Very often I’m asked how I manage to do so many things. How do I have time for two blogs, a full time job, launching a business, keeping a house without help (the husband helps a little) and philanthropy work. Nope, I’m not super human, nor am I a robot. The way I manage all these things in my life is by staying organized and on task. Yes, I still, sometimes, fall off the wagon and procrastinate. I AM HUMAN. We all need to take time to play and forget the to do list sometimes. The difference is that I make sure I get back on track as soon as possible.
I use a few apps to help me stay focused. All the apps I use sync across all my devices, my MacBook, my iPad and my iPhone. Although I am fully integrated in the Apple ecosystem you don’t have to be.
An idea pops up when you least expect it. When that happens I don’t always have the time to look for a pen and paper or open my phone to the right application or location where I can record the idea. I’m not sure you’re like me, but if I don’t record the idea as soon as it pops up in my brain I will lose it forever. Yep, even if I tell myself that I am going to remember it. I’ve used every trick in the book to try to remember it and it never works. So, I now record my thoughts and when I can I listen to them again and if I still think they are good ideas I transfer them to my idea incubator where other ideas are sitting waiting for the right time to make their appearance.
Recently I have been testing Google Calendar. I’ve been using iCal since the iPhone first came out and I like it but I’m bored with it. Google Calendar is not much different but it is a little prettier. I think Apple is slacking off on some of their applications.
I use my calendar as an event reminder…. dentist and doctors’ appointments, birthdays, anniversaries, dinners out…. you know the normal stuff. I tried calendar blocking but I’m not big on that. I do it for work where I block a few hours each day for uninterrupted work. But my personal calendar I don’t feel the need to do it and it doesn’t work for me in the same way. For those of you who don’t know what calendar blocking is; it’s when you block time to do planned things. So if you have to write a blog post, you block a few hours that week when you are going to just write your blog post…. if you have to prepare for a presentation, you block your calendar that week to prepare for the presentation. It’s a great idea but for the work that I do in my personal life even my business (blogs and the launch of the new business) I usually just plan to do the task on a day and fit it in as I go along. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I move it to another day.
This is the meat and bones of my planning. I plan everything in Notion. I’ve been using Notion on and off for the past few years. Two months ago I went all in. I use Notion now to store all my thoughts, articles I want to read later, yearly goals, monthly goals and projects, thoughts and ideas, my book lists, my articles, movies to watch and music to listen to.
When planning I use notion to break down my goals into projects and then my projects into actionable tasks. The actionable tasks become my daily to do’s (sort of). One of the things that I still have not figured out how to do in Notion is to schedule recurring tasks. You know those tasks you do every couple of days or every couple of weeks. So in a way I’m still using Apple Reminders to help me with those.
I also use Notion to help with my bills. I created a database to track all the household bills and that database roles up to my daily tasks so when there’s a bill due it shows up on my daily page. I will try to figure out how to do a video about my Notion set up and as soon as I can figure out how to do get it done right I will post it. I think it will make more sense if I do it that way.
All of this planning can be done with a pen and paper. The trick is to make sure you review each of the steps on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Don’t let one thing fall through the cracks or you will have to pick up the pieces and it can be so discouraging that you wind up letting it all fall apart. I set up meetings with myself to review my week every Sunday and get ready for the next week. At the end of the month I have a meeting with myself again to review my month.
Being methodical about my planning helps me make sure I stay on track. Sure sometimes I slack off…. how many times have I promised to be more consistent with my writing here on the blog only to fail? More times than I care to remember. And, as I mentioned above, every time I come back it’s a struggle to get the ball rolling and get into a routine.
Let me know how you keep yourself organized and on task. Do you use a pen and paper? Do you use an app or many apps? Let’s start a conversation below in the comments.
Thanks and I’ll see you in my next post.