Yes, I admit I am very attached to my calendar, my to do lists, and effective scheduling. I even set weekly plans months in advance. However, I used to make those weekly lists much more detailed than I do now. And that’s okay because time management and task management systems should evolve as your needs change. There are definitely strategies that remain helpful at any phase of planning, but what worked for you 2 years ago might not be as effective anymore. It’s important to continually evaluate if your systems are working for you and make changes as needed.
I recently started to keep my schedule a bit looser in some sense, which is the opposite of the time blocking method I’ve used in the past. Time blocking works really well for me when my schedule is packed and I have a lot to get done. Fortunately, since finishing my degree, I’m in a new stage of creating, where my schedule is much more focused on personal and professional development goals. I call these GUIDING GOALS.
So I’ll shared some of the strategies I’m using now to stay on target to reach my goals.
- First I set up my summer 2021 weekly planning document. For each of my category buckets, I list out my goals for the week being mindful of busier weeks and what is realistic. For example, I need to earn some additional money on non-teaching weeks, so I set a money goal for Rev.com, which is one the ways I made additional money. I also forward to potential expenses and set that as my guiding goal for that bucket. This document is my roadmap to success.
- Meet with an accountability partner – This step is especially important for me because it helps me prioritize my tasks each week. I may have my guiding goals such as write 2 blog posts, design a new Etsy template, or exercise a certain number of minutes, but they are not prescribed to a certain day yet. This one hour conversation allows me and my partner to share what we’d like to accomplish in the given week, explore our calendars, and set potential work times to meet those guiding goals. We sometimes even block out special work sessions during the week if our calendar allows. I suggest finding someone to be an accountability partner for you because it definitely helps you stay on track toward whatever it is you plan to accomplish.
- Set daily intentions – While I have a general overview of what I’d like to get done within the week and potential work times, I use the beginning of each day to sketch out what that day will look like. I go back to my goals document and see what I have already knocked off and think about what could be a good focus for that day. So even though I may not have every minute of my week planned out in advance, just that 15 minutes of reflection each morning helps me stay on track and not jump all over the place. Additionally, if I wake up in a particularly non-motivating mood, I may use some of that day for a nature recharge.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate – I feel like I’m a broken record with this one, but it’s important to communicate your schedule, your goals, and your needs to those who work closely with you. I do have a part time job which requires me to be present for certain meetings or get certain tasks done. However, those hours are not set and differ each week so it is important for me to communicate my weekly goals with my supervisor. I am extremely fortunate to have a supervisor who advocates for mental health breaks and prioritizing, and I know that is not always the case for employees. On the flip side, if blocks of time have been scheduled for meetings and they haven’t been filled, I always ask if it’s okay for me to remove that block from calendar so I can work on some of the other guiding goals I have.
TAKEAWAYS from this post:
- Be mindful of the need to change systems in different seasons of your life
- Communicate effectively
- Set weekly guiding goals
- Set daily intentions