It’s a busy old world and life can get extremely busy. Whilst I am quite ambitious with my career goals, there is one thing that has remained consistent since I started working twenty years ago and that’s wherever possible, I will always try to remember that we should be working to live, not living to work.
Life is very precious and more often than not, it’s easy to get swept up into the hectic day to day chores and tasks. The same goes with work. We are all guilty of taking on more than we perhaps should but it’s important to find the balance and to not let it take over and eat away at the time that’s much needed for yourself and your loved ones.
This can sometimes be easier said than done. I for one know that from first-hand experience. Last year, I spent a lot of time chasing my tail with my workload and found myself staying up until the small hours trying to get as much done as possible. In the end, I may have got work done, but I was unhappy and I was always tired. In turn that made me grumpy and not always particularly nice to be around. So I had to do something about it.
I knew I needed to get organised. I knew I needed to get some kind of consistent schedule in place. One that would work for me, week in and week out.
I’ve always loved my diaries and stationary and so I took the opportunity to find a planner that I knew would work for me. I opted for a weekly planner that had a to-do list on the same page. This way I would have an ‘at a glance’ view of what work I had coming up and of course, what deadlines too. The ‘to-do list’ page opposite is a list of the things I needed to do in that week. There is no satisfaction quite like striking through something on your list when you’ve completed a task, and to see the list grow smaller each day.
In addition to this, I decided to use the calendar on my phone to book out the times I was going to be working. I knew I wanted to keep it to during the week as much as possible. My husband regularly goes to the gym in the evenings so this is the perfect time for me. I decided I was going to keep Monday through to Thursdays free for work which left me Friday, Saturday and Sunday free to myself and for family time. It started to feel like it could really work.
So then I needed to work out what needed doing on which night. This was the easy part. I would choose specific tasks for specific nights, in the order that they needed to be done. For example, on a Monday night, I will write Wednesday’s blog post. On a Tuesday I will write Thursday’s and so on and so forth. On a Thursday night, I write the following Monday’s blog post and I head into the weekend knowing that everything is covered for the start of the week. Other blog maintenance is done after the blogs are written but the important thing is, it’s all in the calendar so I know exactly what I’m doing. This has now become my routine. I know exactly what I need to do on which night. Of course, I can shift things around if I need to. But the beauty of using the calendar is that I can drag and drop ‘appointments’ and can see at a glance what time I have.
So far, this works brilliantly for me. I am not one of those bloggers that have posts written weeks and months in advance. Yes, I have ideas lined up and I will pencil them in my planner so I won’t forget them and can publish them at the most suitable time. But the majority of my work is written a couple of days prior to publication and scheduled. I just find I manage my schedule so much easier this way.
By managing my schedule in this way, I don’t get hung up on a never-ending list of things to do. If need be I will add them onto next week’s to-do list. If I don’t I would burrow through the list without looking at the clock and before I know it I will have completely lost my evening. We all need a bit of downtime. Remember we should be working to live, not living to work.
The other important thing to remember here is to know your limits. Don’t take on too much. Don’t agree to unrealistic deadlines. Don’t let it take over. Choose your schedule and stick to it. Fill it with tasks that you know are achievable. You will be your most productive when you are feeling relaxed. I know I am.
We only get one chance on this planet. Our children are only little once. I don’t want my little one to look back and remember me as the Mum that was always sat behind her laptop tapping away instead of playing catch or reading a book with him. This was my main motivation for creating my schedule. I want him to see a Mum that knows her priorities. And yes, whilst money helps with living, it’s not the be all and end all. There’s no point in having the money if you haven’t got the memories to look back on.
I hope this has given you some food for thought and maybe even some ideas to assist with your own schedule. If you’re struggling, just try and remember my motivation. We’re working to live, not living to work. I hope it helps you how it helps me.
How do you organise your time? Perhaps you have some ideas to add? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
Written in collaboration