also like to relax on Sundays and not think about work. So, this means I do my best planning for my upcoming week on a Saturday.
  1. On a scrap piece of paper, write down your recurring tasks or appointments.
  2. Jot down your to do list, bullet point style.
  3. Draw a star by the most important tasks, or note any deadlines.
  4. Add your recurring appointments and tasks to your planner.
  5. Make a daily to do list while referencing your notes. Cross off the tasks as you assign them to a day so you don’t forget anything.
  6. Plug in your tasks throughout the week in the planner, with due dates or notes underneath.
  7. Optional: add a daily task tracker, upcoming bills section, and a goal section.

Not a pen to paper kind of planner? You can’t go wrong with a Google Calendar or your phone’s calendar app.

Be Strategic with Your Time

You’ve got your week planned, now how do you stay on track? I’ve got a system that keeps me accountable and helps me understand how long tasks actually take me. This is huge if you have a massive to do list or are trying to determine what to pay yourself or what charge someone for freelance work.
  1. Make a list of all the things that need to be done.
  2. Put them in order from most important to least important.
  3. Assign a realistic chunk of time to each task. Keyword is REALISTIC.
  4. Make a new list with the times beside them. Be sure to schedule in breaks (10 minutes tops) and lunch/dinner.
  5. Prepare your space for the first task. Set the timer and turn your phone and computer on Do Not Disturb. Focus on this task for the entire amount of the timer.
  6. If you finish early, make a note of the time remaining and break (if the remaining time is under 10 minutes).
  7. If you need more time, make a note of that. Add time and continue working. When the timer goes off, reassess the remaining tasks and times.

Plan for “Me Time”

If you are like me and are addicted to work or have no idea how you’re going to get through your work load and do things like sleep, you have to schedule your Me Time. But here’s the kicker- you actually have to take that Me Time. I know you’ve already scrolled back to the picture of my planner and looked for my Me Time. It is, uh, not there. Some weeks just don’t fully support it, okay! Sometimes that’s because of how you have set your schedule up (maybe I had a lazy-ish last week and now have to kick this week into high gear) and sometimes outside forces keep you from it (family emergencies, illness, etc).

Me Time doesn’t always have to be an hour long massage or a pedicure. It can be doing your laundry, cooking yourself lunch, watching a couple episodes of that show you’re currently obsessed with in the middle of the day, or taking a 3pm nap. Find what you need, schedule it when you can, and be nice to yourself.

I hope my planning tricks help you be the most productive you can be. Wanna talk planning and time management tips? Contact me anytime, it’s one of my favorite topics.

Love y’all,