My best friend text me today and asked me the age old question…”How do you do everything that you do?” And the question literally brought me to tears. I’m going through a season right now, where I fear I’m not doing it all very well. It’s a season of one step forward and two steps back and it’s uncomfortable.
When I think about HOW I do everything that I do, I don’t have an answer. I just do. In my twenties, I got a Master’s Degree, ran half marathons, and coached competitive volleyball….and worked full-time (all at one time). Which makes this season in life very, very hard. But I’m adjusting and learning to give myself grace.
I’ve always been one to put it all on my plate at one time. I like to joke that I like to do as much life change as possible as once. Like the time I bought a house on maternity leave and moved about 4 weeks after starting a new job (with an infant).
It’s just what I do.
I go and I do.
One skill that I think helps with my ability to do a lot of things at one time is Time Management. I’ve always found myself to be more efficient at work than others. Not on purpose, I just move fast and with intention.
I think the most important part of time management is having a plan. What do you need to get done? What do you want to get done? And how do those two things match up?
Here’s the deal…we all have to-do lists miles and miles long. You’re crazy to think you’re going to get it all done each day. In fact, I’m probably a little burned out right now because I always try to get it all done in one day.
You need to prioritize your to-do list. Prioritize your tasks. Start with the WORST one first. Yep, do the thing you want to do the least, first. Get it over with. Cross it off the list, and move on.
Be specific with your list. January Social Media is not a task – it’s a header. Within that header, you need to write the social, design the social, schedule the social, etc. Yes, this will make the list longer. BUT – it will also help you cross things off – which I know you all find as satisfying as I do.
Now, you have a very specific to-do list. The next step is to go onto your calendar and schedule time to get things done. Block out time for checking email. Block out time for sales activities. Block out time to work on writing your January social media content.
Then, get to work. Stick as close to your schedule as you can. You will finish some tasks faster than you thought and others will take longer. It’s a balance of give and take.
You often hear people recommend you only check your email a few times a day and social media, your phone, etc. I’ve never mastered that. If you can, I’m sure it’s a great way to stay focused on your tasks.
Set appointments with yourself for the important stuff. There should be time for sales activities on your calendar every single day. Don’t break that appointment. Block of time for client meetings.
The more calendar blocking you can do – the better. Not to make your schedule totally rigid and inflexible, but to give you direction everyday. I firmly believe that an empty calendar is the kiss of death for a productive day.
The Personal Stuff
How do you manage your personal life around your business? Again, I haven’t quite mastered this one, but I try. My husband and I share a Google calendar. Let’s be honest, I fill out the calendar and on occasion my husband remembers to look at it.
I also keep a dry erase calendar in our laundry room. This tracks before/after work stuff, kids stuff, social stuff, holidays, etc. This allows me to have a quick overview of the month.
I put everything on my Google calendar. Reminders. Doctor’s appointments. Business appointments. This way I have a specific place to go for EVERYTHING. Sometimes it makes my calendar really overwhelming to look at. But it’s infrequent that I miss or forget something.
I schedule as far out as possible. If I know it’s happening, I put it on the calendar. I admit, this can sometimes make me a stick in the mud and it’s hard to be spontaneous, but it’s all I can do to fit it all in some days. We do what we can with what we have.
I’ve embraced Alexa and Google to set reminders. I likely set between 2-10 reminders each day. From things like “don’t forget food for the office potluck” to “pay water bill” – I set reminders. I’ve learned at this stage in my life that I will NOT remember anything. So I set reminders.
Teamwork makes the dream work. I’m 100% serious when I say I couldn’t get done what I get done in a day, week, or month without support. My husband is amazing. He’s my exact opposite, he rolls with the punches, and he flys by the seat of his pants. It’s what gives me the ability to do it all, because he does so much at home and literally DOESN’T care when I pivot quickly. It’s weird. And amazing.
We’re fortunate to live near family. For those of you raising children without family nearby, I salute you and pray for you. I cannot imagine. We have a really big family, many of which live within 10 minutes. That’s really, really helpful.
What’s the secret?
There is no secret. Some days I get it all done. Most days I don’t. Tomorrow is a new day. I’ve learned, over the years, to not take myself so seriously. I had an amazing boss who often used to say “We’re not saving lives here, Ryann” and it stuck with me. While getting it all done is important. My job is important. My business is important. My family is MOST important. I do what I can with what I have and remember that I don’t save life. I believe I make them better, but that can wait for tomorrow if needed.
I don’t mean to sound flippant. This is YEARS in the making. The ability to leave something undone. The ability to “turn it off” and enjoy time with my family. It’s learned. And practiced. And some days I fail.
Like today, when I gave myself about 20 minutes to write this blog post.
Give yourself grace. Take a deep breath. And remember that this a season, and it will pass. You’re doing a great job!