This is my first blog post of 2014, and in typical Raynetta fashion, I refuse to conform! Everyone starts the year off with resolutions to which they are dedicated for merely a few weeks or months. And by the spring, no one remembers what they set out to do, much less whether or not they actually achieved said goals. This feels counterproductive to me. It is also pretty cliche to tell myself I will set goals I can actually achieve because this feels limiting and doesn’t push my compulsive perfectionism to its brink (lol). So instead, I’ve determined that this year, I will not make resolutions, but simply dedicate myself to being more functional in one specific area: my schedule.
I wrote a previous blog about scheduling that I found to be fantastically beneficial. I had scheduled every required activity in my life, both personal and professional, to accommodate everything and everyone. And for the most part, it worked relatively well…until I stopped doing it. You see, I forgot to schedule time to schedule my time! And before I knew it, I was winging my days again, wondering when I would ever find the time to do everything I needed to do. And last year, my priorities swelled. I added so many life changes–a new daytime career filled with busy little toddlers, renewed acquaintances, ministry obligations, a fiance and planning a wedding, and not to mention a moody adolescent middle-schooler. I looked at my life and wondered why I felt I had accomplished nothing all day. And then, during a productivity seminar, I was reminded how crucial (and advantageous) scheduling had become to my life.
You can always check out that other scheduling blog, but here’s a few other things I learned this year about managing my time:
1. Maintain your schedule. At the end of my week, somewhere between Friday and Saturday, I added time to my schedule to plan the next week’s time. I schedule everything from phone calls to friends and family to writing and brainstorming time on my current work-in-progress.
2. Be flexible. I’m adjusting to the idea that things come up–like random “crisis” texts from your girlfriends that have to be addressed now, and the sudden realization that you don’t have all the ingredients for tonight’s dinner and now you have to go to the store which totally extends the time allotted for cooking and eating. Roll with the punches. It always works out.
3. Prioritize. I’ve color coded the items on my schedule. Pink is for mandatory appointments or responsibilities that can’t be changed or rescheduled: like my daytime work hours and my continuing education classes. Blue is for appointments and responsibilities that can be rescheduled but must get done at some point that day or week, like my writing and studying time. Yellow is for appointments that can be rescheduled or removed altogether if necessary, like a club meeting or friendly phone call. Green is my free time, and I try to give myself at least an hour of it every day.
4. Don’t forget the “menial” tasks. Often we forget to account for little things like commutes, meal times, adequate sleep and personal hygiene in our schedules. If you’re running around the whole day, it’s easy to forget to eat! Or you find yourself off schedule trying to fit a shower in when you planned to study.
5. You have more time than you think. You will quickly realize when you sit down to do this that there is more unaccounted time in your schedule than you may believe. Once you’re faced with filling your entire day span from the time you wake up until your anticipated bedtime, you’ll find that it really is hard to be uber productive every moment of your 15-18 hour day. The space you don’t fill? Consider it free time and bask in the opportunity to do whatever you like.
Here’s to being more productive and efficient in 2014! Cheers to you, and rest assured: this is totally not a resolution 🙂