JPMS National Educator.
It's a question I get asked ALL the time. "How do you do it all?" Secrets out... I don't even get close to being done what I wish I could every week, but I've learned a lot of tips and trips along the way that have helped me maximize my time. Hopefully these will help you organize your busy life a bit.
Before we get started - I'm a recovering work-a-holic. No, seriously. I used to brag about how busy I was. And it's incredibly hard to let go of when you love what you do, but being so busy that you don't have time to take care of your mind and body isn't something to be proud of. I'm here to tell you... it's okay if not every single hour of the day isn't "productive." Your mind and body need time to recover every day, so take time to yourself each and every day. You're worth it!
Ok, so first and foremost, you definitely need a schedule, every week, with designated times you're going to get specific shit done. The biggest game changer for me was waking up earlier... I know, crazy! But honestly, that's when I get the bulk of what I do behind the scenes done. I started waking up between 4:30 and 5:00 am (or earlier) instead of 7am, and it's amazing what that 8-10+ hours working ON your business(es) will do for your life. This is also the perfect time to get in a quick workout, some meditation and something healthy into your body. If you're looking for a guide to setting up your morning routine, check out this book: The Miracle Morning. This is how I started developing a morning routine that worked for me. Shifting a lot of work to the morning has allowed me to enjoy my weekends and not feel as guilty when I make time for whatever I want to do.
OK! Confession: I'm ADDICTED to planners. Like seriously, obsessed (I'm a nerd who wants all the school supplies with me 24/7). I have to physically write everything down and the planner I go back to every year is the Freedom Mastery Planner (check and make sure it's the current year). I also really liked the Corie Clark Purposeful Planner, but it's a little too bulky for everything else I need to carry in my bookbag, but it's definitely an amazing planner. It was great for a personal planner, but didn't work out as well for my business planner, and I don't want them separate. Side note, I HATE that there isn't a full page for Saturday and Sunday - they're condensed into one page, and I no likey.
*Pro tip: One of the things that I use my planner for is writing down everything that I accomplished in the time slots instead of it just being a schedule. It's a friendly reminder that from 10-12 I worked on my social media and from 2-3 I wrote out thank you cards, etc. It reminds me every week of how many things I actually got accomplished instead of focusing on what wasn't crossed out. Try it out and let me know what you think!
I also use a Digital Calendar, so I always know where I have to be. I use Fantastical 2 (yes, I paid for it... desktop and iPhone versions), but I love them both. I have everything color coded and keep a lot of details in the notes (bill due date reminders, flight deets, class deets, if I paid a deposit on that appt, location of events like showers and weddings - where they are registered, etc). It's what keeps me where I need to be and helps remind me of upcoming events if I need to buy a gift, etc. Every Sunday, I sit down and look at my calendar for the week, fill it all into my planner and then plan my week and what I'm going to get done in my office hours times. Yes, it takes a second to write down, but it helps me keep prepared for each week and lets me focus on the most important tasks at hand. Do whatever is your top priority each week first, and worry about the small shit last.
Another HUGE key in what keeps me going is what I eat every day. As much as I LOVE to eat (pizza, bread, pasta...carbs!), I definitely know how food impacts the way I feel, so I've had to train my brain to eat to fuel myself. The best advice I can give you: MEAL PREP. Not only will this save you time, it will also keep a majority of your meals healthier AND save you some money. So, once you get your schedule done for the week, know what days are your long days, your late days, the days you aren't going to be home at all, etc. Build your menu around that. I plan to cook a full meal 3-4 nights a week. That leaves enough for leftovers, eating out or heating up something quick (like a frozen pizza). My super long days behind the chair, I plan those nights for leftovers or throw something in the crockpot before I leave. After I plan 3-4 dinners each week, then I make my grocery list. If you haven't done grocery pick up, you seriously need to check it out. It is, by far, the BEST thing that has happened to my meal prep. The hour and a half I would spend in the store, I now spend prepping lunches or chopping up veggies for the week. SO much less food waste and it saves me a ton of money. Do it. ASAP. And if you have a reliable grocery delivery in your area, do that!
All in all, I definitely don't believe that the to-do list is ever done, but I definitely have learned there is a time to turn it off every day. We overestimate what we can get done in a day, but underestimate what we can get done in a year. Be proud of what you get done every day, take time for yourself, take care of yourself and have fun in everything you do!