In a world that has been flipped upside down and gone topsy turvy, you may find yourself having trouble knowing how to keep moving forward. Many of us have lost track of time, days, weeks, and months. Probably one of the good things about this year is how fast it seems to be going as we’ve landed in the final three month stretch.
The question is how when everything seems so out of balance do you continue to thrive and get it all done? Many of us have adapted to working from home, learning new technology, and creating work space in what was once your retreat from the daily grind. And then, there are those of you that are sharing that space, which has now become a school as well as office and home.
I feel your pain. I remember when I first adjusted to working from home. It was well before our current crisis. When I first went to a home office life, I thought it would be such a breeze, but managing 3 kids, pets, home, and outside activities, even without a pandemic is still a challenge. How did I do it?
I have 2 tools that keep me thriving.
They are my back bone to creating the time and space to make sure, me, my family, and my commitments are taken care of. Note that I put me first. It is very important that you do. You are no good to anyone else if you go down. Remember that.
My 2 Tools
I actually operate with two. I have my Outlook Calendar and my hard bound old-fashioned paper calendar planning book. You can use whichever calendar planner works for you, but you need somewhere to keep all your goals, tasks, and appointments handy.
In Outlook, which I have been using for years, long before children entered the picture, I use a color coded system. Everyone in the family has a color and certain vital things such as doctor appointments or client appointments have their own color too. On the main calendar board, I block out the important things that are happening each day. Planning meetings with clients, dinner events, doctor appointments, etc. I also make big use of the task list. Over here, I add smaller things that need to be done such as giving the cat her medicine, my workout, sending thank you notes, etc. I love to be able to mark stuff off. And if it is a task that is daily, once it is done I just move it to the next day.
With my paper planner, (I like one that breaks the day down by hours) I put these important events in it, but then I take a look and I block time out for those tasks. I use color coding here too. Love my colored pens. For example, I block time in the mornings for meditation and even time to scroll Facebook. Some days I get really detailed and block out when I need to step away to shower and eat. How many of you have gotten to the end of the day still in your pajamas???? Be honest.
With the two calendars working in tandem I always know what is next. I am also flexible. Meaning, I can move something to another day or decide a task or goal is not as important as it once was. Things change throughout the course of the day, week, month, and year. It’s okay to adjust. If you find yourself constantly moving a particular item from day to day, then it is time to reevaluate it. Why are you moving it?
I use the one on my IPhone, but I used to have the traditional kitchen timer. The timer makes sure I only stay on the task for the time I blocked it out. If I am really into something or need more time to complete it, I take a look at what I have on the day to make adjustments. The timer has been key in making sure I get up from the computer to workout, eat, and just take a break from the screen. Trust me, it is not healthy for our bodies to sit and stare and this thing 8, 10, 12 or more hours a day.
The timer really let’s me juggle a multitude of things. It is one of the ways I am able throughout the day to toggle between play and work. You know the proverb- “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” Don’t be Jack.
I know many, will say, “I can’t be that ridged.” The key is that by doing this you have created your flexibility and your play time. People often ask, “Lisa, how do you get it all done and still have time to play?” Well, now you know. It is all in the planning! Note, I don’t beat myself up when something does not get done. As I said, it is me first, so throughout each of my days, I always include things such as meditation, exercise, walking, getting out with friends, social media time, TV time, and reading. Don’t just survive, THRIVE!