I know a lot of people struggle with time management, and let’s be real, I’m no different. I struggle with keeping my own schedule, and what I want to do that day, nearly every day. That’s part of my “I know this will help me, in what I want to do long term” and my “I don’t wanna, I’m spoiled” brains fighting. If I get a shower, it’s an accomplishment I can cross off my to do list, if we’re being realistic. I do shower regularly, but it’s the incentive to cross something off my ro-do list that makes me add it to my list.
So how do I get anything done? I have no idea, really. Other than writing down a to-do list, and aiming for 75%-80% of it completed, I don’t know what else to say.
Now, let’s grab some wine and settle into this post! I have my glass of Cabernet Savignon, what are you drinking as you read this? Comment and share your time schedule!
Through the past year, I’ve learned to be kinder to myself when I don’t meet 100% of what I want to do each day. That’s something I suggest to you to try: be easier on yourself.
Write down everything you need to do each month on a calendar of some sort, where it’s visible every day. It can be on your fridge, by your front door, on your closet door, whatever. If you have self projects (like me writing for this blog), write it down as well. Write in when you want to do what, even if it’s simple.
On that same note, make everything as simple as possible. Treat yourself like a 5 year old. Seriously. Simplicity is key. All of the time.
From there, take another calendar, and plan out meals. Put it somewhere in your kitchen. It doesn’t have to be for the entire month. It can just be for the pay period. That’s the easiest way to save time and money on what you’re going to cook and eat.
After you do that, make your list, and plan out your shopping trip(s) to the store(s) you’ll have to go to for food. Make it the same day of the week, so it becomes a mindless task. I also advise putting the list on your phone, and listening to music while you shop. Well, unless you are shopping with a spouse or kid(s). I highly advise against that, as they distract you.
Going back to some basic strategies, the night before, make a to do list of what you need to do, including shower (showering is a big thing, but things like brushing teeth don’t have to be written down). This can be on your phone or pen and paper. As long as you can remember to cross things off as you do them, and you like the method, go right on ahead! Don’t feel afraid to play around for a few months on what you like and don’t like.
Now, since you have some very basic layouts of what I do and use, I should show you what I really do and use.
For my to-do list, I write it down each day, on a little sticky note. I like the cute sticky note pads, and I leave it on the ream of sticky notes, until I’m done for that day, so I can cross things off easier and not necessarily need a hard surface.
I sometimes make deadlines for myself, especially for things I want to do around or right before bedtime, like yoga or showering. Everything else that doesn’t have a time on it, must come before bedtime, and if I don’t get to it, it gets moved to the next day.
On my regular calendar, I use a whiteboard, and look at my Artist of Life Workbook, and see what goals I have in place and mind, for that month. That’s where I draw part of my to-do list from. I also draw from the food calendar, to see how long cooking will take that day, and what I can do during cooking, off of my to-do list, so I can kill two birds with one stone, in means of time.
Another thing, as a good idea, is if you’ve upgraded a laptop, computer, or tablet, is to keep your old one if you can (if it still works, holds a charge, can still do some basics in terms of what you need to do). This will help you in times of “need”, when your “new” device needs a charge, but you need to do things.
For instance, as I’m crafting this blog post, I had intentions of using my new laptop that I was spoiledly gifted on black Friday, but it needed charged. It’s better to leave a device sit while it’s charging, especially if you drained all of its battery, and not use it. So I turned to the old chromebook that was giving me a headache, to kill it, so I could charge it!
With not having my laptop wired up with its charger, I can also move around better, so if I wanted to go make something, I could take the chromebook that I’m using, and place it out in the kitchen with me, instead of having to go back and forth, or leave what I was working on, for after I ate.
A good time management hack, is if you know you have some short errands to conquer, do it during your lunch break during work. I wish I could do this, as I work nights, but this is so helpful. If you need a manicure, it takes about an hour, and find a place close by that you like, and look fab when you come back. Even a hair appointment works!
Do you have to buy or mail a holiday card or birthday gift? Do it during your lunch hour! Is there a dreaded family member you should call, but takes 4 hours for you to hang up normally? Call them during your lunch, and when you have to go back to work, say so, and it’s easier to leave them.
Even going out and grabbing more foundation, or a new blouse when you got a coffee stain on one saves you time!
Another possible lunch hour hack, is see if you can catch up with a friend or two for lunch, if you can never find time to see them. Try a new restaurant even!
Currently, I work in retail, and the easiest thing for me is to shop for food after work. I know growing up, my mom would grab her check, pick me up from my grandparents’ house, or our house, and we’d go deposit her check into the bank, we’d grab food, then grocery shop. If she had errands close to any of those stops, we’d go there too. On the weeks she didn’t get paid, we’d go grocery shopping on Saturdays usually, and have an early lunch at somewhere cheap like Taco Bell.
When I moved to my dad’s when I was 16, it was so different, and there wasn’t a set day of the week when we’d shop. I quickly came to terms that I liked predictability, even if it’s something as silly as grocery shopping.
Since I’ve started working in retail (When I was 18), I’ve fluctuated on what works, because at the start, my schedule was always changing. Now that my schedule has been set (for now…), I have a schedule again, of grocery shopping. The “out to eat” days have changed from when I was younger, to days I do laundry, as I have to go out for that, and not so much for groceries.
When you have a dull day of to-do’s, I suggest adding something fun to it, or something you don’t get to do often, to make it less dull. Similar to the “eating out” of lunch with friends, or before shopping for food, or laundry, make sure it’s not so boring.
When it’s all said and done, make sure to treat yourself a little bit when you complete your to-do list! And appreciate yourself when you don’t make it to everything. We’re not meant to do everything.
Always keep in mind as well, from one of my favorite mentors, Aileen Xu- Done is better than perfect. So don’t strive for perfection, strive for done, and then go back and perfect it!
Do you have any tips on how you structure your day? Leave a comment, with what you’re drinking as well (even if it’s water or non-alcoholic).