Thursday, August 15, 2013

Time Management! How I Calm the Chaos.

**Originally posted August 13, 2013**

Let's talk about time management!  I'm an organizational freakshow (as recognized by others as well as myself).  I can't imagine not being this way - all the time that would be wasted!  Gah!  

Anyway, being anally organized and a diligent multi-tasker has helped me accomplish a multitude of things in a short span of time.  I refer to life in general as well as my day-to-day schedule.  And it has been absolutely vital in getting a business off the ground!  

So I thought I might share a few of the basic things that help me maximize the hours in the day and allow me to go to bed feeling like I made significant progress.

1.  Get Enough Sleep!  
This may sound strange to list first, but it is all-important.  If you are sleep deprived, your productivity suffers, your creativity suffers, it all suffers.

Plus it is generally unhealthy and adds to stress, which leads to a billion other health issues.  Some people require less than others.  Some require more.  Mine is 8-9.  Some people run off of 5-6.  I did that in college.  No more. So figure out what your sleep requirement is (when you tend to wake up naturally) and get it.

Your body and mind will thank you.

2.  Lists Are Your Friend!
If you don't like lists, think they are nerdy or for forgetful people only...please revisit the idea.  You can make lists for everything.  Long-term goals, short-term goals, running ideas, the sequence of events that need to happen before said goal can be reached, what you need to accomplish tomorrow or this week, what can wait until next month, etc.  The list goes on!  

It is a gratifying feeling to check things off your list.  It is solid, tangible proof that you are making progress and getting that much closer to your goal.  Proof that you are getting shit done.

3.  (Smart) Multitask
What I mean by 'smart' multitasking is, don't do as much crap as possible at the same time just because you can, i.e. reading/applying makeup/shaving your legs while driving.  

Pair up the things that make sense together in order to maximize your time.

For example:
I will save things that I need to listen to (seminars, panel discussions, audio workshops, etc.) for when I am working on something that requires my visual attention but not my full concentration (ironing, gessoing canvas, hemming, big color washes, doing dishes, etc.).  

I save things that I need to watch (tutorials, presentations, etc.) for when I am sitting down eating. 

I keep multiple projects going at once, and work on them in stages.  This way I can always be moving forward with one of them, while the others are drying or setting or doing whatever it is they need to be doing.  

It can sound maddening, but it keeps everything flowing throughout the day and I don't feel like my time is being wasted by menial tasks (like dishes).

4.  Prioritize.
Here I don't mean just in order of deadline.  That is obvious.  I'm talking about life in general.  That is why I mentioned sleep first.  Your health is of utmost importance.  

If you are not taking care of yourself, you will not be living to your fullest potential, nor will you be creating to your fullest potential.  Or doing anything to your fullest potential.  

So put the best food possible in your body, move and strengthen that body, and sufficiently rest that body.  Easy peasy.

Now that you are taken care of, make sure those around you are taken care of as well.  

For me, this means dividing my daily tasks into "In Studio" and "Out of Studio" tasks.  

While my hubby is at work, I do all of my "In Studio" tasks.  Painting, packaging, sewing, constructing, rinsing, setting... all things production-related.  

Once my hubby gets home and we have cooked and eaten a tasty dinner together, I plop down next to him on the couch and set to work on all my "Out of Studio" tasks.  Writing, emailing, responding, blogging, marketing, promoting, posting, researching, photo editing...all things promotion and development-related.  

I also make sure to stop and take a nice cuddle break with my furry four-legged babies a couple times throughout the day. Very important :) 

So here's what a typical day of mine looks like:

8:00-8:30 - Out of bed
Quick scan of email to check for anything urgent or new orders while eating fruit or drinking a smoothie.
Workout. Shower. Eat again.

In Studio by 9:30-9:45, snack on nuts, jerky or fruit throughout.
Work til hubby gets home for lunch at 11:30, break for lunch.

12:30 - Back in studio, snack at about 2:30 or 3:00, back in studio.

4:30-5:00 - Hubby home, prep for dinner, eat.

5:30-6:00 - Begin "Out of Studio" tasks, work until 10:00-11:00 pm, then to bed.


Weekends are a bit more lax of course, and other tasks and situations are inserted as necessary and desired.  

If its sunny out, I will frolic in it.  

If a friend calls, I will stop and reconnect.  

If someone stops by, I have a visit over tea.  

If my dog eats too much grass and barfs on the floor, I stop and clean it up.

And so on.  

Obviously, this schedule will not suit everyone.  But it all comes back to the time management.  You are in control of your time, so make the most of it.  

If you have a dream and a set of goals, you are the only person that can get you there.  

Take care of yourself, organize your thoughts and goals, multitask well and prioritize in all areas of your life.  

Whatever you are hoping to achieve, it is in your power to make it happen. 

What are your best time management tips? Tell me in the comments below!