Time management. It is something that we all need and can improve on. Whether you are a student, working professional or freelancer, it is a topic that we all can relate to. I have come up with a list of universal tips and tricks to help you tackle your time management skills, no matter what category you fall into.
You might be asking yourself what made me want to write about this...
Well, to put it simply, I think that it has become one of my strongest suits. I have never been a person that likes to put all my eggs in one basket. Therefore, I am constantly juggling many of my passions to avoid the mundane routine of the work week. This is because I have ALWAYS wanted to be my own boss and have total control of my time. I will fully admit, I do not take instruction well from others and like to be the one in charge! So, from the time I started PT school, I have been taking steps to make that happen. At times, this has made me extremely busy and scatter-brained. Take, for instance, my time spent in PT school. I held 3 jobs on top of my studies at one point. Was I always good at managing my time efficiently while doing this? Absolutely not! Yet, I have learned a lot from each of my experiences and am constantly evolving in this area.
Currently, I still work multiple jobs. On top of the responsibilities required for keeping my business up and running, I am an adjunct professor at a local university and a home health Physical Therapist.
If you haven't gotten the idea yet, I like to keep busy ;-) I really do love it and would never give up having the freedom to make my own schedule and spread my time between different activities. But even for me, reading the list of things I am involved in can feel daunting at times. At this point in my life I am by far the busiest I have ever been, yet have found a better work-life balance than ever before. So how do I make it work? Keep reading...
If you have the passion to start something of your own, I promise you can do it! BUT it is not always about just having the passion for it. It takes a lot of hard work and motivation to keep it going. In order to make it work you have to hone in on your time management skills so you don't burn out. Better time management is something that we all strive to achieve, so here are a few tactics to try putting into practice:
Make your bed every morning. I am totally not taking credit for this one, I am borrowing it from a podcast I listened to a few months back on Healthy, Wealthy, Smart by Karen Litzy. (Side note- if you are a PT or wellness professional I highly suggest subscribing to her podcast!!). In this podcast, she suggested making your bed first thing when you wake up in the morning so you can feel as though one thing has already been accomplished. I can honestly say, ever since I started doing this a few months ago it has totally changed my morning routine for the better. I am up and motivated to get things done right off the bat!
Get a good planner (and one that you will actually enjoy using). I am 100% addicted to my planner. It pretty much goes everywhere with me and holds all my darkest secrets. I prefer a paper planner but if electronic works for you, go for it! Choose what you will use!
**Shoutout to my passionplanner- Without you I would be nothing**
Schedule everything, even if it seems insignificant. On any given day, you will see my planner filled with everything from what time I get up, when laundry will get done, gym time and any other little To Do's that need to get done for the day/week/month. I can promise you, if it is not written down in my planner it will likely not get done.
It may seem crazy, but trust me, it is all part of learning to better manage your time. It would be very easy, especially for those of you who make your own schedule, to sit down on the couch and watch Netflix some days. However, if you see your schedule written out in from of you it makes you more accountable for getting that stuff done.
Along with this idea, plan as much as you can ahead of time (meals, laundry days, etc...) One example is that I write my grocery list over the weekend and know exactly what I need to get through the entire week (Just ask Pat what happens if I walk into a store without a list-- it can get ugly real fast). Little changes in your life like this one mean that you don't need to take 3 more trips to the store throughout the week, which automatically gives you bonus free time.
Write EVERYTHING down. When you are trying to juggle many activities at once this is an absolute. Like I mentioned, I am a scatter brain so I would forget everything if I didn't write it down. I go no where without my planner and write things down immediately as I think of them, this way nothing gets left out. It is in our nature to get mad at ourselves if we forget something important, so set yourself up for success here!
To Do Lists. This goes along with the previous idea, but the amount of satisfaction I get from crossing things off of my To Do list is probably abnormal. When you visually see a long list of things that must get done, it can become overwhelming and even make you feel less motivated. However, once you start crossing things off that list it empowers you and makes you immediately feel successful. I find that once I get in this mode, my productivity level goes through the roof.
When writing your To Do list, Schedule in order of importance. This may seem like it is a given, but we all tend to do the things that we want to do first, so the things that we need to do get pushed till the last minute. This creates unnecessary stress in our lives and can be completely avoided by a simple change in how we go through our day. I think you will find that by doing this, you will have much more time to spend on your passions instead of playing catch up.
Set ground rules for yourself. I have the ability to set my own schedule which means 2 things: it's really easy to do too much and really easy to do nothing at all. So how to I keep from falling into one of these two pitfalls? I developed a set of ground rules for myself to keep me in line. I didn't figure this part out right away but learned quickly after I had patients calling me late at night, asking me to come by on the weekends and drive to areas that I knew were way to far away for me. I had to get off the crazy train so I wrote down my ground rules. They now include: cell phone goes on Do Not Disturb from 7pm-8am, I do not work weekends and I keep to a certain driving distance to see patients. It may seem harsh to do this, especially while I am trying to grow a business, but we are all human and need to have some sort of boundaries so we stay in control of our own lives. So think of a reasonable set of rules that may apply to whatever it is you are trying to accomplish, write them down and stick to them. It is ok to say no every once and a while :-)
Stop trying to multi-task. When your schedule says it is time to work on a certain project, completely devote your time to getting that one thing done. I used to pride myself on my ability to do 50 things at the same time, until I realized I wasn't getting anything done at all (or it was just taking twice as long). This day in age, it is so easy to be working on the computer, checking emails on your phone, be having a conversation on the other phone, and whatever else might be thrown at you. This means you are giving a little attention to a lot of things at once. Well, its time to change your thinking! Start giving a lot of attention to one thing at a time. This will make you highly productive at getting that task done so you can move on to the next.
Save time for the things you are passionate about. I cannot stress this one enough! Stay in control of your own life-- your time is your time! I totally sympathize with you that this can be difficult to do and at times feel down right impossible. It took me a long time to get here, however, once you figure this out I promise it will change everything! The easiest way to start is simply scheduling in time for your passions. You have to find joy in what you do to take the stress away. Whether it be a yoga class, a side hustle or keeping a blog. If it is important to you, find a way to make it happen! It will make your life feel much more fulfilled so that you are ready and willing to take charge of the day and get work done!
I hope these tips have been helpful. As with anything, you may need to make some modifications to make this fit into your own life, but hopefully it's a good start for you! As a side note, I have already found that as I was writing this post, I was side tracking into how to create a work-life balance. So check back- I am going to write a separate blog post on that one!
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I prefer the full sized Passion Planner and currently am rocking the rose gold color. I also use the eco pack, so I can reuse the cover and switch out the inserts each year.
These sharpie pens are also amazing. They write really smooth and do not bleed at all through the pages.
The soft journals that I use for keeping my To Do lists and other notes are no longer sold, but these are similar to the ones that I have right now.