I have been balancing several dance classes a week, school, homework, later uni, work, and social life since the age of 5. So staying organised to get everything done and still have time for myself has always been mandatory. Since entering the blogging world 2 years ago and going free-lance last year (so adding more things to my already busy schedule) staying organised has become more important than ever.
Balancing different “jobs”, different clients, co-workers, meetings, my blog, rehearsals and parties (and still get enough sleep) can quickly become hectic. In order to be able to balance everything I have developed a system to stay organised and save myself some precious time. I haven’t invented anything, maybe you use the same rules, but it might help some of you that are starting to feel underwater.
1. Plan in advance
If you are afraid of forgetting something, or need to get specific things done next week, plan ahead. Plan you week out each Sunday, starting by the things you cannot avoid like appointments or work meetings, and work around that. From the most important tasks to the least important. When I say “important”, I mean what is important for you. For instance for me, my dance classes and rehearsals I might have are “important” so I will work my schedule around that. If going to see a specific film with friends is what’s important for you this week, work around that. I’m of those who believe personal life and hobbies should come first. Even if that means waking up at 5am the next morning in order to get work done to then be able to finish at 4 or 5pm.
Nowadays we can schedule nearly everything. Working in marketing and communication part of my job is to manage several social media accounts for different clients and sometimes blogs too, as well as my own. If I had to post everything manually (Facebook, twitter, Instagram and blogposts) I wouldn’t have time for anything else. So schedule anything you can using Hootsuite or Buffer for example, in order to not forget anything and save time. I also like to schedule things on my phone’s calendar. This way I get notifications when I need to do something specific.
3. Calendars & Excel sheets are your best friends
If you are working with other people on different projects you will know that communication can become a huge time waster… Sharing your schedule on an excel sheet on Google Drive or a shared calendar, that everyone you work with can have access to, will save you a lot of time. People can easily see when you are available or when you both have a meeting planned.
4. Colour code
Excel is great because it allows you to use colours. Using colours will allow you to colour-code your tasks. For instance you could have a colour for each of your clients, a colour for each type of task or each subject you are studying. This way you can easily see when everything is planned for, and if you need to add tasks during the week you can group similar tasks easily. For instance if I need to plan more Facebook posts for a client, I will group that task with a similar task I need to do for another client.
5. Take your time
One of the advantages of planning is that you know exactly what you need to do each day. With time, how long you will need to complete each task. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about the other tasks on your “to-do list”. You know everything will get done, because you have planned everything.
6. Don’t be to optimistic
At the beginning this can be quite hard. We sometimes feel that we have so many things to do, and want to do everything. So we plan to many things for the same week. It’s best to plan less things, be more realistic, and add things as you go along. If you have some spare time, get ahead of your schedule. However if you don’t, you will have very little left on your list. Which is best than a long list, trust me!
7. Break up the work
Sometimes, some tasks feel huge and we just don’t want to get started with them. For instance, for one of my clients I need to think out of the box and find ideas for a field I am new to. When I know I have to plan new posts I sometimes lack motivations. So I break up the work in several smaller tasks. I start with looking for new ideas, then I find the photos and at last I write the posts. Not doing these 3 tasks the same hour, or day helps me get the job done.
8. Don’t multi task
If you are easily distracted avoid multitasking. When you have decided to complete a certain task, finish it before moving on to another one. If you get an idea, write it down for later, don’t try and complete several tasks at the same time. Don’t hop from one to another. In the end you will just end up wasting time.
9. Do not put things off
When you have a lot to do, the worst thing you can do is put things off. If you have revision to do, or a paper the hand in, plan to do it as soon as possible. In this case breaking up your work load might be the best thing to do. So plan several moments to work on these tasks during the week. If important things come along during the week, make space for them. Cancel or shift less important things you had planned.
You probably have guessed that the key to staying organised, is staying focused. By staying focused on what you need to do and knowing when you need to do everything you will keep a clear mind. You will also feel more in control. This will help you get everything done in time and also stay motivated. But I have another blog post coming up on how to stay motivated, so more on that coming soon!
What do you do to stay organised ? What tip would you give to someone that wants to be more organised ?
See you soon, love