Over the past year, I have consistently felt overwhelmed by the amount of things I needed to tackle in a day. It has been as though each day suspiciously gets 5 minutes shorter, and I am unable to finish my perpetual to-do list.
This is no way to live.
So I am trying to identify some ways to better manage my time—a skill that I feel like I once had, but has now escaped me as my plate has become more full. This is not a guide on how to do it right, but rather, a look into my attempts at course correcting.
Challenge #1: I feel like I am constantly working, but don’t see the fruits of that labor.
Step one—stop constantly working. I am trying to get better at setting time blocks for myself. A few hours in the morning for sales, a midday trip to the gym, and an afternoon free to get things done in other categories… preparing for workshops, updating our website, running payroll and dealing with tax filing. 🙄
My goal for now is no work after 9 PM. Since this is typically around when we eat dinner at my house, it means that I can turn off work mode and just relax the rest of the evening, get plenty of sleep, and wake up ready to do it all again! And hopefully, if I have stuck to my schedule during the day, everything will be checked off my list. Oh, and I want to get more massages—self-care is key.
Challenge #2: I am overcommitting myself.
A Bit of Backstory:
I tend to take on a lot. My Mom recently told me that when she encouraged me and my siblings to choose one activity to focus on as children, I had a very hard time selecting just one. This is why I played softball, the guitar, took dance classes, and attempted the swim team (but only until I realized you had to wake up super early and get in a cold pool.) I get excited about a lot of things, so I sign on for a lot of things—this goes beyond work and into my adult-life extracurriculars as well.
Be more realistic. At the beginning of each week, Rachel and I look at our task lists for the week and assess if we can get them done. For some reason, I always say yes, even if the number of hours exceeds those of any person’s capacity. There’s a big difference between what can be done, and what I want to get done—and I need to start identifying that. I also know that things will continue to be added to that list—a new proposal, a meeting I’ve been trying to schedule, an invitation to happy hour—and I need to leave room for those things.
I also need to adjust for when I am taking “time off” out of the regularly scheduled week. If I have a friend coming to visit on Friday, I am going to spend the day with her, not cooped up working. So I need to adjust expectations at the beginning of the week so I don’t bum myself out at the end.
Challenge #3: Something that looks like a manageable week somehow always ends up in chaos.
Be as forgiving to myself as I would someone else. Things are going to come up, and that is why we prioritize. If I can get the critical things done, it isn’t the end of the world if I don’t check off every second and third priority item on my list. Sometimes your car refuses to start (without warning) in the middle of the day, and you spend the afternoon with a tow truck driver named Paul, rather than working on your blog post. But if it goes up on Friday instead of Wednesday, is that the end of the world? I say no, but tell me if you disagree!
So, off I go to put these things into practice. I know they seem easy, but they are a challenge for me every day. Wish me luck and stay tuned!
Also, if you’re wondering what I could possibly be doing all the time, reach out, and I’ll tell you all about it!